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MYSTERY

Neo-Prog • Canada


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Mystery picture
Mystery biography
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 : : :

Mystery official website

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MYSTERY Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy MYSTERY Music


Delusion RainDelusion Rain
Import
Unicorn Digital Inc 2015
Audio CD$10.15
$13.75 (used)
Tales from the NetherlandsTales from the Netherlands
Import
Unicorn DIgital Inc. 2014
Audio CD$12.60
$15.98 (used)
Destiny?Destiny?
Import
Unicorn Digital Inc. 1998
Audio CD$12.92 (used)
The World is a GameThe World is a Game
Import
Unicorn Digital Inc. 2012
Audio CD$9.44
$26.06 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Love, Mystery and Adventure by Jo Stafford (2 CD 2006, 2 Discs, Jasmine) vocal USD $3.99 [0 bids]
1h 30m
13th Street-The Sound Of Mystery [CD New] USD $6.65 Buy It Now 1h 33m
ALPHONSE MOUZON - The Essence Of Mystery Vinyl Record LP - Blue Note USD $18.17 Buy It Now 1h 41m
Mystery Of The Sabbath - Classic Cantorial Recordings [CD New] USD $17.37 Buy It Now 1h 45m
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The Mystery of Marie Roget [7 inch Analog] Je Suis Animal LP Record USD $35.03 Buy It Now 2h 9m
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HEAR! THE YOUNG ONES - COLUMBIA 4-43788 - SOUR GRAPES / MAN OF MYSTERY - NM- USD $19.99 [0 bids]
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Vintage 78 (10"). Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life. Richard Crooks. (Red Seal 1343) USD $14.95 Buy It Now 3h 12m
Mystery White Boy: Live '95-'96 by Jeff Buckley (CD, May-2000, Columbia (USA)) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 3h 22m
MYSTERY MACHINE ~ Headfirst Into Everything ~ CD Album ~ EC! USD $5.74 Buy It Now 3h 25m
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We Creeling - Curious Mystery 789856122516 (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $9.15 Buy It Now 4h 37m
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4h 42m
Come To Me Great Mystery: Native America [CD New] USD $16.74 Buy It Now 4h 43m
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The ALAN PARSONS PROJECT - Tales of Mystery and Imagination Poe vinyl record LP USD $10.29 Buy It Now 5h 3m
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CD: Sarah McLachlan - Surfacing / 1997 - Building a Mystery / Sweet Surrender USD $6.64 Buy It Now 5h 16m
Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday by Etta James (CD, Mar-1994, Private Music USD $6.99 Buy It Now 5h 25m
Space Echo: The Mystery Behind The Cosmic Sound Of Cabo Verde -New 2x LP Record USD $30.99 Buy It Now 5h 34m
AUTOGRAPHED This Mystery by Nichole Nordeman (CD, May-2000, Sparrow Records) USD $5.60 Buy It Now 5h 50m
TACET Records: Vladimir Horowitz - The Welte Mignon Mystery Vol.XI CD New Liszt USD $9.99 Buy It Now 6h 2m
CAPITAL CITIES IN A TIDAL WAVE OF MYSTERY CD NEW USD $6.00 Buy It Now 6h 20m
BEATLES THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR REMASTER 2009 CD NEW USD $6.91 Buy It Now 6h 20m
K-KLASS - Rhythm Is A Mystery - 1991 UK 2-track 7" USD $9.31 Buy It Now 6h 29m
Mystery Train: Original Soundtrack Recording Audio CD USD $41.77 Buy It Now 6h 39m
Curve of the Earth - Mystery Jets LP USD $39.13 Buy It Now 6h 44m
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Marching Mystery Audio CD USD $26.48 Buy It Now 8h 28m
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THE STRYPES MYSTERY MAN JAPAN DJ PROMO DVD G-15317 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 8h 40m
beatles magical mystery tour USD $0.99 [0 bids]
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BIBER: MYSTERY SONATAS; ROSENKRANZSONATEN [USED CD] USD $28.27 Buy It Now 8h 53m
GARRY CHRISTIAN - "Your Cool Mystery (CD 1997)"-THE CHRISTIANS-BRAND NEW CD USD $6.19 Buy It Now 9h
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NEW Dismiss the Mystery (Audio CD) USD $10.69 Buy It Now 9h 25m
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Vol. 3-Mystery Tracks Archives - Steve Vai (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.88 Buy It Now 9h 58m
TOBIAS SAMMET'S AVANTASIA-THE MYSTERY OF TIME-JAPAN SHM-CD BONUS DISC J50 USD $39.50 Buy It Now 10h 4m
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Mystery Hot Choclate Vinyl Record USD $13.59 Buy It Now 10h 31m
Jerry Lewis - I Love a Murder Mystery 1956 7" Capitol CL 14559 USD $4.34 Buy It Now 10h 36m
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Tales of Mystery & Imagination Edgar Allan Poe ALAN PROJECT PARSONS CD USD $22.00 Buy It Now 11h 21m
NEW Mystery of Bulgarian Voices (Audio CD) USD $32.13 Buy It Now 11h 26m
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NEW The Magical Mystery Psych-Out - A Tribute To The Beatles (Audio CD) USD $19.11 Buy It Now 11h 59m
Status Quo - Mystery Song - 1976 UK - Vertigo - 6059 146 USD $6.14 Buy It Now 12h
Siouxsie & The Banshees - The Staircase (Mystery) - 1979 UK - Polydor - POSP 9 USD $6.14 Buy It Now 12h 8m

