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THE WORLD IS A GAME

Mystery

Neo-Prog


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Mystery The World is a Game album cover
3.97 | 222 ratings | 10 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Morning Rise (1:18)
2. Pride (11:28)
3. Superstar (6:59)
4. The Unwinding of Time (0:49)
5. The World is a Game (7:57)
6. Dear Someone (6:21)
7. Time Goes By (6:04)
8. Another Day (19:02)

Total Time: 59:58

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Michel St-Père / guitars, keyboards
- Benoît David / lead vocals

Additional Musicians:
- Antoine Fafard / bass, additional acoustic guitars
- Nick D'Virgilio / drums
- Marilène Provencher-Leduc / flute

Releases information

CD Unicorn Digital UNCR 5090 (2012)

Thanks to Rendref for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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MYSTERY The World is a Game ratings distribution


3.97
(222 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
35%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
37%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

MYSTERY The World is a Game reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars So Mystery are back with a new album, and pretty much a new line-up to boot. Michel St-Père of course is still here on guitars and keyboards, while Benoit David seems suitably rested after his sojourn with Yes. Joining them this time is the extremely talented Antoine Fafard (Spaced Out) on bass and additional acoustic guitars and drummer Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard, Tears for Fear, Genesis, Big Big Train).

I have been eagerly awaiting this album, as I was intrigued to see what these guys would pull off and I wasn't disappointed. This is a soaring prog album that allows everyone to play their part without ever losing focus on the music. While Nick can be providing a bombastic backdrop, driving the music on with quick and complex fills, he is also absent from proceedings altogether in other areas, allowing space to play its' part. It is an incredibly complex album, with multi- layerings of music and vocals in places, whereas in others it is just Benoit and Michel, just vocal and acoustic guitar. Antoine's fretless bass also provides a real warmth to the overall sound, while his ability to play just behind the beat or to drive it on, or indeed take the lead melodic role is a huge bonus.

Michel has brought together a band that I sincerely hope will be around for a few years as if this is what they do when they play for the first time, what on earth are they going to produce in the future? Soaring symphonic prog, with plenty of guitar, complex melodies and great vocals, this should be in everybody's collection. www.unicornrecords.com

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Posted Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Another Mystery

The World Is A Game is the third album from Mystery since they reinvented themselves in the new millennium (their fifth album overall). With the previous One Among The Living, they established themselves as a respectable member of the astonishing Neo-Prog revival of recent years (with bands like IQ, Pallas, Pendragon, and many other classic Neo-Prog bands, all releasing new albums that surprisingly outshined what the same bands did in the 80's, and newer bands like Arena taking the Neo-Prog sound to altogether new heights). Mystery, hailing from Canada, was not initially part of this movement (they began in the 80's as a mildly progressive Hard Rock band, often reminding of a more progressive Journey), but with albums like One Among The Living (that featured guest performances by John Jowitt and Oliver Wakeman) and the present one, they seem to have moved closer to it. This is especially true of The World Is A Game, which will surely appeal to Neo-Prog fans. (Fans of Yes will also inevitably be drawn to Mystery, due to the fact that vocalist Benoit David was recruited to replace Jon Anderson - to which he has a similar voice - a few years ago and recorded the album Fly From Here with Yes.)

While not as memorable as One Among The Living and Destiny?, The World Is A Game can be said to be Mystery's most consistent and mature album yet. They now seem to have found their identity and do not stray outside of their comfort zone. This makes for an album with few surprises, but also without any embarrassments. I find it a very pleasant and enjoyable listen. Like on previous albums, there is a nice variation between acoustic (piano and acoustic guitars) and electric elements (symphonic synths and soaring lead guitar). The melodies are somewhat Beatles-esque at times, while a few riffs approach Black Sabbath territory, and some Yes-like harmonies. (A curious feature is that the epic Another Day includes a brief passage that is disturbingly similar to Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath!)

Recommended in addition to all of Mystery's previous albums, but not their best in my opinion

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Posted Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars Coming after the classic 'Among the Living' was not going to be an easy task , so let's get rid of the tendency to compare this in any form (its like your children, who do you love more?) and listen with an open ear and an ever wider open mind. Both Michel St-P're and Benoit David (who got his dream stint in Yes) have crafted a more profound album than ever before , searching out richer musical playgrounds , aided and abetted by bass maestro Antoine Fafard and colossal drummer Nick D'Virgilio ,whose long list of credentials speak for themselves, the man is a terrific percussor. Cosmic additions that are worth the price of admission.

