With a sound rooted firmly in the prog and power metal traditions of bands like Dream Theater and Iced Earth, Theocracy has been delivering sprawling metal with a Christian spin since its inception in 2002. Initially a solo effort of Matt Smith, who played all of the instruments on Theocracy's self-titled debut in 2003, the project became a full-fledged band when the Athens, Georgia-based Smith eventually recruited other musicians -- guitarists Jonathan Hinds and Val Allen Wood, bassist Jared Oldham, and drummer Shawn Benson -- to his heavy metal cause. With Smith handling vocals, the quintet released the second Theocracy album, 2008's Mirror of Souls, on Nightmare Records, and followed up with a third album, As the World Bleeds, in 2011. The band toured heavily in the wake of As the World Bleeds, returning to the studio in 2016 for the Matt Smith-produced Ghost Ship. ~ Gregory Heaney, Rovi