One of the best albums I've heard this year.
The full title of this album is ‘The Mystic Technocracy (Season 1: The Age Of Ignorance)’ which kind of sets it out right from the start as a hi-brow concept album, yes? For the most part that idea is spot on, yet what sets this apart from a lot of concept albums is the music and melodies that infuse each of the songs on this recording.
The story and a lot of the musicianship are down to one man’s vision: enter Mr Douglas Docker - songwriter, keyboard player and vocalist, whose all- encompassing dedication and passion to this project has brought to life one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. The story itself is about “Religion” and how man has used and abused it, to murder and kill his fellow human beings for over 4000 years. In Douglas’s story, religion was created by an artificial entity so that it could control and be used to destroy humankind. Clearly a big idea but Mr Docker pulls it off effectively.
The music itself comes across as more rock opera than anything else because Douglas Docker envisaged the album as a soundtrack for a 1930’s style episodic Sci-Fi adventure series, so this CD has more in common with Asia, Yes and Ayreon than say the likes of Dream Theater. And having the likes of John Payne, Guthrie Govan, Greg Bissonette, Goran Edmun, Tony Mills, Tony Franklin and Amanda Somerville helping out, gives the songs a much more melodic edge than most concept albums have. The first two tracks proper are perfect examples of what I mean. Title track ‘The Mystic Technocracy’ is pure Payne-era Asia but with a darker edge running through it; the song is keyboard heavy and the chorus rocks. Then following on is the Ayreon like ‘Darwin’s Tears’ a beautifully arranged and performed song that again features lots of swirling keyboards that interweave throughout the song and join with the guitars and rhythm section to make one joyous whole. Other superb tracks to listen out for are the ‘The Divine Comedy’ which begins with a lonesome piano refrain that is then melded with the other instruments and finally the wonderful vocals of Goran Edmun swoop in and the song grows and expands until it reaches a climatic ending. However, for me the best two tracks on the album are the AORtastic ‘Loving The Alien’ with its massive riff and hookline and the eleven minute epic ‘The Secret Of DNA’ which is a slightly heavier DG song. The track is in three parts and once again the keyboards dominate the music but they are complimented by some slick guitar and powerful drum work. This also features the album’s best vocal performance courtesy of Tony Mills
This release then is a gimme for all Fireworks & Rocktopia readers, as it sits easily within the all the genres we love and it’s a CD that anyone who reads this website will absolutely adore!