DOCKER'S GUILD is the brainchild of keyboardist and vocalist Douglas R. Docker (ex- Biloxi), who has managed to gather an impressive cast of other musicians and vocalists to back his project; the five 'seasons' / chapters "The Mystic Technocracy".
This first CD, called “Season I: The Age of Ignorance”, sees the participation of worldwide acclaimed vocalists like John Payne (Asia), Goran Edman (ex Malmsteen, Karmakanic), Tony Mills (TNT) and Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Epica).
Also first class musicians: guitarists Guthrie Govan (Asia) and Jeff Watson (Night Ranger), bassist Tony Franklin (Blue Murder) and drummers Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth / Joe Satriani) and Magnus Jacobson (Miss Behavior).
The sound of "The Mystic Technocracy" results from the mixture of several music styles. Docker echoes rocks greats from Yes and Genesis to Rush and Dream Theater, from Giuffria to ELP and more in between, with both his synth playing and compositions.
But rather than being overly technical or complex, Docker's Guild bedecks the arrangements in a very accessible AOR melodic rock wrapper. The music is hardly obscure or oppressive, but easily extravagant and expansive, friendly and pleasing.
It's massive ear candy, with the title track "The Mystic Technocracy", "Black Swans", "The Divine Comedy" and "The Secret of DNA" pure pleasures to enjoy.
"The Gem Of Love" is a gem of a song indeed, perhaps the more melodic rock oriented in the album, filled with tons of keys/guitar interplay and great singing.
Song wise the album contains a couple of multi-section suites, but mostly consists of straightforward rocking songs and ballads strongly keyboard-oriented, with Douglas using an arsenal of modern and vintage keyboards inspired by musicians like Geoff Downes, Gregg Giuffria and Keith Emerson.
"The Mystic Technocracy Season I: The Age of Ignorance" is meant to be part one of a 5 part concept album series with a story revolving around the idea of fanatical, dogmatic religion waging war and committing atrocities in the name of their god.
Sonically the CD is big and brilliant, perhaps to be expected where keyboards (and variants of) make up a big part of the sonic landscape but we find as well excellent guitar parts and bouncing drumming. The vocals are fantastic, as expected with the luminaires involved.
Production is first rate, masterfully mixed by Simon Hanhart (producer of Asia, Marillion and Arena) and mastered by Mike Lind (Dio, Talisman, Candlemass, etc.)
A final comment would be on the album's extreme (79 minute) length. That is always a dangerous undertaking, and so it impresses me that the music never seems tired or to stay past its length.
The music in "The Mystic Technocracy Season I: The Age of Ignorance" is energetic, dramatic, large-scaled, well-orchestrated and superbly arranged & played.
A work of art is here with the emphasis firmly on songs and it promises to be a superb journey on future releases.
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
Douglas R Docker: Keyboards, Lead and backing vocals
John Payne: Lead and backing vocals
Göran Edman: Lead and backing vocals, spoken voice
Tony Mills: Lead and backing vocals
Amanda Somerville: Lead and backing vocals
Jeff Watson: Rhythm & Lead Guitar, 12-string guitar
Guthrie Govan: Guitars
Tony Franklin: Bass
Gregg Bissonette: Drums
Magnus Jacobson: Drums
Donald D. Docker: Winds, spoken voice.
Additional spoken voices: Silvana Momigliano / Touria Nouri / Andrea Rampa / Janthana Rodjakkhen / Davide Ronfetto
BUY IT !