STYLE: Hard Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 160197-23704 LABEL: Ulterium FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Andy Shaw
The debut album by the Athens, Georgia natives was originally released in 2003 with all instruments and production carried out by founder member Matt Smith. This release sees the album dusted off and polished by the band now performing as a five-piece. The original recording had fairly low production values and the drums were programmed through a drum machine meaning it didn't quite have the power you would expect from a metal band. This has been addressed with all drum parts re-recorded and the whole album remixed and remastered to give a fuller sound. There are strong progressive and symphonic influences on this album with less of the crunching guitar riffs found on more recent Theocracy releases. Heavy use of synth strings, as well as use of a wide range of percussive sounds such as the bells on the title track help to build atmosphere from the haunting to the dreamy string arrangements. Three of the tracks push past the 11 minute mark as layers are built up and peeled away. It is difficult to keep the listeners' attention on such meandering epics. There are many more of the key features of a power metal band present on this record with the fast technical guitars of "New Jerusalem", heavy breakdowns of "The Serpent's Kiss" and powerful, passionate vocals throughout. The passion shines through in the lyrics as well as the music declaring "Even in death we have true life" on "Ichthus", for me the standout track. For fans of Theocracy this is a major improvement on the original release.
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