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MYSTERY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.13 | 55 ratings
Theatre Of The Mind
1996
3.43 | 65 ratings
Destiny?
1998
3.78 | 156 ratings
Beneath The Veil Of Winter's Face
2007
3.94 | 259 ratings
One Among The Living
2010
3.98 | 287 ratings
The World Is A Game
2012
3.92 | 193 ratings
Delusion Rain
2015

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

4.00 | 17 ratings
Tales from the Netherlands
2014

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

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

3.09 | 13 ratings
At the Dawn of a New Millenium
2000
4.00 | 6 ratings
Unveil the Mystery
2013

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

3.55 | 11 ratings
Mystery
1992

MYSTERY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Delusion Rain by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.92 | 193 ratings

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Delusion Rain
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars 3,5 stars !!! How I've said in my last review posted in P A (review (#1595101 in 2016-8-5 ) ; "I really think which this band is capable of better moments... ", this is a good example. In spite isn't a perfect album without weak moments, in my point of view this last studio album from MISTERY is slightly superior in relationship to their first release "Theater of Mind". In fact 19 years is a great space of time but, I don't think which only this lapse be decisive to explain this evolution, because I really believe much more in great inspiration moments than in a simply technical improvement ! Talking strictly about the album the track 1 Delusion Rain" is a beautiful ballad with some symphonic prog appeal and lyrics in "warning" moods. The track 2 " If You See Her" brings other ballad, at this time a romantic theme where the melody is very bucolic with detached vocal parts. Anohter high point as in track 4 "The Willow Tree" which starts with a 12 string guitars accompaniment and a heavy prog intermission (starting at 4 min 57 sec and ending 8 min 46 sec with a guitar/keyboards solo with very good drums ) and retakes the initial theme until the end . The last track "A Song for You" is the best and more progressive track of the album with a astonishing middle theme ( starting about 6 min 10 sec until 8 min 11 sec where the whole band exhibit a good dose of instrumental skill. Due this my rate is 3 stars !!!
 Theatre Of The Mind by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.13 | 55 ratings

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Theatre Of The Mind
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

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 something superior . In fact with three notable exceptions - Track 1 "Theater of the Mind " and track 9 "Believe in your Dreams" in the best AOR style and track 6 "Black Roses" the more "progressive" theme in the album . The rest of the tracks are "dead" ballads , with a new exception of "Piece of Mind" a very beautiful moment ! I really think which this band is capable of better moments... which they demonstrated latter in albuns like "One Among Living " , my rate is 3 stars ( taking in consideration the above detached tracks ) !!!
 Delusion Rain by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.92 | 193 ratings

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Delusion Rain
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Canadian band Mystery bounce back from the departure of long-term band member and lead vocalist Benoit David with `Delusion Rain' in 2015, a confident and pleasingly consistent work that should greatly appeal to both fans of the group and curious newcomers. Newly instated singer Jean Pagaeu effortlessly fits into the band and surprisingly doesn't sound unlike David, delivering the same deeply warm and relatable vocal tone his predecessor offered, so the transition between vocalists is more or less seamless. The six pieces on offer here again remind that Mystery are one of the best examples of a band that successfully crosses over between progressive and accessible (almost radio-friendly) rock, who always place the importance of an actual strong and melodic tune well before lengthy drawn-out soloing, even though they carefully execute those elements in plenty of restrained and effective moments throughout the hour long album as well.

The dramatic and serious ten-minute opener is almost a protest song, warning of politician's lies with Pagaeu's placid and wounded voice rising in strength for a pleading chorus. Bluesy Pink Floyd- ian slow burn electric guitar grandness and big heavy plodding drumming build the tension, and veils of Benoît Dupuis's brooding symphonic synths carefully take flight in the backdrop growing constantly in power. `If You See Her' is warmer and more obviously romantic, just the kind of track Mystery does so well. Guitars chime behind a sweetly affectionate lead vocal presenting a lovely wistful tune, and icy sleek Neo-flavoured synth interludes might remind some listeners briefly of I.Q. `The Last Glass of Wine' bristles with sleek electric guitar lines, as electric piano and shimmering synths perfectly convey the dream-like surreal lyrics.

