"Theocracy" (Metalages Records; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Without knowing anything about it, you're likely to play Theocracy's self-titled debut CD and think, "Wow, that's a pretty damn good power metal album." Then, when you discover that one man -- Matt Smith -- is behind all of it ... and I mean all of it ... you, like me, are likely to be completely amazed.

"Theocracy" is a fully realized power metal record complete with sweeping, symphonic sections, thoughtful lyrics, great instrumental passages and amazing musicianship throughout. While the shortest track here runs 4:48, many of the others are monsters, with three tracks running over 11 minutes each. And it all sounds big. The production on "Theocracy" is designed to make the CD sound huge and it does. Yet it never sounds overblown or overly slick. Instead it sounds ... for lack of a better word ... epic.

Let me spell out exactly what I mean when I say Matt Smith did everything here. Matt is responsible for: writing all songs and all lyrics; performing all lead vocals; performing rhythm, lead acoustic and bass guitars, keyboards. Matt handled all orchestration on the CD and programmed the drums. He produced, engineered and mixed the record. About he only thing Matt apparently didn't do is the CD artwork. But there's none of that single-artist arrogance here that so often ruins records of this kind. Instead, if you didn't know better, you'd think Theocracy was a full-on band. Smith is that good on every aspect of this recording.

Theocracy is recommended to everyone who enjoys the best of power metal.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 14:16:30 -0400 .