What we have here, with THEOCRACY’s first album, is an incredible tour de force. Matt Smith, main man behind this project, did everything! Yes, you read correctly, he did all guitars, bass, keyboard, drums programming, classical arrangements, multi layered harmonies (up to 70 layered voices is some of the choir parts), all the producing duties, all the mixing, choice of the cover art (done by my favourite artist, Mattias Norén), all this with a full time job! The final result is quite stunning.
I find THEOCRACY’s music to be similar to EDGUY’s latest efforts, especially in the mid tempo parts, with huge sing along choruses. When Matt Smith lets out the speed though, I hear a lot of Italian Power Metal influences; including bands like LABYRINTH and the less known PROJECTO. I’m also pretty sure that Smith is a big fan of IRON MAIDEN, as it often shows in some of the guitar phrasings. On his website, Smith says that his music can be described as Epic Metal and he couldn’t be more right than that. Indeed, his music is epic, with some long instrumental breaks that are quite bombastic and impressive. The epic feeling is also increased by the incredible amount of work put into the vocal harmonies. It really helps getting a grandiose mood.
As I said before, what amazes me the most in THEOCRACY is the fact that this is a one man project. The quality of the song writing and the arrangements equals any other Power Metal band out there without any doubt. The amount of work that was put into this release can be felt from the beginning of the album until its end. It is sincerely hard to believe that there’s only one person behind all this, as the excellence of the music recorded here surpasses a lot of well known established big bands (I won’t name anyone, let them discover who they are and what they have to do to improve their music).
Matt Smith is recruiting some band members to help him do even better Metal. This guy is really in love with this style and his passion shows in every aspect of what he did with his project. I sincerely hope this not the only album THEOCRACY will release, as his success is more than deserved. (Online April 13, 2004)