Although Douglas Docker has French and American roots, he grew up in Italy. He was seized by the music virus at a young age. Being educated as a classical pianist, the first period of his life was dedicated to classical music. Since 1990 his musical vision got wider and his interest in rock music turned his life upside down. He played in a number of bands and he won a scholarship for sound engineer. After that Docker left the USA in order to study music again for which he graduated with distinction. In the meanwhile a concept for an opera assumed shape. The Mystic Technocracy became a huge production and the album he now released under the moniker of Docker's Guild is the first one in a series of five.
The Mystic Technocracy is a new and exciting science-fiction story. This vast project has assumed a definite shape in recent years. The content is the fictional outcome of a very simple observation: for four thousand years mankind have tortured, murdered, waged war and committed genocide in the name of the same God worshiped by Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the three monotheistic religions. It's not a story against religion, but about the madness of mankind when they're influenced by fanatical and dogmatic people with a tunnel vision. This religious premise has been transposed to an imaginary universe, in which religion was created by a silicon-based life form, the Mystic Technocracy, in order to control, manipulate and eventually destroy humanity.
Besides Douglas, who plays all the keyboards and does some vocals, the guest musicians on The Age Of Ignorance are guitarists Guthrie Govan (ex-Asia) and Jeff Watson (Night Ranger), drummers Gregg Bissonette and Magnus Jacobson, bassist Tony Franklin (Blue Murder), singers John Payne (ex- Asia), Goran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, Karmakanic), Tony Mills (TNT) and Amanda Somerville. And last but not least Donald D. Docker, who plays saxophone and clarinet. Besides he adds spoken words to the story.
When you regard this list of musicians, you have to conclude that they generally belong to the melodic rock and AOR genre rather than progressive rock. Nevertheless, I would call this album's style impressive progressive rock drenched in a melodic form of rock. The songs vary in length and the longer ones are fine epics with the emphasis on Docker's keyboards. However, at some points the guitars are prominent as well. Listen for instance to the title track wherein the guitar plays a nice rhythm and in the end the guitar solo duels with the keyboards.
Darwin's Tears holds a strong touch of UK and Asia which brings back certain memories. In Norse Cosmogony there's some narration as well, but strangely enough in the Norwegian language. Well, I do like that country and I try to go there as often as possible, but it's still a language which is hard to understand. But hey, it sounds cool. Loving The Alien is a strong keyboard orientated semi-ballad, where the occasional guitar provides the finishing touch. The Secret Of DNA is a fine song either: a powerful guitar that gently makes way for some layers of keyboards. Then it changes into a relaxed progressive rock song. Black Swans is a perfect song slightly reminding me of RPWL.
The first part of The Mystic Technocracy contains an impressive number of songs, blending the soft side of Ayreon with keyboard orientated AOR in the vein of Asia. The first time I listened to the album, the music immediately grabbed me, although I still think that the prominent keyboards leave less room for the other instrumentalists. Looking at the names of the guitarists, Douglas Docker has two masters at his disposal representing two different styles. It's a bit disappointing that, besides the marvellous solos, these musicians didn't get more room to shine. The singers do a great job; with their recognizable voices they really add something special to this project. I know this is Doug's first solo effort and he's an amazing keyboard player, but I would like to hear the other instruments more prominently on the next album. However, for fans of keyboard orientated progressive rock, this is an obligated album. And please forget the last comments of a guitar-minded reviewer...
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013