The selection is denser than ever before, lush with resonance and effervescent melancholia, as Benoit certainly owns some amazing pipes, which he confidently showcases most unashamedly. The guitar play is stellar as to be expected (St-P're guitarring prowess was never an issue , check out the little undisguised Deep Purple riff and the hidden James Bond theme thingy ('You only live twice' jangle) on the opening 'Pride', Fafard's buzzing bass and Nick's powerful propulsion. A very convincing track that has everything to please and more' perhaps even Mystery's crowning achievement as the voice is just utterly convincing. Man, this is good '..

'Superstar' is always a dangerous word, leading often to delusions of grandeur that may not be merited in any way, so the gamble lever has been pulled. Starting off sweetly pastoral and effortlessly bluesy (wow what a lead guitar!), the beat solid and decisive, the song evolves into this gigantic blowout, a power prog ballad of the highest order with tinges of dissonance that is obvious and daring. Infusing big choir mellotron washes is always a plus for me (I go gaga over choir 'tron) and the Quebecois lads do not even hesitate. Nick's drumming is bold and manly, fitting in gorgeously into the mix. The lead guitar has that positive Santana-like vibe that is unmistakable in its resonant optimism, a very cool trait from Michel's creative mind. The title track actually goes for the jugular, crafting a barrage of lush symphonics and a quasi-Genesis feel that works brilliantly. The tune slowly builds into an anthem 'like arrangement which just shines brightly to the bittersweet end. David of course is the main ray of splendid heat, giving an emotional performance; the man is a solid candidate for best prog voice in 2012. Huge, huge, huge. The guy can probably do Kevin Cronin, Geddy Lee, Jon Anderson, Robert Plant and Michael Sadler imitations in his sleep.

'Dear Someone' shows off Benoit's angelic side, often cited as the reason why Squire and company chose him over a cast of thousands. This is intelligent pop-prog, if the airwaves could only hope to have stuff like this playing on air! Won't happen, the axe solo is too technical and of course too long, the bass is too busy and the drumming beyond athletic. Imagine a prog version of REO Speedwagon and you will see the picture brightly. I could listen to this stuff all day and no passerby would even object.

'Time Goes By' has an altogether singular feel, expertly cinematic like good prog should be, a soundtrack for the mind. Nice and heavy style here, the crunching riffs pounding gently, the chorus divine and the imaginary sublime. David really lays into the microphone here, rich and deserving. Then to close off with a near 20 minute epic is what courage and confidence are all about. 'Another Day' follows all the classic prog epic rules, a huge slice of symphonic ebullience, structured to impact deeply on the soul with recurring themes elevated by well conceived construction, supplied by a variety of musical materials, tools and infinite inspiration. The arrangement contrasts very from gentle to rough and sweaty, clanging acoustics and challenging electrics, a little hint of Locomotive Breath to keep one off balance and a sly mention of 'close to the edge' that only adds humor to the already stellar production. Smart, suave and sensual. A psychedelic bridge section only furthers the fire, like some prog roller coaster. Here the prog gets heavy and raw, there it seduces with sexual dexterity and sensual howls of delight. Again, you cannot help noticing D'Virgilio's stupendous style, a busy and virtuoso performer. Fafard can also play a mean bass, everyone's on the ball. Back we go to the front again; Mystery reboots the whole thing for a second bulldozing run until a crescendo is reached at the end, just like a good eargasm should. The trembling and fuzzy lead guitar solo is divinely slicing through the profound lyrical melancholia; a delicate piano appearing at the perfect moment. This amazing whopper will require repeated listens before it can completely sink in. Fascinating! Certainly a strong groove here that deserves the highest praise.

Not as accomplished on the whole as One Among the Living', this is a worthy album only a few baby steps behind in terms of rating but of unqualified musical expression, with enough captivating moments to warrant frequent revisits. The silly 'prog version of Journey' comparisons need to die, its patently ridiculous by now in Mystery's evolution.

4.5 Toy Planets

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Posted Monday, November 19, 2012

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars What a great year it's been for some fine highly melodic progressive rock albums where terrific vocals and intelligent lyrics are given just as much importance as complex playing and flashy arrangements - the most recent albums from Big Big Train, Izz, It Bites, Neal Morse and Beardfish instantly come to mind. So here we now have the follow up to Mystery's stunning `One Among The Living', and they've certainly delivered the goods again. `The World Is A Game' is an outstanding collection of polished Neo-prog and adult rock, often with somber and quite bleak observational lyrics, yet still very human, emotional and relatable. Several moments on this album really touch my heart, and well as providing all the exciting and complex progressive elements we demand.

