A PERFECT White Metal album. There, I said it.
You know those moments in your life where everything was one way before and then everything was different after. Well in 2012 when I slipped Christian Metal band THEOCRACY’s new disc ‘As The World Bleeds’ into my PC I wasn’t expecting much.
It was an eBay purchase based on an internet review and it was Christian Metal, after all. It proved to be the best Power/Progressive Metal album of that year. And almost 2 years later, I still routinely spin this album whenever I’m needing the pick-me-up that only momentous music can provide.
I had never heard anything from/about THEOCRACY before ‘Bleeds’, their third. I hear “Christian Rock” and I usually tune out. I mean it’s easy to accept Rock as the Devil’s music, but what are we to make of Christian Rock? Isn’t that like Government Intelligence?
THEOCRACY may put their faith front and center, but it’s presented within such a powerfully complex and distinct sound that I don’t care. When music is done this well they could be singing about Barbie dolls and bubble gum and I’d still be impressed.
The towering opener “I AM” is a perfect example of a Progressive anthem done right. Shifting metal styles/tones organically evolving from one section into the next. While keeping the primary melody entwined throughout its entire 11 minutes. Matt Smith has the perfect Power Metal voice.
I could praise each track, each essential listens in their own ways. With a sweeping range of Power/Prog metal styles.
- “Nailed” is a Thrashy, intense Power track with exceptional rhythms and an unbelievable chorus.
- “The Gift of Music” is a sweet Prog track praising the gift of, take a guess–music. Sweeping vocals and a build-up of towering excess.
- “Altar to the Unknown God” has one the best vocal intros I’ve ever heard in that perfect 80s cheese style. A multi-layered chorus that demands (and we get) plenty of refrains.
- “Light of the World” has an eternal, infectious positism(?). Lots of rhythm shifts and stellar soloing.
- Closer “As the World Bleeds” is an epic reflection on man’s responsibility towards the evil in the world, “We get reap what we sow.” A soberingly somber, almost angry, Prog/White Metal track. Very Christian…and I don’t even care. This song is just too potent and its stirring message applies to even us heathens.
Syncopated pitch-perfect vocals, symphonic orchestrations, technical and intense guitar work, and a voice made for Metal–one glorious anthem after another.
Having now heard THEOCRACY’s previous two albums, it’s clear that this band’s direction and vision is singularly guided by vocalist/leader Matt Smith. Their début was a one-man affair with Smith doing everything. For 2008’s ‘Mirror of Souls’ Smith added a guitarist (Jonathan Hinds) and a drummer (Shawn Benson). ‘Mirror’ was a crowning Power/Prog Metal achievement, as well.
THEOCRACY expanded before ‘As the World Bleeds’ by adding Guitarist Val Allen Wood and Bassist Jared Oldham, thickening their sound and intensifying the axework.
My moods are boosted after listening to this propaganda of all that is Christian. I’ve grown tired of the constant themes of hedonism, doom, gloom and sometimes outright Devil-worship in Metal music. So I guess it’s fitting that the optimism of White Metal may seem fresh. We need more passion and optimism in all music.
If you like SAVATAGE, HELLOWEEN, SYMPHONY X and/or any of the dozens of Power/Prog metal acts out there you need to check out THEOCRACY. Christian Metal be damned, this is great stuff. ‘As the World Bleeds’ is the best Power Metal album of 2011/2012. And one of the best of the last decade.
(This review originally appeared on www.chadrschulz.com)