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Mystery Theatre of the Mind album cover
3.15 | 90 ratings | 7 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

- The Reality:
1. Theatre of the Mind (6:04)
2. Lonely Heart (4:30)
3. Peace of Mind (4:49)
- The Dream:
4. Virtual Mentality (1:18)
5. The Inner Journey (Part I) (3:39)
6. Black Roses (8:02)
7. Rythmizomena (1:51)
8. In My Dreams (5:08)
9. Believe in Your Dreams (6:41)
10. The Inner Journey (Part II) (4:34)

Total Time 46:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Gary Savoie / lead & backing vocals
- Michel St-Père / electric, classical, 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars, synthesizers, producer
- Michel Painchaud / classical & acoustic guitars
- Benoît Dupuis / keyboards
- Richard Addison / fretted & fretless basses
- Stéphane Perreault / drums & percussion, drum programming, glockenspiel, synthesizers

- Pierre Léger / string arrangements, flute
- Marie Lacasse / violin
- Marie-Claude Masse / violin
- Ahimsa Gilbert / cello
- Patrice Bédard / keyboards
- Gilles Peltier / synth Fx
- Serge Gangloff / synth Fx
- Sylvain Langlois / tenor & soprano saxophones
- Patrick Bourque / bass (7)
- Josée Larivière / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Stéphane Perreault with Gary Malo (photo)

CD Unicorn Records - UNCR 2002 (1996, Canada)
CD Unicorn Records - UNCR 2020 (1998, Canada) Different cover art

Theatre of the Mind - 2018 Edition
Unicorn Digital Inc.

Release Date October 25, 2018

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to kev rowland for the last updates
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Buy MYSTERY Theatre of the Mind Music

MYSTERY Theatre of the Mind ratings distribution

(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MYSTERY Theatre of the Mind reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
3 stars A variety of Canadian beats and sounds.

Mystery has heavy but beautiful melodies. This is, I guess, a characteristic of Canadian bands. Their heavyness is a bit different from the great Canadian band Rush. Namely, streaming heavyness rather than strict one (like Rush), and beautiful tune is almost always coming front of heavyness. The first album- titled track Theatre Of The Mind is typical Mystery and awesome. Suppose it's an enough pleasure for us to listen to only the first and the third (Peace Of Mind) tracks. From 4th track, songs are named The Dream suite. Indeed there are full of Mystery's identity and individuality, but with a little regret, I feel a lack of unity in the songs. Exactly, each song is not bad...

After all, this album is not a good progressive rock album but a good rock one.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Mystery is a canadian band formed in late '80's releasing so far 5 albums, this is their second one named Theater of mind from 1996. For the first time I was struck by the voice of Gary Savoie who is absolutly one on one with the guy from Journey Steve Perry, same tone and same attitude, not a bad thing after all. Gary Savoie did a great job here manageing to cover a wide area of his vocal style. The music to my ears is not neo prog, at least on this album, is more like a cross between AOR not far from Journey albums or Asia with some progressive passages here and there. A good album, specially the vocalist Gary Savoie is a great choice for this kind of music, is a pitty that Mystery will get rid of him later. The album beggins very strong with the title track Theatre Of The Mind where each musician shines, very good piece showing that Mystery know to handle the instruments very well, another worthy trucks are Peace Of Mind and the instrumental one Rythmizomena, excellent arrangements on this one, the only thing unpleasent is that the piece last inly 2 min. So, a good album that deserve 3 stars from me for sure, nothing really impressive but a good one in every way.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars The inner Journey

What immediately strikes the listener while hearing this full length debut by the Canadian band Mystery is just how similar it is to Journey. The lead vocals of Gary Savoie are uncannily similar to those of Steve Perry of said band, but the similarities do not end with the vocals. Mystery's music is perhaps slightly more progressive than that of classic Journey, but if the latter had taken a more progressive turn in the late 70's and early 80's, they actually could have sounded precisely like this. Indeed, if I didn't know better, I could easily have thought that this is Journey! If you like the idea of a more progressive version of Journey, this (and especially the next) album by Mystery is for you. Personally, I enjoy classic Journey, especially the Infinity album, and this appreciation does extend to Mystery's Theatre Of The Mind.

But even if this is high-quality music, it is not particularly original or unique, nor is it purely progressive. If this was the sole album by Mystery, some Prog-fans would perhaps wonder what this band even does on this site. But there are in fact several progressive elements already here (that would become even more pronounced on the band's next album Destiny?). The progressive elements are mostly concentrated to the longer tracks like Black Roses and the title track. There is an appealing mix here between ballads and rockers, and between electric and acoustic instruments (including some lovely flutes). It is well written, well performed, and well recorded. There are some nice brief instrumental interludes between the vocal numbers. I enjoy this!

Recommended, but not essential

Review by kev rowland
4 stars I keep being sent reminders of just how long I have been writing about progressive rock music, as here is yet another reissue of an album from aeons ago. Although looking at my records it appears I reviewed this 1996 debut at the same time as the follow-up, 'Destiny?', two years later (yes, I do realise that is still 20 years ago!). Mystery have changed somewhat over the years, both in personnel and in musical style, but guitarist Michel St-Père was driving them back then, just as he is now. Divided into two sections, "The Reality" and "The Dream", those who have only come across the band since 2007's 'Beneath The Veil of Winter's Face' will be somewhat surprised to realise that they started their recording career as a band who had far more in common with Styx and Journey than their far more progressive stylings, although they also make their presence felt.

