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MYSTERY

Neo-Prog • Canada


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Mystery picture
Mystery biography
Formed in Montreal, Quebec in 1986

A project of French Canadian guitarist/lyricist/producer Michel St-Père, MYSTERY took form in 1986 as a six-member outfit. They released a self-titled album in 1992 that generated quite some interest across Canada. Unfortunately, a year later, their drummer Stéphane Perreault lost the use of both his legs; but his strong determination and passion for his craft inspired him with a new and unique approach to drumming: he became one of the first drummers to play from a wheelchair without the help of any pre-programmed sequences. In 1995, St-Père founded label Unicorn Records under which the band released a second album titled "Theater of the Mind" and which boasted airplay both in North America and Europe. In 1998, they released their last and most progressive album todate titled "Destiny?", which features six guest musicians. In 2000, a compilation CD was released that marked the end of a chapter in the band's history, as it also features their vocalist and long-time buddy Gary Savoie who has now left the band.

Over the years, MYSTERY's style has evolved from AOR (STYX, ASIA) to more adventurous art rock like that of RUSH and SAGA, but featuring delicate acoustic passages not normally heard from these two. Their music is based on St-Père's guitar play, which is well executed yet appropriately restrained, while the keyboards remain in the background. MYSTERY won't dazzle you with technical prowess but you will appreciate their strong melodies, outstanding vocals (Gary Savoie is often compared to JOURNEY's Steve Perry), elegant arrangements and attention to detail. Their compilation CD "At the Dawn of a New Millenium" is made up of remastered tracks of their three albums and is a fairly good sampler of their répertoire for those wanting to get acquainted with the band.

Recommended to fans of SAGA, KANSAS, JOURNEY, RUSH and to fans of melodic rock in general.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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MYSTERY discography


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MYSTERY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 76 ratings
Theatre Of The Mind
1996
3.45 | 84 ratings
Destiny?
1998
3.80 | 184 ratings
Beneath The Veil Of Winter's Face
2007
3.99 | 305 ratings
One Among the Living
2010
3.97 | 348 ratings
The World Is A Game
2012
3.93 | 270 ratings
Delusion Rain
2015
3.92 | 269 ratings
Lies And Butterflies
2018

MYSTERY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.23 | 34 ratings
Tales from the Netherlands
2014
4.48 | 29 ratings
Second Home - Live at Prog Dreams V
2017
4.83 | 11 ratings
Live in Poznan
2019

MYSTERY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.21 | 19 ratings
Second Home - Live at Progdreams V
2017
4.36 | 8 ratings
Caught in the Whirlwind of Time
2020

MYSTERY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 18 ratings
At The Dawn Of A New Millennium
2000
4.00 | 12 ratings
Unveil the Mystery
2013

MYSTERY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 17 ratings
Mystery
1992

MYSTERY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Theatre Of The Mind by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.24 | 76 ratings

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Theatre Of The Mind
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 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: ***

 Unveil the Mystery by MYSTERY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
4.00 | 12 ratings

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Unveil the Mystery
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by Prog Is Not Dead

4 stars

YES, Yes, I know what many may think but this is nothing like 'Yes' and Benoit David's vocals are far removed from his performances with 'Yes'. There are times when he hits those high notes but by-and-large his vocals are very AOR. This compilation from 'Mystery' offers the songs from the three albums Benoit David appeared on, however, it is the tracks culled from the album 'One among the Living' (2010) which are most appealing as they include the likes of; John Jowitt, Richard Lanthier, Oliver Wakeman and Daryl Stuermer. The lead guitar of Michel St-Pere is superb throughout with some beautiful nods to Floyd, especially on 'Dear Someone' - on which Nick D'Virgilio drums. This is a great collection for the curious and perhaps a similar set from current vocalist Jean Pageau would be welcomed by those not wishing to attain their entire catalogue and compliment 'At the dawn of a new Milliennium' which features former vocalist Gary Savoie. Only gripe is the lack of a booklet although relevant information appears on the digi-pack.

