When it comes to Theocracy, I have a history. The idea is a deeper one. The band is a bit of one as well. Several years ago I was in what was one of my favorite establishments, a little record store called Magnolia Thunderpussy in Columbus, OH. They happened to be playing some epic power metal that day while I was browsing, it was a bright sunny day, and the mood was right for it. I asked the gentlemen about the bands playing and he said; “This is Judicator, and the one before was Theocracy. Sorry, I don’t have anything in from either one of them.

Of course, the hunt was on, and I found myself soon owning the albums they had at the time and enjoying them thoroughly. What I didn’t at first know is that they’re labeled Christian progressive power metal. Sometimes it’s overt, and most of the time it isn’t, but it’s creator Matt Smith’s music and his focus is on making brilliant songs.

Maybe it’s because I just (unashamedly) saw Bullet for My Valentine live recently, but the beginning of the first track, “Flicker,”  sounds like something a screamo/metalcore band like them would do in the intro. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t properly set the stage. This is one of the shorter songs, but has a killer hook and power metal gallop. Of course, the solo is also majestic.

Matt is quite the riff… Smith. He proves it with the heavier opening to “Sinsidious (The Dogs of War). It’s not death metal, but that might only be because of the cleaner tone. Power metal thrives on choruses and battle scenes ending in triumph, but also the ability to make a statement. In the lyrics, Theocracy does exactly that and I’m happy they have. Slightly over 4 minutes into the track, a groove, calling back to the opening riff comes in, which segues into an epic solo.

If you want your ballad, it comes in the form of “The Greatest Hope.” Some may call it a palate cleanser as it serves very little purpose other than a reprieve, but it’s certainly no throwaway.

The last track is what makes this album’s runtime so long, as it’s over 19 minutes.  Is it a good song? Yes. Should it be 19 minutes? You know that answer. While there are some excellent moments, it often comes off as meandering. It must be said. It doesn’t take away from the overall, but I would expect some to skip it.

As soon as I saw the runtime on this at over 1 hour, I knew I’d probably complain. However, I have no issue. As someone who jokingly refers to himself as a writer, it pleases me to be able to bring new music to others or show some bands about which I’ve known and think the rest of the community should. Theocracy is one of those bands, and I would say Mosaic is a great place to start if you’re into the style. This is another stellar entry into their catalog, which deserves to be held in much higher esteem when the best current power metal bands are ranked.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
December 4th, 2023


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