Many people liken original vocalist Gary Savoie as having a very similar voice to Steve Perry, and it is something I also said back then, but listening to this album again after so many years what really struck me was just how bloody good it is. The best song is "Black Roses", which moves from gentle acoustic melodies led by a flute to Kansas-style rock, but there is movement throughout the whole album, with fluid arrangements and a band working really well together. It is easy to listen to, without ever falling into the trap of being easy listening, and feels fresh and invigorating.

In 2017 the 16 track audio tapes were restored and transferred in digital, and then completely re-mixed by Michel St- Père while respecting the original performance of the band also featuring Gary Savoie, Benoît Dupuis, Michel Painchaud, original artwork created by late drummer Stéphane Perreault and mastering by bassist Richard Addison. I have been a fan of the band for twenty years, yet I had forgotten just how enjoyable their debut album is. It may be scorned by prog purists, but in reality there are only two types of music in this world, good and bad, and this more definitely is the former.

Review by The Crow
2 stars Debut of Mystery, which more than a band is the personal project of Michel St. P're, who on this album is mainly in charge of the guitars, apart from composing most of the songs.

In terms of style, Theater of the Mind presents us with a group quite anchored in the AOR sound of the 80s, some scraps of metal from the 90s in the Savatage style, but that also leaves us some influences from the 70s such as The Inner Journey, which It sounds a lot like Deep Purple, and Black Roses, with some snippets of Jethro Tull.

The pity is that because of its retrograde style, old-fashioned keyboards, and a production that's not very brilliant either, this full-length debut from Mystery sounds a bit dated nowadays.

However, if you are fond of 80s AOR bands or 90s Neo-Prog bands in the vein of Arena's Songs from the Lion's Cage or the early Everon records, you will probably enjoy Theater of the Mind.

Although it is better that you do not expect anything too spectacular!

Best songs: Black Roses (the most complex and progressive composition on the album), In My Dreams (I'm not very fond of ballads, but this one is very good) and The Inner Journey (Part II) (I love the Pendragon charm it gives off, and the bass melodies during the verses)

My Rating: **

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Despite having formed in 1986, this is the band's first studio release. (I don't know the band's story: why it took ten years to produce their first album; perhaps it's all about record companies, fresh material, and funds--and perhaps the band spent several years performing as a cover band while honing their skills and building up some experience and knowledge as to how to compose and perform their own material.)

- The Reality: 1. "Theatre of the Mind" (6:04) what sounds like pretty standard JOURNEY material with some skillful lead guitar work on display. (8.5/10) 2. "Lonely Heart" (4:30) the JOURNEY comparisons are even more appropriate for this saccharine classic rock ballad. Gary definitely has a great STEVE PERRY-like voice. (8.4/10)

3. "Peace of Mind" (4:49) acoustic guitar with flute gives this one a DAN FOGELBERG/DAVE MASON feel but as Gary's vocals move along the instrumental support grows in breadth and volume entering into more of the symphonic metal territory being explored by contemporary bands like QUEENSR?CHE and IRON MAIDEN (though some of the Southern Rock sound from the opening is still being felt throughout the song). (8.666667/10)

- The Dream: 4. "Virtual Mentality" (1:18) nice, original intro/overture to this conceptual suite. (4.75/5)

5. "The Inner Journey" (Part I) (3:39) gently picked acoustic guitar with background synth washes and Gary Savoie's STEVE PERRY voice singing plaintively over the top. A nice composition that shows some nice maturity (patience) from the band. (8.75/10)

6. "Black Roses" (8:02) wind and wooden flute open this very cinematic tune. At times giving it an almost "Nights in White Satin" sound and feel. Gary joins in during the second minute and the whole feel changes--even moreso as the rock instruments enter and multiply. An interesting and entertaining song but a little too quirky and disjointed ("scattered"?) for my brain--especially with that wooden flute continuing to run its own race throughout the song, front and center--even garnering primary attention over the rock instruments and vocals! Plus, the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. (12.5/15)

7. "Rythmizomena" (1:51) percussives, tuned and untuned, form the gentle rhythmic foundation to this before electric bass and crazed disembodied spirit voices join in. The syncopated piece that develops feels like a rhythmic exercise (and perhaps should not have been included on the album). (4.2/5)

8. "In My Dreams" (5:08) more acoustic guitar picking with atmospheric synth & organ support for Gary Savoie's STEVE PERRY-like vocal. A nice venture into symphonic/orchestration land--and quite a divergence from NeoProg, prog, and metal music. (8.6666667/10)

9. "Believe in Your Dreams" (6:41) 80s/90s synth-backed three-chord hard rock. Nice but definitely sounds dated. More JOURNEY, TRIUMPH, or WHITESNAKE-like fare with some nice lead guitar and lead synth on display. (8.75/10)

10. "The Inner Journey (Part II)" (4:34) cinematic synth washes open this. Gary eventually joins in, singing a plaintive first verse before a bridge of reed instruments preps us for the second. Heavy rock instrumentation joins in during the second verse as both Gary and the full band's music takes on a Richard Addison's fretless bass play on this song is quite remarkable--a real highlight. (8.75/10)

Total Time 46:36

A bit too much of experimentalism here--as if this is a band that is still struggling to discover its own identity.

B-/3.5 stars; a nice addition of JOURNEY-like music that a lot of prog lover's will no doubt find attractive.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I confess, I'm not a great fan from AOR style bands (and... I confess again... surprisingly I like the majority bands which has mention in P A MISTERY'S discography such as ASIA or Styx ) but , in spite this, due the title of this album "Theater of Mind " ( very suggestive ), I waited somethin ... (read more)

Report this review (#1595101) | Posted by maryes | Friday, August 5, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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