October 13, 2023, 8 months ago

(Atomic Fire)

Nick Balazs

Rating: 9.5

review heavy metal theocracy


Rejoice! Back with a new label and support from Atomic Fire, Atlanta’s Theocracy come down from the heavens with Mosaic, an exemplary model of power metal. Matt Smith is quite the composer as the Theocracy discography is flawless although 2016’s Ghost Ship was frontloaded and lost some steam in the back half of that record. Mosaic brings the fire with a more pronounced thrash metal influence – the riffs absolutely smash while Smith dazzles as always with his immaculate voice.

Enlisting Taylor Washington as new lead guitarist was a huge get (check out his other band Paladin) as him and Jonathan Hinds fire on all cylinders with memorable guitar playing that hits hard with a technical thrash flair. The songwriting is intense with the only soft moment coming in the 3 minute light, atmospheric ballad “The Greatest Hope”, which becomes better on multiple listens.

And Mosaic rewards replays with different guitar/drum patterns sticking out, but the immediate hits are the shining vocal and chorus work from Smith, which uplifts and inspires, but also maintains that heavy atmosphere. The title track is the perfect power metal song with how the moving lyrics and vocals mesh with the instrumentation. “Sinsidious (The Dogs Of War)” might be the heaviest song they’ve ever done with the pummeling drum work.

As always with Theocracy, the lyrics are Christian faith-based and done in a thoughtful manner (just like Wytch Hazel excels at). Mosaic is darker in tone though as exemplified with the fiery aggression and thrash-like direction of the music. Smith explains Mosaic is about “about how we can only see the individual scenes of our lives, but lack the perspective to see the overall tapestry those scenes eventually combine to create.”

Last track “The Red Sea” is 19 minutes and while a couple minutes could have been shaved off; it still maintains interest throughout the duration as the mood changes are epic and again the guitar playing delivers. With the backing from Atomic Fire, hopefully Theocracy receives the attention they deserve. This is #1 album of the year material – be sure not to miss out on Mosaic. 

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