 Caught in the Whirlwind of Time by MYSTERY album cover DVD/Video, 2020
4.36 | 8 ratings

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Caught in the Whirlwind of Time
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by huge

5 stars As well as the 'Lies and Butterlies' contribution (the whole album), 'Delusion Rain' is well represented with 4 tracks; 'Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face' is also represented by a further 4 tracks - the remaining 2 come from 'Destiny' and 'The World is a Game'. All the tracks are played in random order.

But far more importantly they are played with real verve and panache. A thoroughly enjoyable ride. Even 'Chrysalis' from 'Lies and Butterflies' didn't fall short as I stated on the review of the studio album release. Always pleased to hear the sumptious 'The Sailor and the Mermaid'. However, it is impossible to pick out a stand out track (or the opposite) an excellent album.

More than happy to give it the full 5 stars.

 Caught in the Whirlwind of Time by MYSTERY album cover DVD/Video, 2020
4.36 | 8 ratings

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Caught in the Whirlwind of Time
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars The band almost didn't make it on time for this show in the Netherlands because of a snowstorm. The guys didn't have much sleep and had to live with the jetlag, but looking at this Blu-Ray it didn't transpire on stage because the musicians were full of energy and enough to give a 3 hours show. They played the last album ''Lies and Butterflies'' in its entirety along with their classic songs. This band has improved over the years but it came to a point where you can't go higher. The band delivers his heavy Neo-Prog that show some style of the Neo-Prog bands of the past, but you can't pick one band close to the band, they have their unique style. The music is melodic and some passages are breathtaking mostly when they played their epic song of over 10 minutes, and you have 7 on this show. Michel St-Père on lead guitar delivers some brilliant guitar solos smiling most of the time. But I was impressed by the enthusiasm of singer Jean Pageau who seems to enjoy being there enough to go on the balcony and sing in the crowd for a song. He put on a little theatrical show with some costumes and also can play the flute and keyboards. This band is not so mysterious after all... Recommended.
 Live in Poznan by MYSTERY album cover Live, 2019
4.83 | 11 ratings

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Live in Poznan
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars Just two years on from the release of their previous live album, 'Second Home', Mystery present us with another. It contains the same line-up, but only six of the fifteen songs on offer are on both albums. It was recorded on April 7th 2019 at Blue Note Jazz club in Poznań, Poland, during the first leg of the Live and Butterflies tour promoting their latest album 'Lies and Butterflies'. Guitarist, founder and main songwriter Michel St-Père and I have been friends for well in excess of 20 years, and I have followed the career of Mystery with great interest as they have had more than just a few issues with line-up over the years, but Michel has been constant and they continue to grow and develop. It was always going to be hard to replace the guy who was also in Yes for the best album they released in many years ('Fly From Here'), Benoît David, but in Jean Pageau they managed to do just that and by the time of this recording he was an established member of the band and full of confidence. Listen to the lush a capella vocals during "Delusion Rain", which is the opening track, to see that demonstrated, as this is a brave thing to undertake in any live performance, let alone in the opening number.

Even before putting this into the player one knows it is something special, as the artwork from Tomek Zaczeniuk is majestic and also demands we ask questions about the back story. The same is true of the music, which demands we pay attention and listen to every element of what is going on. They combine together to create a majestic whole, but every musician is producing moments of excellence and finesse throughout. Michel St-Père and Sylvain Moineau have a strong understanding of each other, with lush harmonies and interaction. Antoine Michaud provides the perfect support whether it is piano or waves of synth, rarely taking centre stage. Then of course there is bassist François Fournier who continues to pin it down, which is just as well as drummer Jean-Sébastien Goyette can never be relied upon to keep a simple snare and hi hat rhythm as he needs to add his touch to everything which is going on. He does not over play but is a key part of the overall Mystery sound. Then of course at the front is Pageau, full of enthusiasm and confidence, and together the quintet produces some of the most majestic prog around.

