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Theocracy – Mosaic, Album Review by Curtis J. Dupree

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Theocracy has taught us to expect quality from each release. I am happy to say that they have delivered once again. Before the release I had heard that this album would be trashier than normal. I would agree with this assessment. The melodies are still classic Theocracy, but the riff work appears to borrow a bit more from the thrash end of the spectrum—think the riffs on “The Wonder of It All” from Ghost Ship—and that is a very good thing. The guitar solos throughout are tasteful and appealing.  

Flicker” starts the album with a bang. Immediately catchy and hard-hitting both musically and lyrically, it’s the perfect way to open the album. 

Anonymous” follows and is overall another winner, beginning with a hooky riff. I am not completely sold on the chorus melody, but this is another good song that keeps the album’s momentum going. The lyrics are inspiring and remind me of the title track from “Ghost Ship.

The title track follows and was one of the singles from the album. The lyrics are inspirational and the melody is quite nice. 

Things get a bit more aggressive with “Sinsidious (The Dogs of War).” This track is an absolute winner, featuring both great, thrashy riffs and catchy vocals. 

Return to Dust” was another single released ahead of the album. The main riff that drives the song is great, as are the vocal melodies during the verses. The chorus is, in my opinion, less immediately hooky than some others, but it is tasteful and appealing. 

The Sixth Great Extinction” had, to my knowledge, previously debuted live. The riff that kicks in during the intro and leads into the verses is one of the best on the album. The verse melodies are also outstanding, as is the chorus. Great riff work throughout, although the song is slightly less catchy on first listen than some of the others. Given a few listens, however, the song only gets better.  

Next up is one of my favorites on the album, both lyrically and musically—“Deified.” Another great riff opens the song and the tempo is one of the fastest on the album. The song is relatively short and leaves you wanting more. Great song. 

We have a true ballad in the form of “The Greatest Hope.” It’s short—only slightly over three minutes—but it’s a classy, appealing ballad sung with excellence by Matt Smith. The song functions as a nice breather before the last two tracks, both of which hit hard in their own ways.

Based on C.S. Lewis’ famous “Trilemma,” “Liar, Fool, or Messiah” pulls no punches musically or lyrically. Once again we are introduced to a killer thrash riff. The lyrics to the chorus make an excellent point, although there are a couple of phrases in the chorus that feel slightly awkward. The melody is quite memorable, however, and the song nicely juxtaposes aggression and melody. This track is a guaranteed earworm. 

Finally, we come to “Red Sea.” This song is Theocracy’s second longest on any of their albums, sitting at just over 19 minutes. The initial riff has an appealing Egyptian flavor and the early parts of the song remind me of some of Stratovarius’ classic mid-tempo songs—e.g. “Eternity”—and it is all elevated by Smith’s terrific vocals. After the three-minute mark the song kicks up in pace but remains no less gripping. After returning to the mid-paced feel once again, there follows a compelling solo section. After this solo section, the melodies change from the earlier parts of the song, but they remain excellent before transitioning to another, less intense solo section. The song concludes with some truly heavenly melodies from Smith and company. 

Overall, Mosaic combines elements from all the previous Theocracy albums, yet it remains distinct in some ways, as well. While time will tell if Mosaic can unseat Ghost Ship as my favorite Theocracy album—and one of my favorite albums of all time—I can safely say that it is another excellent release from Matt Smith and company. All metal fans should own a copy. 

Final score: 9.5/10

Review by: Curtis J. Dupree 

Theocracy Mosaic.jpg

“Mosaic” Track Listing:

  1. Flicker
  2. Anonymous
  3. Mosaic
  4. Sinsidious (The Dogs Of War)
  5. Return To Dust
  6. The Sixth Great Extinction
  7. Deified
  8. The Greatest Hope
  9. Liar, Fool, Or Messiah
  10. Red Sea
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