Docker's Guild - The Mystic Technocracy-Season2: The Age Of Entropy

Kev Rowland

Docker’s Guild are a new band to me, and as one can tell from the title this is the second in a series. On further digging I discovered this is actually a prog metal project, telling the story of the dark world of The Mystic Technocracy, where a silicon-based techno-organic alien race attempts to wipe out all life on Earth through organized religion, while a tormented scientist makes it his mission in life to save humanity. His quest will take him across the universe and on a personal journey from which there is no return. Apparently the story is so huge that it is going to play out through five “seasons” and four “books” for a total of nine albums. Given that many bands/projects never release that amount of material through their existence this is quite some undertaking from producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Douglas R. Docker. He provides keyboards, bass and vocals and is joined by a quite wonderful cast which includes none other than one of my very favourite singers, Anneke van Giersbergen. Other singers include Amanda Somerville, Elizabeth Andrews, Valentina Procopio, Anna Petracca, Serena Moine, the guitarists are Joel Hoekstra, Sascha Paeth, Nita Strauss, Mio Jäger, Toni Urzì, Luigi Iamundo while the bassists are Anna Portalupi, Luca Pisu, Roby Salvai, Giorgio Novarino and the one drummer is Helly.

Between each “season” we get a “book”, so this is actually the third release in the series, following on from the first “season” and then an album of covers of science fiction films and shows including ‘Red Dwarf’, ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Space Patrol’, ‘UFO’ etc. I must confess I have an issue in following the story, whatever it is, without the booklet to provide guidance so instead have just concentrated on the songs as there is actually very little narrative outside of these. The massive surprise comes halfway through the album, as even though this is a concept we have a cover version, and I must admit it is probably the best song here, although I recognise that is probably due to my love of the original and the album from which it came. The track is none other than “Machine Messiah”, here with glorious harmony male and female vocals – it is played totally straight with little attempt to place a unique stamp on the song, instead it is wonderfully reminiscent of the original. The issue I have is that the rest of the album pales when placed against this, and I think that is because I have little in regards to a point of reference which is needed when attempting to understand a project of this scale.

In many ways this is somewhat overbearing and over the top, and while undoubtedly influenced by Ayreon and his projects it is somewhat more difficult to get inside due just to the sheer scale. I am sure I would be viewing this differently if I had the booklet and had heard the debut, but as it is I have enjoyed playing this and am glad I have heard it but am unable to fully get inside the album and I am sure I would have appreciated it more if I was able to do that.

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