They have come an exceptionally long way indeed since the first two albums back in the Nineties, and they keep growing as a unit with wonderful songs and performances. The Canadians have done good and let us hope it's not long until the next studio album.

 One Among the Living by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.99 | 305 ratings

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One Among the Living
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mystery was actually my prime example of a faceless genre-band that knows precisely how to please its fans. My recent hunger for modern (neo)prog vinyls led me to investigate their discography once more when I stumbled upon 'One Among the Living' ? which by the way is their last album that was (sadly) not printed on a vinyl.

Sound-wise Mystery's 'One Among the Living' (2010) combines a classic AOR sound with modern neo- progressive music. The vocalist Benoit David rose to fame as lead-singer of a Yes tribute band and was asked to fill in John Andersons spot in Yes during their 'In the Present Tour' and the recording of 'Fly From Here'. At the heart of Mystery's music we find multi-instrumentalist and producer Michel St-Pere, who has worked with different line-ups to further the band since its conception. The album has a long list of guest musicians, but I would never have guessed it when listening to this very cohesive, professional and well though-out album.

On paper this could never have worked for me; part AOR sound, Yes / John Anderson style vocals - and no less then 70 minutes of it. Yet this album grabbed my full attention from the moment it started. An effect that reminds me of how hypnotized Arena's 'Contagion' still gets me. The often dubbed high-pitched vocals of Benoit in echoey landscapes create a real atmosphere. During acoustic moments it reminds me of that magical space-folk sound. Its great to hear such a great produced album that can summon that 'obscure' feel. The band can also rock out at moments, with guitars that have that Metallica twin guitar edge. On 'The Falling Man' the band goes as far to create a perfect neo-prog meets Black Sabbath doom track, which is chilling! Whereas the band at first glance sounds like an AOR group, this association starts to vanish when familiarizing with the record. Neo-prog records are seldom better then the detail of their production, and I would say this is one of the best produced - and detailed - records of the genre. All of the genre clichés may be present, but the band treats them with awareness and usually comes up with an interesting twist. The ability to really grap a person with a performance surely is early Marillion's strongest asset, yet so many bands get lost in keyboard one keyboard part after another. Here almost all the songs have that quality to achieve individuality with strong performances of good melodic pieces. The album's mandatory epic 'Through Different Eyes' is a strong succession of songs. Furthermore, it shows proper restraint. The parts could work on their own and do actually improve in their successive impact.

Conclusion. Though this album by Mystery has received much praise at the time, it is actually overshadowed by its (to my ears) lackluster formula-prog successors. On this album Mystery (Michel St-Pere) showcases a deep 'knowing' and appreciation of the genre. The production sounds great in the living room, headphones - even in my small car. In my opinion 'One Among the Living' deserves to be mentioned along-side with the better works of Arena, IQ and Pendragon.

What about a vinyl re-release? Please..?

 The World Is A Game by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 348 ratings

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The World Is A Game
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

5 stars Montreal's Mystery offers a terrific dose of modern Neo-Prog. Their previous albums "Beneath The Veil Of Winter's Face" and "One Among The Living" are great albums, but when under a microscope this album takes it up a notch.

In the spring of 2012, Vocalist Benoit David announced his desire to take a break from Music. Jean Pageau would replace Benoit David as Mystery's lead singer. Joining Mystery on this album is drummer Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard, Tears for Fear, Genesis, Big Big Train).

