Theocracy is a metal band from Athens, Ga., USA, whose melodic style has more in common with their European contemporaries than with most of their U.S. counterparts. Characterized by huge choruses, epic arrangements and progressive elements, Theocracy’s music is both immediate and deep, managing to be instantly catchy and memorable, yet revealing new levels of intricacy and depth with each subsequent listen.
Theocracy began life as a one-man band of sorts, as the project of vocalist/guitarist Matt Smith, who played and sang everything on the self-titled debut album. Theocracy was released at the end of 2003 on MetalAges Records, to fantastic reviews and worldwide acclaim within the metal community. In the time since that album’s release, drummer Shawn Benson and guitarist Jon Hinds joined the ranks, and the band started playing shows locally (including the prestigious ProgPower USA Showcase) and working on new material. And now, after years of hard work, Theocracy is proud to finally unveil their sophomore album, Mirror of Souls, to be released on Ulterium Records.
The material on Mirror of Souls makes it abundantly clear that instead of succumbing to the infamous “sophomore slump,” the band has actually taken everything to another level. Theocracy is now a full band firing on all cylinders, and the new material features the same high-quality songwriting that made the debut album so memorable. The album’s anchor and grand finale is Smith’s magnum opus, the 23-minute “Mirror of Souls” title track. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and the song I’m most proud of,” he says. “It tells a metaphorical story in a cool way, and the mood of the music runs the gamut of emotions reflected in the lyrics.” The track features the same kind of memorable melodies and smart pacing that made epics like “The Serpent’s Kiss” and “Twist of Fate” fan favorites, without entangling itself in long instrumental sections or patchwork arrangements that might lose the listener. It is an epic in the truest sense of the word, with massive choirs and bombastic orchestral passages.
Mirror of Souls was mixed by Smith at the band’s Theocracized Studios and mastered by Mikka Jussila [Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Stratovarius] at Finnvox, and the muscular, clear production is a perfect complement to the songs. The cover art was created by Robert Wilson and the booklet was made by Felipe Machado Franco [Iced Earth, At Vance, Ayreon]. Theocracy and Ulterium Records are very excited about working together and supporting this long-awaited album, which is sure to be a hit with fans and critics alike.