Friday, January 27, 2012

THEOCRACY: "As The World Bleeds"

Rating: 8/10

Label: Ulterium Records 2011

Review by Satu Reunanen

The American powermetal group Theocracy isn't the easiest band around for a music fan.
Releasing their follow-up album after the epic "Mirror Of Souls", "As The World Bleeds"
opens with a megalong eleven-minute "I Am " that already keeps you busy with the thought
"what the heck just hit me", and closes with an eight-minute "As The World Bleeds".
In between there's no short hits either.

Those who know the band already are pleased to hear, that the band has kept
their familiar elements on this album. The fastpaced, cheerful melodies are abundant, the
choruses are high and mighty and the heavy parts show that the bands hasn't gotten any
softer. The instruments have surely been smoking from their masters touch.
The sound is still very clean, but with all the different styles the band
uses the cleanliness that some don't like on an album doesn't end up being in the
spotlight but the songs themselves.

Theocracy is one of those bands struggling in the not so popular
powermetal genre. Also they're not as well known as many other similar bands, which is a shame
since they have great songwriting and musical skills. If a band can pull of an eleven
minute opener with shining colours, they can probably do anything. The problem with these
bands is though, that not many music fans have the interest and patience to listen to
something, that demands many listens to get into. And with "As The World Bleeds", it really
takes many listens to get into. Sure at first each song gives you their highlights, but
to really get the point of this music you have to be really dedicated to the music. I
doubt many would take on that dedication even if they were handed out a free cd.

Some of the songs that let the listener off with ease are "The Master
Storyteller", a fastpaced moodlifter, "30 Pieces Of Silver", a high spirited, goosebump
roadrunner moment, and "Drown", a slower, more of a singalong song. But each song has something
to grasp into if you're not too familiar with powermetal yet.

The vocals of Matt Smith are still awesome, he can use both the low and high
register with a very clean sound, and even has some Michael Kiske tone to it at times.
The bands massive choirs bring their own powerful touch all in the right places, the
guitars are very inspiring and the rhythm section massive. The band is so, so impressive

The constant change is what keeps Theocracy's music interesting and fresh
sounding, but some soloparts and middlesections are a bit too long, one being in "30
Pieces Of Silver". I have nothing against great solos, being a fan of Dream Theater and other
bands going for those and epic songs, but some parts seem sometime a bit useless, even if
they are awesome. This is the weak spot with Theocracy, but luckily they're not overdoing it
as much as some bands. Even Dream Theater overdoes it sometimes. As impressive as Theocracy
is as a band, their weak spot dropped my points to eight from ten. They could be perfect,
but hey, ten points is only for the God, right. I'm very pleased with "As The World
Bleeds", and the title track ends the album very nicely with a gloomy, yet thoughtprovoking
way with a beautiful chorus and wicked guitars. Definately a brilliant follow up for
Mirror Of Souls".


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