Docker's Guild
The Mystic Technocracy (Season 1: The Age of Ignorance)
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 15 June, 2012
Playing time: 79:25

A starship named ‘Docker’s Guild’ is leaving our precious little world called Earth, and setting course towards an unknown science-fiction universe. The man sitting in the captain’s chair is Douglas R. Docker, hailing from Italy, and he will guide us with light speed to these unexplored corners of the universe. To our fellow readers and guests on board, please fasten your seatbelts and be prepared for the launch into a progressive rock space opera experience entitled “The Mystic Technocracy (Season 1: The Age of Ignorance)”. It will be a shaky, bumpy, and rumbling debut ride…

This solo effort by Douglas R. Docker is a 79 minutes long rock opera, and the first season of five that also includes two suites to quench the thirst of the most thirsty progressive rock fans in the world. It will portal our minds to a science-fiction story, and guide us through a musical journey with the help from a highly talented crew, who will support Docker on board his starship to reach the final destination safely.

Say hello to the world-class musicians, the singing crew consisting of John Payne (Asia), Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, Nostradamus & John Norum), Tony Mills (TNT & Shy) and the one & only female singer Amanda Somerville (Epica, Avantasia & Trillium). Tony Franklin (Whitesnake, Blue Murder & The Firm) is “the bass” and the widdly finger crew of Guthrie Govan (Asia) and Jeff Watson (Mother’s Army & Night Ranger) on rhythm and lead guitars. Donald D. Docker is supporting by blowing up the universe with his sax. And finally to complete the setup Gregg Bissonette (Joe Satriani, Davis Lee Roth & Steve Lukather) and Magnus Jacobson (Miss Behavior) are invited on board to fire the ignition with their high tech drumming. The mastermind and founder of this guild Douglas R. Docker is not to forget with his lead vocals and magical finger moves on the keyboard. With such a talented crew it’s impossible not to set high expectations for this music journey, but will it succeed? That’s the question...

The well-crafted official trailer is available from YouTube below.

This is a classic example of how a rock opera is created. A high number of skilled musicians are used, and they are presenting a storyline told over multiple songs. From the very beginning of this opera, our ears will be bombarded with a constant solid stream of spacey keyboard-oriented melodies, and it will not stop before the last sentence of the story has been placed. Once the opera has opened the curtains with the opening title ‘A Matter of Energy’, the one of two instrumental songs included in the track list, Douglas gives us an explosion of delicate and tasteful keyboard sounds in symbiosis with delightful guitar riffs and tight drumming. My favourite songs include the already mentioned opening song and the title song ‘The Mystic Technocracy’ with its use of robotic sounding tones and groovy guitar riffs. Other songs to be highlighted is the melodic and groovy “Darwin’s Tears”, and the song ‘Judeo Christian Cosmogony’ with its use of beautiful spacey keyboard melodies blended into the mix of odd rhythms and the heavy guitar riffs added to the top layers of the music landscape. The following song ‘The Divine Comedy’ uses mesmerising and haunting melodies with a clean AOR vocal perfectly delivered to your ears. The final two on my list is the second instrumental song ‘Prophecy’ that has amazing soaring melodies delivered by Douglas magical hands on his keyboard, which fits perfectly with the drumming and guitar work. ‘Black Swans’ is the song closing the curtains of this opera. It’s a slow rock song with outstanding keyboard melodies and with the best vocal performance delivered throughout the entire setlist.

All songs are near perfectly mixed and mastered by Simon Hanhart (Asia) and Mike Lind (Candlemass, Dio, Talisman and many others). The songs are melting seamlessly into each other, and the whole vibe of the album is very 80's prog rock. It’s very rich with tasty morsels of ear candy, and each of the instruments has enough room to breathe in the melodic landscape. So it all sounds “over the top”, and it is…almost. Overall I’m missing punch and power to the drumming, and unfortunately the guitar riffs often drowns in the sea of keyboard-oriented melodies, which floods the entire album.

Though let me ease your mind our fellow reader. It took a while to digest all the impressions, but it has grown on me and by the end rewarded me with a top-notch prog rock experience. Yes, like I mentioned in the beginning, it would be a bumpy ride, but well worth the effort. Just fasten your seatbelts and hold on.

If you have grown tired (if that’s even possible) of endless and countless listenings of Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s many projects, like his latest solo contribution to the prog rock scene entitled ‘Lost in the New Real’, ‘Ayreon’ or the heavier sounding ‘Star One’, then this album is a good candidate to check out, and spend some of your precious time on.

01. A Matter of Energy
02. The Mystic Technocracy
03. Darwin's Tears
04. Norse Cosmogony (Part 1)
05. Norse Cosmogony (Part 2)
06. Judeo Christian Cosmogony
07. The Divine Comedy
08. Legion of Aliens
09. Loving the Alien
10. The Gem of Love
11. The Secret of DNA (Part 1)
12. Purple Orb
13. The Secret of DNA (Part 2)
14. Prophecy
15. Black Swans
Label: Lion Music
Distribution: Border Music Distribution AB
Artwork rating: 80/100
Reviewed by: Tommy Skøtt
Date: 11 August, 2012