Here's a band that I thought had disappeared, Theocracy, from Athens Georgia. They haven't had a new studio recording since 2011's As The World Bleeds. Sure band founder and vocalist Matt Smith gave us a re-issue of his total DIY self-titled debut, adding real drums with new mixing and mastering. But that doesn't really count, right? Nevertheless, Theocracy returns with a new and fourth album in Ghost Ship.
It's pretty much a scorcher. My first impression was that the songs sounded heavier, the riffs sharp and more assertive. Actually listening to the first four songs, Paper Tiger, Ghost Ship, The Wonder Of It All, and Wishing Well, I thought we were going to get pummeled and punished by mostly acute and razor thrash riffs. They really overcome most everything else here, melody, harmony and Smith's voice. (To be fair, Wishing Well has some softer breakdowns where the vocal harmony rises.)
Some respite comes with Around The World And Back, something more dialed back like melodic metal with an essential rock groove. But the smashing riffs and charging speed return with Stir The Embers, A Call To Arms, and Castaway. Currency In A Bankrupt World makes a return to more rock groove melodic metal. Heavier than the aforementioned Around The World And Back, the song has some of the best twin guitar harmony to match the groove. The album concludes with an epic power metal song, Easter. Multi-layered with the dense riffage is some acoustic guitar at the start and subtle symphonic orchestration throughout. With Around The World And Back, these were my two favorite cuts on the album.
What did I think in the end? Maybe a little ambivalence. Nevertheless, Ghost Ship sounds like Theocracy: heavy, riff intense in the best sense, and galloping. There's much to be said for consistency and predictability. If you're a fan of the band, you will like this album.
Ghost Ship sounds like Theocracy: heavy, riff intense in the best sense, and galloping. There's much to be said for consistency and predictability. If you're a fan of the band, you will like this album.
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