Although a band of outstanding and highly technical musicians, it's so refreshing to find these skilled artists knowing when to play for dramatic and emotional effect rather than overblown show-boating. Michael St-Pere has such a majestic and heart-wrenching electric guitar sound on this album, everything he plays takes flight. Spaced Out's Antoine Fafard keeps everything grounded with his bass playing and is mixed rather low, but it's in line with the more subtle taste of the band. He does get a number of more prominent standout solo spots that really shine, and his acoustic guitar work is sublime. Spock's Beard main man Nick D'Virgilio's very disciplined, powerful and hugely varied drumming has to be heard to be believed - the guy is on such a roll at the moment. Finally vocalist Benoit David proves what a versatile and commanding singer he is, a million miles away from the Yes/Jon Anderson clone dismissals. It's also great to hear his voice so full of human feeling and compassion again after being so over-produced and rendered mostly lifeless on the Yes album `Fly From Here'!

On to the album...`A Morning Rise' is a lovely instrumental intro with warm acoustic guitar, gentle flute, sparse synth washes and wordless signed vocals. `Pride' charges in soon afterwards, with a heavy guitar crunch and forceful drums driving home what sounds like a softer and less metal version of Enchant. It darts back and forth between softer melodic reflections and forceful powerful grunt. Benoit David's voice is so confident and full of yearning. Nice subtle bass, mysterious synths runs and soaring electric guitar dance amongst the hurricane of D'Virgilio's playing. The emotional and dramatic guitar solos from St-Pere in the middle and end soar straight to the heavens. There's a lot of rising and falling drama in this track, endless build and tension, yet never busy or crowded with bloated soloing for the sake of it. A grand piece that gets better with every single listen. I love the bit about 4.10 minutes in where Benoit's voice cracks, very heartfelt and pained - listen for it!

Superstar' is a floating and drifting 70's Pink Floyd's styled piece, with similar plodding bass and tasteful thick synth waves that wash all over Benoit's dreamy vocals and group harmonies. Despite what the title suggests, I found the words very relatable and even quite sad, recognizing some of the feelings and observations from my own life. The highlight of an already wonderful piece is a number of effortless searing guitar solos that are just dripping with emotion and frustration.

`The Unwinding Of Time' is a brief 49 second musical box melody that starts out impossibly pretty until dark and sinister sounds fade in, before launching into the title track, with a massive 80's styled power/AOR style stomping guitar melody. The most upbeat piece on the album, it's not exactly my favourite, and it is a little repetitive and basic, but I think it's more pleasing uplifting mood helps break up the album from being a little too down and serious. Lots of nice gentle acoustic moments once the track settles down before the hard stadium-rock second half with crashing drums and soft metal riffs.

The sad but optimistic `Dear Someone' has slow melodic guitar verses and harder rocking mid- tempo subtle riffing for the guts of the song. Probably the most straightforward piece on the album, it's a nice mix of acoustic and electric moments, stirring vocals with catchy melodies and just a sophisticated Neo Prog/AOR sheen overall. Undemanding but classy.

`Time Goes By' flirts with slow gothic drama, darkly classical piano and a slightly uneasy wilting vocal from Benoit. It picks up in tempo with some powerful guitar, murmuring bass and spooky keyboards as it swaps back and forth with the opening passage. D'Virgilio's energetic and propulsive drumming crashes through and drives the whole band home in the very dramatic finale.

The album epic `Another Day' is a powerful symphonic stunner that runs through so many clever sections and seamless transitions in it's 19 minutes that it could easily put lesser prog bands to shame. There's endless emotional piano, moody acoustic guitar playing, and Benoit is absolutely superb on the main vocal theme that is sung in the opening and reprised throughout. A few minutes in the piece diverts into a softer Dream Theater flashy/technical diversion that is well played, but I'm not really a fan of progressive rock bands that fall back into fairly unimaginative soft- metal/hard rock riffs. Without even noticing, this soon blends into Mostly Autumn-style chugging riffs with Hammond, but quickly falls away into a wash of drifting multi-tracked Benoit harmonies that will bring up the dreaded Yes similarities again (but seriously, ANY section of this wipes the floor with all of `Fly From Here'!). Pay close attention to the D'Virgilio/Antoine Fafard complex drum/extremely upfront bass dancing play-off - total precision! The finale is a master class of fast upbeat synth solos, flute, mellotron and powerhouse drumming that wraps the album in a suitably grand manner. Interesting that they also finish things up without the cliché of a huge guitar solo, instead opting for a thoughtful come-down.

Do yourself a favour - take the time to just sit down and listen to `The World Is A Game' properly in your own quiet time. That means no travelling and listening on an Ipod, no playing it on the car stereo while you're driving in busy traffic - I'm watching you! Just chill out at home and give it a few plays all the way through, listen to the sophisticated arrangements, virtuoso playing by expert musicians who know when to hold back, and pay close attention to the words and the way they're sung. Let the album truly wash over you. You'll start to appreciate it in a whole new light, and realise it's another winning album to place alongside several other terrific melodic progressive rock albums this year.

