Theocracy started in 2002 in Athens, Georgia as a one man project by Matt Smith who managed to release a progressive power metal album as a solo effort in 2003 to critical acclaim. Given that Theocracy fall into the genre of progressive power metal, which typically features epic orchestration and larger-than-life sounds, one has to be impressed that the debut, self-titled album was recorded solely by Matt Smith, who played all instruments and supplied all vocals. Matt went on to add band members and Theocracy has released two other albums before Ghost Ship, with Mirror of Souls in 2008 and As the World Bleeds in 2011.
A fast drum roll and this album is off to the races with “Paper Tiger” leading the way. Fast, melodic, clean, smooth, heavy, driving, , with an epic chorus and you pretty much have described a great power metal song, one just like “Paper Tiger”. For the uninitiated, Matt Smith’s smooth and powerful vocals come in fairly early in the song and the song shows off what makes his vocals special. Add in a couple fitting guitar solos and the ever present melodies and harmonies one would expect and you pretty much have this song understood, but then there’s an unexpected section featuring some ultra-fast spoken, darker sounding vocals that adds another level to the song. Needless to say, at this point the album was off to a great start.