I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this recording than by releasing it on vinyl format. Consistent with the other Theocracy vinyl sets from Ulterium Records, this one comes in double gatefold 2LP format with glossy covers/surface, lyrics and credits printed on the inside of the jacket. The discs are housed in anti-static black sleeves. Only 500 copies have been pressed, 350 in black and 150 in clear/transparent (as pictured below). Each record side has a different label picture as well which just adds that special touch of detail and care. As with all of the other Theocracy vinyl in this series, these are nicely weighted and flat discs with a clean surface.
Not surprisingly, this music sounds fantastic in this format, comparable but maybe just slightly less powerful, than the sound from the Ghost Ship and As The World Bleeds vinyl. While I always remember being blown away by greats like “On Eagles’ Wings,” “Absolution Day” and “Laying The Demon To Rest” the rich vinyl setting really makes a song like “Bethlehem” stand out even more so than when originally released. And, of course, it is great to finally hear the title track song “Mirror Of Souls” as an entire album side (D)! For those craving truth-infused power-prog, this album is full of great anthems and metal worship, and fans who have enjoyed the other records in this series better grab this one quick before they disappear! (I’ve included my review from 2008 below for reference).
Theocracy – Mirror Of Souls
Matt Smith, now accompanied by Shawn Benson (drums) and Jonathan Hinds (guitars), has done it again. One of the most anticipated releases this year in the Christian metal market, Mirror of Souls delivers just about everything a fan of this genre could desire. Every song is well-crafted, with catchy hooks and memorable, melodic vocals. Smith is a gifted songwriter and uses his voice effectively – with so many layers – to portray the beautiful message found within the lyrics. The addition of a real drummer was a huge plus for Matt and really propels this band into a position to perform live. The only piece missing from the Theocracy equation is that neither guitarist really solos. While the songs certainly don’t suffer for lack of it, soloing is generally indigenous to this type of metal, so it seems a bit odd … but it’s not a huge negative. Every song here is excellent – no filler – but the highlights would be the very heavy “Laying the Demon to Rest” and the epic title track. Interestingly, both these songs represent the most progressive tunes on the CD, with lots of tempo changes and dynamic contrast. The biggest difference to me on this one compared to the debut release would be in the vocal department. Matt has really improved in this area and the recording quality/mixing, etc. sounds better as well. While the songs aren’t as magical this time around, probably because they are a bit more direct and the “newness” factor of this band is now gone, this is still a fantastic collection of quintessential power metal. – Jonathan “Doc” Swank (2008)
1. A Tower of Ashes (4:44)
2. On Eagles’ Wings (4:11)
3. Laying The Demon To Rest (9:37)
1. Bethlehem (5:51)
2. Absolution Day (6:46)
1. The Writing In The Sand (6:43)
2. Martyr (7:39)
1. Mirror of Souls (22:26)