Four stars.

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#868200) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Mystery begin the listening experience on "The World is a Game" with beautiful flute and acoustic vibrations on 'A Morning Rise, and then it launches into a heavy distorted guitar ringing out and some wonderful crystalline vocals on 'Pride', an 11:28 blockbuster. The guitars are aggressive and balance out the melodic singing and grinding keyboard pads. This is a fantastic start to one of the great Neo Prog albums of recent years. The musicianship is outstanding, helmed by Michel St-Père on guitars and keyboards, and enhanced greatly by Antoine Fafard's bass, often fretless, and additional acoustic guitars, Nick D'Virgilio's drumming (legendary drummer of Spock's Beard, Tears for Fears, Genesis, Big Big Train) and the lilting flute of Marilène Provencher-Leduc.

Benoît David is no stranger to prog (I still love his work on "Fly From Here") and he is back to his best with Mystery as lead vocalist. The high register is handled effortlessly, and it is such a pleasure to listen to. The lead guitar is brilliant throughout the album, the lead breaks are always something to look forward to. The guitar soars in places and often sounds like Latimer or Howe.

Following the mammoth mini epic is 'Superstar', a power ballad with towering vocals, and 'The Unwinding of Time' is a short break winding up a musical box, to make way for title track 'The World is a Game'. This begins with majestic staccato keyboard then settles into ballad territory before sounding more like the pomp of Yes.

'Dear Someone' returns to dreamy, gentle nuances, with Michel St-Père's Acoustics and Benoit's soft vocal touch. A howling lead guitar break swoons over in the instrumental section and lifts the song, though it goes on a bit too long and sounds like Europe, Journey or some other power ballad from the 90s. 'Time Goes By' feels like a symphony suite from a movie soundtrack. The vocals are well harmonised and the heavy duty guitar accentuates the melody. 'Another Day' is a colossal epic of the true prog kind, stretching out to a whopping 19 minutes, so this must be the ultimate Mystery epic. It promised much so hopelessly would deliver much. It begins with piano and very high pitched vocals. The lead guitar sustain is wonderful, those grandiose string bends are set off by cosmic Mellotron. A metal riff locks in and then a passage that harkens back to 'Locomotive Breath' by Jethro Tull, oddly enough, before returning to the main melody. The pace quickens into odd angular rhythms and then calms into angelic 'tron ambience. A Deep Purple guitar riff strikes the serenity, then a complete time sig change, shifting into a hypnotic piano motif, strong vocals with a Jon Anderson vibe. It is a masterful epic with all the right ingredients.

At the end of the album I am left with a profound feeling that I have experienced something dripping with passion and highly charged instrumentation, some of the best guitar and keyboard I have heard. All musicians are top notch and the vocals are incredible. The songs are not memorable but while the album plays, each track has a warmth and melody that caresses the ear. The album is certainly one of the better Neo Prog albums of 2012 and is recommended for those with a penchant for melodic prog with symphonic embellishments; a pleasant journey to the very end.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#982991) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013

Latest members reviews

5 stars I see many people on this site came to hear of Mystery through Benoit David's brief stint with Yes. My introduction was through a review in Prog Magazine, upon the release of 'The World is a Game'. I was hunting down some new bands to try and found the accompanying interview an interesting read. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1239270) | Posted by Kevman28 | Saturday, August 09, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Mystery Solved!" Is this Mystery's Magnum Opus? The previous release "One Among The Living" was a great album, but when under a magnifying glass this album takes it up a notch with grandiose arrangements and the complimentary, organic embellishments of Nick D'Virgilio's drumming. These songs o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1005637) | Posted by buddyblueyes | Friday, July 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a pleasant surprise--and my favorite Mystery album yet. The musicians are all clicking on the same wavelengths, the songs are sufficiently constructed to raise this band from what I call "second tier" prog into the halls of the real thing. (Obviously, M. David has learned a lot from hi ... (read more)

Report this review (#875698) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Friday, December 14, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Mystery have shown a very good improvement of quality since their first album. But until now. Beneath The Veil...was a great step for them..a strong album great passionate songs. Then better with One Among.... I thought ..now we will receive the best work from Mystery until now..but. ... (read more)

Report this review (#847258) | Posted by robbob | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an interesting album and very difficult for me to review after the great 'One Among The Living' album of 2010. The quality of Mystery remains with perhaps a little more refinement. However, I have listened to this album a number of times now and as much as I enjoy it for the great albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#818192) | Posted by Richens | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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