The standout moment of the disc is the almost twenty-minute `The Willow Tree'. It truly is a showcase for both guitarists Sylvain Moineau and Michel St-Père who deliver all manner of sublime electric and acoustic passages, and this extended piece presents Mystery wholly embracing their prog credentials with the most frequent instrumental passages of the album. A perfect balance of winning vocal sections and instrumental flights that catch fire with a gutsiness of harder-driving guitars, whirring colourful synth-runs and Jean-Sébastien Goyette's rumbling drums that lift the piece to the heavens, and the slick direction and time-changes all effortlessly transition with great skill. This grand epic moment is sure to become a live concert favourite from the band, and it must rank as one of the best Mystery pieces ever, everything that the band does right falling expertly into place.

Despite as always focusing on the actual tune, `Wall Street King' is one of the heavier moments where some of the more bombastic sections wouldn't have sounded out of place on one of Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Ayreon project albums, François Fournier's bass grumbling suitably thick and upfront in the instrumental passage in the middle. Album closer `A Song for You' initially retains the heaviness of the previous track, opening with gothic-like dark symphonic themes with manic organ and electric guitar wildness, perhaps not unlike British Neo-proggers Arena. It quickly tones down amongst breezes of flute wafting in and out of soaring guitar soloing, winning synth motifs and a high-energy instrumental stretch in the middle, and there's no doubting the sincerity when Pageau repeats the inspirational credo of "Leave all your fear behind, let your heart rule your mind, allow your dreams to come alive..."

Does this album maintain Mystery's momentum and offer another strong set of reliable and classy songs - for sure. At this point in their career with several albums behind them, could the band be taking a few more risks - absolutely. With their next studio album, it might be time for the band to change things up a little, maybe attempt a concept album, or even strip back the production polish for something a little more subdued and intimate - in other words move out of their comfort zone just a little. Mystery are now well and truly established with a strong fanbase of loyal followers, so they shouldn't be worried that being a little more daring (without sacrificing their melodic qualities) will scare off their audience. If anything, prog rock fans will only embrace them more than ever, and it might even bring in new listeners who sometimes dismiss the band as being a little lightweight or bland (none of which is true though!).

But `Delusion Rain' is still a very successful and pleasing album from a hugely talented band, perhaps Mystery's strongest release to date in many ways, that's sure to be warmly embraced by their fanbase, and it's another victory for song-based melodic prog-rock.

Four stars.

 Delusion Rain by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.92 | 193 ratings

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Delusion Rain
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Canadian prog band Mystery continues on its merry way, regularly releasing spirited albums that hover the zone between neo-prog and symphonic. Their last three albums were extremely well-received and critically applauded. Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face (2007), One Among the Living (2010) and The World is a Game (2012) were all truly intense albums, showcasing a series of talents that define their music. Tremendous melodies, sweeping atmospherics, superb instrumental prowess and the special voice of Benoit David (who went on to a brief career with Yes). On this ultra-smooth release, the lead vocalist slot is now taken over by Jean Pageau, who does not disappoint at all, fitting in very nicely. Michel St-Pere, lead guitarist and leader is a seasoned pro who does not seek to reinvent the wheel, or even progressive rock, for that matter. His forte is to keep focused on pieces of music that are emotionally powerful and expressive, loaded up with dynamic rhythms that are never overtly mellow or sugary, succinct soloing and laying homage to the ebb and flow of the highly melodic arrangements. Oh, and before I forget, great singing! Adventurous? Maybe not. Pioneering? No. Entertaining? Absolutely! Bombastic? Oh Yeah!

The title track wastes no time in getting Pageau settled with the mike stand, as he belts it out with the best of them, not really that distant from David. No shock the monkey here, as the melody is massive and immediately expressive, as if one had heard this many times before, boldly soaring above the slippery guitars, the walloping symphonic keys and the steady rhythmic duo. A tremendous 10 minute opener indeed. Felling slightly romantic? How about a sublimely simple love ballad, acoustic guitars weaving the sad story and a voice that urges the pain forward. "If You See Her" is a conveniently personal tune, fresh and puerile, yet engrossed within a special gloss, blending in crystalline guitar and solid propulsion. Once again, that typical Mystery impression of 'vaguely familiar' strikes the listener, proving that this band knows how to impact the jaded listener by seeking out their attention, not by some exultant soloing display but by recalling the simply accessible beauty that surrounds us , in all sensorial forms. If you are looking for angular, obscure and intrepid forms of progressive rock creativity that boldly goes beyond the norm, you are definitely in the wrong galaxy.

