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5 stars Looking for melodic prog with a hint of AOR yet not cheesy ? Mystery could be the answer for you! Make no mistakes there's plenty of engaging prog hooks and even a touch of neo prog in there but what really sets this band apart from many others is their thoughtful and personal lyrics and the way in which the singer delivers them think "Ted Lennard" from Enchant with a slight Steve Perry influence. It is exciting to find a CD as good as Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face they don`t come along everyday in this modern prog industry, but when they do it is important to write a few lines in the context of a review to let people out there know that this is a very good CD !!! I hear so many influences I love when listening to this CD from the prog tendencies of Kansas to even a bit of Rush & Saga.

Its hard to believe I just found out about mystery not long ago if I hadn`t taken a chance I`d be not so blissfully ignorant ;)

9/10 rating, truly excellent stuff !!!

Report this review (#126824)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars After reading Big Kansas Fan review I was curiious enough to buy this disc and find one of the most interestings CDs I heard this year. A very unique sound, though their influences are clear: classic rock, prog and some AOR. The result? You gotta hear to believe it! Very melodic, exciting and quite different. The first tune, As I Am, was not very convincing, though. Not a bad song, but not par to the rest of the CD, which is pure gold. Highlights are: the title track, Snowhite and the 11+ minute epic The Awakening (very emotional with some great guitar solos). As expected in this style, the musicanship, arrangements and songwriting are superb. Benoit David has a fantastic voice and range, he is clearly one of the best new singers around. If you like melodic hard rock with strong prog influences you should not miss this one! A nice surprise!
Report this review (#129134)
Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars The history of this Canadian progrock band starts in 1986, meanwhile Mystery has released five studio albums, this is their latest effort.

I am delighted about the very good singer, this man is a strong point in the modern, a bit polished music. The compositions sound tasteful and varied: from dreamy with bombastic eruptions in the titletrack, a slow rhythm with warm vocals and sensitive electric guitar runs in Snowhite, outstanding interplay (great drums), some bombastic eruptions and fiery guitar in Travel To The Night, a tight and propulsive beat with wonderful work on guitar and keyboards in The Scarlet Eye, from dreamy with twanging guitars to more compelling with fiery guitar licks in The Sailor's And The Mermaid and Awakening and a powerful mid-tempo with R&R guitar in The Preacher's Fall.

This is a very pleasant and melodic album, recommended to the fans of modern sounding progrock.

Report this review (#132175)
Posted Tuesday, August 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This band is a real mistery as associated with their name because they have been releasing albums since 1992 and I have noticed them thanks to the reviews of this album at PA. This is the album that I have been constantly listening to for the last few days. I think it is one of the best albums of 2007.

Mystery has a modern rock / AOR sound but with a strong progressive structure in every song. Voice of the singer resembles much Dennis de Young, but the band is far more progressive than Styx. There are no prominent guitar or keyboard solos, the songs are mostly led by vocals and polyphonic keyboards but it never disturbs as the over electrified music of the eighties. "Travel to the Night" is a real energetic song and the most outstanding piece of the album. "The Awakening" is a real gem with a very beautiful melody and the longest track of the album. But anyway, all the songs are above the average.

An excellent surprise, strongly recommended to lovers of melodic rock.

Report this review (#149106)
Posted Monday, November 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mystery were a complete mystery to me (groan!!!) until a track from this, their latest album was included on a free cd with a recent edition of UK publication Classic Rock magazine. The track in question was Travel to the Night and I was immediately drawn to their melodic AOR sound with Prog overtones. Anyone who enjoys bands in the vein of Styx and Kansas should find much to enjoy here. I can also hear elements of Yes in their sound though more Trevor Rabin era than Steve Howe and the Yes comparisons continue with excellent vocalist Benoit David sounding a little like John Anderson at times. The band plays well though structurally the arrangements are not complex. Lush keyboard sounds are everywhere alongside powerful guitars helped by a good if slightly sugary production.

As I Am is a fine opener, quiet beginnings soon giving way to anthemic heavy riffy guitars, powerful drums, modern sounding keyboards and an instantly catchy melody. Though as already mentioned it's more AOR than Prog but there's enough going on here to keep it interesting. Without going into each track individually this trend continues pretty much throughout the album but a few longer tracks allow the band to stray more from the limitations of AOR. The best of these is Travel to the Night which is another instantly catchy piece padded out with an excellent instrumental section, keyboards and guitar, all played by mainman Michel St-Pere incidentally taking equal footing. Powerful stuff!

It's difficult not to like this album, so full of hooks and instantly enjoyable but you can't help feeling that it gives all its secrets in one go leaving the listener with little to discover on future listening. Still that's not always a bad thing and the sheer consistent quality makes it a pleasurable experience.

