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Released: 2016, Ulterior Records
Theocracy is slowly building an extremely impressive catalogue and slowly creeping their way up my list of favourite bands. The band has just released their fourth effort, GHOST SHIP.
The band is tragically, under-productive for my liking, as it has been five years since AS THE WORLD BLEEDS but better late than never. The band is still on Ulterium Records, (who also reissued their harder to find debut a few years back) and things are stable with no line-up changes either. GHOST SHIP features yet another glorious Felipe Franco cover artwork, I don’t know how he keeps coming up with these masterpieces.
The thing that I noticed right away is that GHOST SHIP is even heavier than their last effort. The albums kicks into overdrive right away with ‘Paper Tiger’ and never looks back. The guitar tone is a little crunchier, the tempo just a little faster and even perhaps, with a couple of exceptions the songs a little more punchy and streamlined making it an immediate listen. The second last cut ‘Castaway’ is just straight up Speed Metal. The vocals of Matt smith are so clear, so expressive and so powerful and so much range, he really is an under-rated vocalist. The band behind him are powerhouses in their own right, all of the guys firing on all cylinders. The melodies are very memorable, especially, ‘A Call To Arms’ with a hooky chorus with a multi-layered vocal effect to draw the listener into a sing-along with ease. The album closes strong with a song called ‘Easter’ a multi-layered, multi-tempo, multi-faceted song that is the album epic at 10 minutes long. This cut is this album version of the song ‘I Am’ (from AS THE WORLD BLEEDS) even with the familiar counter-point harmony vocal lines and a huge swelling chorus with gang vocals. It is a monster song with acoustic guitar parts and some orchestral flourishes and it is a perfect ending for a huge album. It is almost a little put of place after nine straight-up metal songs, so it is well sequenced at the end, going out on another high note.
I recently reviewed the last Narnia album and suggested that after Stryper, Narnia may be the #1 White Metal band in the world right now. After hearing GHOST SHIP, I know there is room on the throne for all three bands.
1. Paper Tiger
2. Ghost Ship
3. The Wonder of It All
4. Wishing Well
5. Around the World and Back
6. Stir the Embers
7. A Call to Arms
8. Currency in a Bankrupt World
Matt Smith Vocals
Jonathan Hinds Guitar
Val Allen Wood Guitar
Jared Oldham Bass
Shawn Benson Drums
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