"A Morning Rise" is a instrumental intro with soft acoustic guitars, gentle flute, and sparse keyboards. During "Pride" there's a lot of rising and falling drama, as well as endless tension. A grand piece that gets better with every single listen. "Superstar" is a Pink Floyd styled piece. I found the words very sympathetic, recognizing some feelings and observations from my own life.The highlight of an already wonderful piece is the number of effortless searing guitar solos which are dripping with emotion and frustration. "The Unwinding Of Time" is a brief musical box melody that starts out pretty until dark and sinister sounds fade in, before going into the title track. "The World Is A Game" is the most upbeat piece on the album. Lots of nice gentle acoustic guitars which provide the listener with some uplifting emotions, which helps break up the album from being a little too melancholy and serious. The sad but optimistic "Dear Someone" is probably the most straightforward piece on the album. Great melodies throughout this one--and some really hopeful, heart-warming lyrics. "Time Goes By" really grabs me the last minute in a half when the drums, bass, and guitar start playing off each other in an awesome display of instrumental inter-play."Another Day'"is truly epic, lasting 19 minutes. There's endless emotional piano, moody acoustic guitar playing and David's absolutely superb main vocal theme that is sung in the opening and is reprized throughout is mesmerizing. Interesting that they also finish things up without the huge guitar solo, instead opting for a thoughtful come-down.

At the end of the album I am left with a profound feeling that I have experienced something with measureless passion. Do yourself a favor - take the time to listen to "The World Is A Game." You'll start to appreciate it and realize it's another winning album to place alongside several other terrific melodic progressive rock albums.

 Theatre Of The Mind by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.24 | 76 ratings

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Theatre Of The Mind
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

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.

 Lies And Butterflies by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.92 | 269 ratings

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Lies And Butterflies
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I enter the first listen of any new MYSTERY album with no expectations. I am always surprised by the rich and consistent sound the band has used over the course of its career. This is the first time that that sound may be feeling a little old, a little tapped out.

1. "Looking For Something Else" (16:54) opens with crowd cheering and clapping before a "door-shutting" noise and acoustic guitar harmonics section and acoustic piano section ensue. It sounds like diddling around on stage while the concert fans empty from the stadium. After about 90 seconds the little impromptu rift is taken over by the full electronic band. Impressive cohesion, however, after another two minutes of this single arpeggio riff being repeated and bashed about, I find myself looking (hoping) for something new, a shift or variation. The music does empty down but flute and piano and acoustic guitar perpetuate the riff while Jean Pageau enters to sing. Piano and acoustic guitar continue to carry "the riff" while the instrumental lineup and dynamics go through some shifts. Chorus. Electric guitar solo. Return to full band and vocal push of "the riff." In the seventh minute things lay back again, though the bass remains thick and there is still an occasional power chord, so that Michel can really sink his teeth into a long guitar solo. It's okay; nothing very new or super-exciting. And yet it continues. For four minutes. Synths take a laid back turn in the lead. When things finally settle down in the eleventh minute, church organ leads us in, but then piano and acoustic guitars take back the lead in a soft, delicate "Confusion Will Be My Epitaph" section over which Jean sings. The King Crimson inspiration continues with flute and Mellotron (making it even more blatant) until things explode into full "orchestral" mode at 13:25. Nice vocal, nice lead guitar solo follow (still following the "Epitaph" melody lines). It's different enough that I can let go of the blatant "lift" of the music. Plus, the players feel so emotionally connected to this section. It's pretty damned good even if it is borrowed. Great drum and bass play throughout. (9/10)

2. "Come To Me" (5:17) sounds too much like a WHITESNAKE song. Too filled with sonic and structural clichés; one or two catchy riffs or chord progressions do not make for a great song. (7/10)

3. "How Do You Feel?" (4:53) pretty chords gently played by multiple guitars and keys set up Jean Pageau for an emotional vocal--which he delivers in spades. Perfect power, perfect melodies, perfect lyrics. Great guitar work in the rhythm and solo departments throughout. A MYSTERY masterpiece. (9.5/10)

4. "Something To Believe In" (7:34) Oh, oh! A Colin Tench song! At least, that's what the opening suggested. The stripped down, country-rock verses bely something a little different but not far off my original impression. Man! Michel St-Pere can play guitar! Maybe even better than Colin could! Drums are a little too busy for my tastes, don't really work in this mix. Electric piano arpeggi segue into a new section with a bit of a classical feel--even guitars and flute maintain that feel. But then a power chord from the electric guitar serves notice of a return to rock 'n' roll. Joe Walsh-era EAGLES come to mind here. (7.5/10)