Report this review (#181626)
Posted Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good album and easy to listen to.

Some similarities to both Yes and Rush in certain of their incarnations, but perhaps that's mostly down to Benoit David's voice and some aspects of the band's style.

I confess this is the only work of the bands that I've heard - having picked up on them from the inclusion of Travel on the Classic Rock 'sampler' CD, but I was impressed enough to buy the album and wasn't dissapointed.

From the evidence they seem like a tight band of accomplished musicians with a great vocalist, and as I now understand fairly long lived - this being far from their first album.

They're not going to earn any points for innovation, but then again they won't frighten anyone away and sometimes that's just what you want.

So for some Prog tinged AOR (or should that be AOR tinged Prog?) you could do far worse than to give this band and in particular this album a listen.

Report this review (#199003)
Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This has been quite a hiatus since their last studio album ''Destiny'' (1998). Nine years during which the band only released a compilation with new versions of tracks from their first three albums (although highly concentrated on their third and last one: ''Destiny'').

The music presented in '' Beneath The Veil'' ranges from AOR (a little) to neo-prog (a lot). One of the assets of this band resides in the good vocals from Benoit David. Expressive, high pitched, very convincing. The band has changed from line-up since ''Destiny''. It is articulated around their leader and founding member Michel Saint-Père (guitars and keys) and Steve Gagné is still sitting behind the drum kit.

This album is enjoyable thanks to some fine musical passages (guitar, keys), but don't expect complex compositions. Good neo-prog like in the title track and ''Snow White'' are welcome and provides an enjoyable moment. Actually, neo-prog freaks should rather like this work.

The band has evolved towards a harder or a more metal approach (as lots of neo-prog bands have done recently), probably for marketing reasons (youngsters prefer metal to prog). As such, the long ''Travel To The Night'' is the first attempt here to catch new types of fans. A good song though?

I can't be as positive for the average and heavy AOR ''Scarlet Eye'' or ''Third Dream'' which are quite hard to swallow. I have never been keen on this sort of music, and these are no exceptions.

I far much prefer the symphonic atmosphere of the good ''Voyage To The Other Side'' and the delicacy of ''The Sailor And The Mermaid'' which has a lot to share with ''Pendragon''.

The mini epic of this album (''The Awakening'' - just over 11 minutes) is also a pleasant experience. Everything is combined here to please the neo-proghead: performing vocals, superb and emotional guitar solo and heavy keys.

''Beneath The Veil'' is a good album. Depending on where your prog interest resides, it could range from two to four stars. I have an intermediate rating: three stars.

