Theocracy Theocracy (Metalages) 2004

1. "Prelude" (1:36)
2. "Ichthus" (4:39)
3. "The Serpant's Kiss" (11:56)
4. "Mountain" (4:48)
5. "Theocracy" (6:00)
6. "The Healing Hand" (11:36)
7. "Sinner" (6:08)
8. "New Jerusalem" (5:10)
9. "The Victory Dance" (5:02)
10. "Twist of Fate" (11:30)

This is one of those releases that many, many people were telling me that I had to get. I had received a few emails telling me how Theocracy are "the best new power metal CD ever". I almost hate it when people put such lofty tags on a CD such as "the best power metal CD ever" because usually this leaves me disappointed once I hear the CD. However, Theocracy did not disappoint and while I wouldn't say this is the "best ever" I would say that this CD is very, very good. This is especially true when you take into consideration that Theocracy is actually a one man project. I would also say that the power metal tag associated with Theocracy isn't quite fitting. When I think of power metal, I tend to think of Iced Earth, Metal Church, Brainstorm, Hammerfall, etc. Theocracy have more in common with the current crop of prog metal bands than the aforementioned bands. Matt Smith does a great job on this CD. His vocals aren't terribly unique or charismatic, but they do work well with the music and are very enjoyable. I would imagine if Matt had a vocalist with a bit more charisma Theocracy would indeed be "one of the best" bands ever. One of the biggest complaints I have read about this CD is the fact that Matt uses the dreaded drum machine. Despite people's complaints, it's really not distracting at all. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet that most people wouldn't have even noticed it was a drum machine had a drummer been listed as a member of the band. Probably the most enjoyable thing about this CD is the epic tracks, all of which are over eleven minutes in length. This is where you can hear influences from such bands as Yes, Kansas, Dream Theater and Rush. (I'd be willing to bet that Matt is a big fan of 1970's progressive rock.) While some songs of this length tend to drone on and become boring, I found each of these tracks to have plenty of dynamics and energy. Never once did I find myself wanting to forward past as song. "Serpant's Kiss" in particular is probably one of the best cuts on the CD. I would say that the entire CD is pretty solid and is certainly one of the finer Christian metal releases in some time. I am anxiously looking forward to a follow-up release.

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