5. "Dare To Dream" (6:54) Synth-strings note and dated electric piano chords open this slow song before cymbol play and guitars join in to support the vocal. Again, the song stays in such conservative, formulaic territory that I find myself disappointed, even turned off. Great little guitar solo at the very end of the second minute. Both the verses and choruses are failing to bring me in. I'm so sad! Nice instrumental section in the fourth minute and usual great lead guitar solo in the fifth. Sensitive scaled back section in the sixth minute over which haunting synth solos. Vocals return in harmonized multiplicity but they aren't grabbing me! Such ambivalencies! (8.5/10)

6. "Where Dreams Come Alive" (7:26) electric guitar and electric piano arpeggi provide an opening background over which Michel's lead soars for a few seconds before we switch into second gear with chunky plucked bass line and syncopated drumming. The vocals enter over this. It's not working. Guitars and keys join in and still it's not quite clicking on all cylinders. Michel's occasional flourishes on lead guitar are magical but once again they cannot float or fly a poorly constructed ship. I would like to see more future compositions using more of Jean Pageau's flute. (8.5/10)

7. "Chrysalis" (15:08) opens softly before bursting into a long introduction of a theme that feels familiar from one of the previous songs. Things then quiet down in the second minute for some nice acoustic guitar work. A minute of this with support of synth washes and we're finally introduced to the vocal. There's a BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Spectres feel to this one (more specifically, "I Love the Night"). Song builds in the fifth minute and then breaks down for the delicate, heart-felt "Butterfly, spread your wings and fly" section. Then a sudden shift takes us into a heavier, metallic section of power chords, searing guitar, and almost growling vocal narration before Jean's more-projected vocal soars in the foreground. At 8:35 the dominant riff shifts to bridge us to another delicate, dreamy section (though a chunky bass continues at the bottom--as if to remind us that this is a scary story) with nice melodies from guitar and vocal. This is intermixed with alternating returns to the "Godzilla"-like guitar power chords. Even Michel's guitar solo over this heaviness has a Buck Dharma sound and feel to it! The twelfth and thirteen minutes maintain a nice albeit still heavy chord progression beneath which the drummer has some show-off time. Then we shift into a heavy yet full-orchestra feeling final section over which powerful Jean's vocal carries us to the delicate end. (8.5/10)

Four stars; a nice addition to any prog lover's collection (though not as good as some of Mystery's previous releases).

 Lies And Butterflies by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.92 | 269 ratings

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Lies And Butterflies
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars 2018 sees the band back with their latest album, and for once there has been only a slight amendment in the line-up, with keyboard player Dupuis replaced by Antoine Michaud (who wasn't even a twinkling in his parents eye when the band started out!). Michaud first joined the band as replacement guitarist for Moineau in 2014 when the latter was unable to undertake a European tour, before then being contacted in 2016 and asked to join the band in a different role. With the band being the most stable in many years, it probably is little surprising that this feels very much like a sequel to 'Delusion Rain', but with the band understanding each other even better than before, and allowing themselves to relax into their roles.

Pageau is a wonderful singer, and with the confidence that only comes from successfully touring overseas, he really shines on this album. During 'Looking For Something Else' he produces an incredible performance, backed with only an acoustic guitar, while he then provides flute himself as the piano comes into play. Mature and simply beautiful, this is an accomplished performance, and as he cranks it up and the band kicks in, the following guitar solo is perfectly paced with huge drive, taking the song to a totally different level. That is one of the two long songs on the album, which bookend five somewhat shorter ones, all seven showing just how much Mystery have changed and grown since I first came across 'Theatre Of The Mind', released some 22 years previously. Of course, only Michel St-P're has been at the helm of the good ship Mystery throughout, and he has chartered a course through to a glorious album that I have enjoyed immensely.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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