Report this review (#222128)
Posted Sunday, June 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sometimes perseverance pays off, as my friend the owner of a prog store in Montreal had to push TWICE to get me to purchase this one, overcoming my fears of listless formulaic neo-prog . He said that I would not regret it at all, hell, he knows my tastes by now after more than fifteen years of forking over sizeable amounts of cash! This release really knocked me for a loop mainly because I have harped for nearly 4 decades about the relative poor vocals that seem to plague our beloved genre, at times even believing that lousy voices made certain musicians concentrate on developing more intricate compositions! The vocals by Benoit David of Yes tribute band Close to the Edge (he is replacing Jon Anderson on the Yes tour, causing quite a controversy in the meantime) are plainly incredibly good, with a wide assortment of influences ranging from Steve Perry (less the histrionics), REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin (a gorgeous voice though I dislike the style of music), Dennis DeYoung of Styx and even Klaus Meine of Scorpions, are some that leap out of the speakers. The music is a much proggier version of Asia with denser instrumental arrangements and drop-dead massive melodies that are instantly enchanting. Leader Michel St-Père handles all the guitars and the keyboards with assurance and flair, meshing leaden riffs with stellar soloing, never overbearing but also never dull or redundant. Drums are ably handled by Steve Gagné who pulses brilliantly throughout. The festivities begin well with "As I Am" where the Cronin influence hits all the pleasure buttons but the rest gets better rather quickly, the title cut aiming at the Perry vocal virtuosity without the corny overblown nasal twang! The next 2 tracks featured guest bassist extraordinaire Antoine Fafard from Spaced Out. The tremendous "Snow White" is nearer to Floyd, with a more aggressive vocal, perhaps depicting the magically numbing winter blankets that often cover rural Québec (where this band hails from). "Travel to the Night" is a catchy epic with harmonics that remind one of vintage Blue öyster Cult but electing to add a lengthy instrumental mid-section with sizzling playing by all, with a colossal bombastic finale. "The Scarlet Eye" is a tad more accessible (clear Asia aroma here!), a well-crafted piece of ear-friendly prog that has a veneer of classy appeal, not always my cup of tea but its really quite acceptable . "The Third Dream" segues nicely while remaining crammed with atmospheric effects and whispered voices, the keys carving up quite a fanfare, while the guitars slice through the haze with authority. David expresses himself brilliantly (Meine is really there!) making this another "driving down the highway" kind of prog you want to slip into the player as the light turns green and the engine is revving in fierce mechanical anticipation. "Voyage to the Other Side" keeps the foot firmly on the mood accelerator in a softer vein, dreamy fluffy vocals a la Jon Anderson weave within the opaque arrangements, dispensing an elegant musical adventure as well as a brief Gilmourian guitar foray , a nicely proggy bloom . "The Sailor and the Mermaid" is the proverbial melancholic ballad, hinting a tad at DeYoung's operatic vocals, showing a delicate fragility that is utterly inspiring and ultimately satisfying, mainly on the strengths of the music (a touch of bluesy guitar ripples) and a melody that will take your heart hostage. I am an avowed sucker for this kind of über-ballad and I fear no shame in loving this completely. The 11 minute "The Awakening" is where one realizes that this ain't no AOR/neo fluff and you toss out such labels lustily out the window. The guitar work is subtle in its beauty, complex emotions expressed with elegant simplicity, meshing with passionate arrangements and expressive vocals that elicit "feeling" (Gee, when does that always happen, huh?) and exhilarating craftsmanship. Did I mention that this Benoit David fellow can really sing? The short rock n roll finale puts this puppy away convincingly, a rousing, ballsy finale proving that this is a monster recording that deserves your attention. We all need such an album in our lick heavy collection. Some disbelievers may find this too accessible but it is so well executed and thought out that it deserves a high rating , perhaps 4.5 winter veils.
Report this review (#222571)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Five stars for a great musical journey into the eighties. Wonderful melodic rock. But don´t be fooled and do not expect the polished "thirteen in a dozen" approach of all these well known melodic AOR rock bands. This is different. The songs are very well structured, varied and in a sense adventurous. Highlight is The Awakening: great singing and beautiful guitar solos. It is emotional, albeit not over the top. Mystery finds a balance on the sticky road between emotional and pathetic music. This is a great compliment and their Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face is one of the few CD´s that I have played regularly the last two years. Wonderful stuff and it is really worth a try.
Report this review (#243344)
Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Here is a stereotype of melodic prog a-la modern Yes or Saga in their less simple music structures (actually a few ones), that I should have really liked to find inside the recent albums by Asia, but you find an intelligent tune like "The Sailor and The Mermaid", but also the well structured "The Awakening", where the good songwriting and in particular the arrangement by Michel St-Père, true mastermind of the band, is quite remarkable...think of his perfomance, when He's able to alternate the delicate passages at the acoustic guitar with more "bombastic" moments; but We cannot forget also the acrobatic vocalism by Benoit, unfortunately too much close to his personal "limit", being anyway brave (above all in the song "Travel to the Night"), even tough not always inspiring. In fact sometimes it seems He tries to emulate Steve Perry by Journey (this latter singer actually was much more versatile and always conscious of his role) and Dennis De Young by Styx, but it's a minor defect after all. Anyway, apart from my consideration above, perhaps this good Canadian Quartet has been able to take the best light moments from Camel (otherwise Pendragon did the same thing) and Rush in their less intricate pieces of rock music, without reaching the same artistic peek; but probably that's my idea...fortunately their music is not simple AOR and I recommend the present work to the fans of the intelligent pop-progressive music, even though enriched by means of a few "mainstream moments". As a matter of fact, here you can get an inkling of their maturity and a new artistic direction as for instance within track#5, entitled "The Scarlet Eye", where the keyboard player begins to emerge or inside the title track, where you can find their first personal music imprinting (not completely present in the track "Snow White", a bit "Floydian", but it's a question of critical points of view naturally...). At the end I could add an half star maximum, as for their new direction They try to settle, but also for their intense work; and naturally I like to recall the courageous act of Benoit, as He chose to sing in the 2009 line-up by Yes and this event makes the present album even more interesting!!...Otherwise you could listen to them while you're driving your car and it seems perfect for your quite moments and relax!!
Report this review (#499056)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars It was many years ago that I first came across Canadian prog act Mystery, led by guitarist and songwriter Michel St-Pere. Back then nearly all communication was by letter, but Michel was the first person in the world that I ever had an email conversation with - so this is a band with whom I have always felt a strong connection. On top of that they were releasing some great music and I fell in love with 1996's 'Theatre Of The Mind' the very first time I heard it. But in 1999 Gary Savoie, who had been the frontman for 7 years decided to leave. Michel knew who he wanted to be the new singer, but at the same time he was signing other bands to his fledgling label and that became the priority.

And so it wasn't until 2007, nine years after their third album 'Destiny?' that Mystery released the follow-up ? this time with an unknown singer who Michel had seen with a Yes tribute band, one Benoit David. Of course, Benoit is now more widely known as the singer with Yes on their best studio album of recent years, but back then this was still in the future. Of course that connection will mean that people will often try to compare the two bands, but that is unfair on so many levels. While Benoit obviously connects the bands, and they both play progressive rock, it is there that the similarity ends. While never a metal act, the band leader of Mystery is primarily a guitarist and consequently the music is approached from that area, and crunching guitars and power chords show that here is group that remember that there is 'rock' in prog. The group at this time comprised Steve Gagné on drums (who had joined the band in time for 'Destiny?'), Patrick Bourque (who had been with Mystery since 'Theatre') on bass and Michel St-Pere on guitars, bass and keyboards and of course Benoit on vocals.

Looking back at this album some five years after it was released is like visiting an old friend ? it is full of life and vigour and any proghead cannot fail to fall in love with it. There is real melody and control, and while there is plenty of note density they are all there for a reason. This is not prog for someone to nod their head to and sagely comment that the musicians are stellar ? yes they are, but this is music to be played and enjoyed, bringing a smile to the face. As I write this in 2012 the guys are just releasing their third album with Benoit, 'The World Is A Game', which I am eagerly awaiting, but if you haven't investigated their back catalogue you owe it to your ears to do so. Superb.

Report this review (#803128)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Voyage to the other side

Some nine years after their previous album, Mystery finally returned in 2007. But it should be pointed out that radical changed had occurred. They were now in several ways a quite different band from the one that recorded Theatre Of The Mind and Destiny? in the 90's. Steve-Perry- sound-a-like Gary Savoie had now been replaced by Jon-Anderson-sound-a-like Benoît David (who later was recruited to stand in for Jon Anderson in Yes). But not only the vocals had changed, also the musical approach. The Hard Rock-edge of the previous two albums was somewhat lost here in exchange for a somewhat softer, more modern, and more symphonic, Prog sound. The Journey-, Rush-, Queensryche-, and Fates Warning-similarities were gone, and they now reminded more of Kansas, Neal Morse, and other American Prog acts.

No doubt, some Prog fans will prefer the old and others the new Mystery. Personally, I like both the old and the new. But somehow, Beneath The Veil Of Winters Face, though definitely a good album in its own right, feels a little bit lukewarm. In my view, it is not as compelling as either its predecessor Destiny? or its follow-up One Among The Living. On the latter, the band had become more comfortable in their new style.

There is not one weak track here, but also there is nothing that stands out as such. This is high-quality progressive music, but not very original or distinctive. Beneath The Veil Of Winters Face is still a good addition to any collection that already holds both Destiny? and One Among The Living, but perhaps not the best place to start.

Report this review (#840039)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The decade following ''Destiny?'' was full of rather negative surprises for Mystery.Singer Gary Savoie left the band and was replaced by new member Benoit David.Meanwhile the band released the compilation ''At the Dawn of a New Millennium'' in 2000, dedicated to Savoie's years with the band.However the Unicorn label increasingly became Michel St-Père's main pursuit, leading to a constant delay of a new recording by Mystery, still the band appeared in a couple of tribute albums for Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues.Eventually nine years of studio abscence stopped in 2007 with Mystery's new effort ''Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face'', shortly after which the band suffered the shocking loss of bassist Patrick Bourque, who commited suicide.

The fourth Mystery album shows a fresh and intriguing new chapter for the band, which slowly abandoned the AOR leanings of their early years for the sake of a more Heavy/Neo Prog- oriented sound full of passionate melodies, demanding arrangements and deep grandieur.Their style comes now like a cross between PENDRAGON, SAGA and PALLAS with many bombastic moments, lyrical elements, strong and heavy instrumental textures and unique atmospheres.The shorter tracks are more groovy and catchy than the longer ones, still the musicianship is interesting with a fantastic new singer with a sensational voice and a great combination between heavy guitar riffs, flashy synthesizers, impressive solos, accesible melodies and memorable choruses in a classic Neo Prog manner.The long compositions like ''Travel to the Night'' , ''Voyage to the Other Side'' or the epic ''The Awakening'' sound even more developed with some fantastic and inspired melodies standing next to impressive symphonic synths and powerful guitars, while the climates change constantly between dynamic performances and intense lyrical passages.

Impressive return by Mystery after a long time-out and a monstrous improvement over the mediocre ''Destiny?''.Great vocal performance along with passionate proggy but accesible music guarantee a delightful listening experience.Highly recommended.

Report this review (#853967)
Posted Friday, November 9, 2012 | Review Permalink

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