"The Willow Tree" is also in the 6 minute range, a hustling track that combines pastoral chiming and raunchier riffs, with Pageau modulating his voice to better match the storyline, as the shimmering electric guitar carves forward unafraid. Punchy drums, booming bass and screeching keyboards all contribute to keep things panting and thrilling. Here Pageau's voice reminds me of Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, though in a heavier, more bombastic setting.

The big boy here is the gargantuan 19 minute epic "The Last Glass of Wine" , which shows the Quebec band taking their sweet time in developing a mood and a structure that will sweep the listener into a trippy affair in which to lose oneself, chock full of delicacy, strength, power and detail, never boring and always with purpose. Mystery can do languid too, with stunning choir work and truly, some of the best vocal work anywhere. Special mention must go to both Francois Fournier on bass and Jean-Sebastien Goyette on the drum kit, who really beef up the rhythmic pulse, while keyboardist Benoit Dupuis challenges the dual guitars of Sylvain Moineau and leader St-Pere who do some serious Wishbone Ash style duelling guitar stuff that will dazzle and subdue the audience into submission. This is where the band gets to let their hair down and liberate some expressive soloing into the mix, a trait that is both admirable and pleasing. Great piece of work!

Prog is not just for history and literature buffs but can also relate to current affairs (and should more often), so they decide to tackle "Wall Street King" and the subject of corporate greed and uncontrolled wealth. Brash and grandiloquent, the bluesy guitar coils like a snake, ready to strike like some feverish cobra, the elevated chorus is highly expressive and the mood rumbles along unchecked with a booming bass shoving the money bag along, 'before the fall'.

"A Song for You" kicks off with some labyrinthine stops and turns, getting very technical and almost hyperventilating before a huge synth melody overtakes the deal, sounding like old-school Yes and a pastoral segue with gentle flute then enters the room. Pageau turns on the emotional jets with an aching ballad that keeps building up to some imaginary crescendo where "you let the heart rule the mind". The second half has a burping bass, clanging guitar swipes, churning organ and tectonic drum fills to hurl the song forward, at breakneck speed and intent. "Let the music float through your mind". Indeed! A scorching St-Pere sizzle settles this one down for the night.

Consistently appealing prog music that while not ground breaking, still remains totally cool and hyper-professional with exceptional playing and sensational singing. Ideal introductory band to the unaware music fan wanting to learn more about prog. No mystery with Mystery but I like it.

4 Illusionary deluges

 Delusion Rain by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.92 | 193 ratings

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Delusion Rain
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by pepe saco

5 stars Before the year finishes, we have the pleasure to hear this great canadian band through its last work ¨Delusion Rain¨. A spectacular production by the lead guitarist Michel St-pere with the new voice of the group Jean Pageau. A disc of high inspiration, with outstanding melodies and instrumental arrangements wich delights us at every step we listen to the album. The band display a modern progressive rock of great quality, with fine moments regarding the melodies of some songs in contrast with others in wich the group goes further in an enjoyable and powerfull instrumental compositions. This band has become through the years one of the best in the world, showing a great evolution in its work with this magnificent album. I am not the one to analyze the songs one by one: this is your task, to discover the wonders the piece has itself. This is a privilege that each listener has and that I should not take away from you. What I can say, actually, is that when you leasten to the album you will touch the sky with your hands.
 Delusion Rain by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.92 | 193 ratings

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Delusion Rain
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars If Neo Prog has to be over-the-top bombastic, let it be like this band, Mystery, and this album, Delusion Rain, their best to date. Simply the best sound, best song construction, best lead vocalist, best tempos and best lyrical topics I can think of in the Neo Prog realm. So what if they sound like 80s hair bands WHITESNAKE, SKID ROW, QUEENSRYCHE, GREAT WHITE, DEF LEPPARD or BON JOVI. They have a clarity and consistency, a masterful command of melody and chord progressions and a solid confidence that puts them in your face but in an emotional, sympathetic way.

1. "Delusion Rain" (10:04) A solid song that just never elevates itself into heavenly standards of memorability. (8/10)

2. "If You See Her" (6:11) A prog ballad by the numbers but done to perfection. The keyboard embellishments and restrained guitar soli (especially in the fifth minute) are wonderful. (9/10)

3. "The Last Glass of Wine" (6:47) Great pacing, great singing and lyrics, incredibly engaging chord progressions and melodic hooks, amazing sound and instrumental clarity, and hugely chunky bass, and yet nothing over-the-top or overdone. This is about as good Neo Prog can get. (10/10)

4. "The Willow Tree" (19:30) A few choices misfire and a few opportunities were missed--and it may drag on a bit longer than it needs to, but, still, overall, another beautiful and wonderfully restrained presentation. "Have you seen your eyes" is definitely a brainworm. (9/10)

5. "Wall Street King" (6:39) Despite the cogent topic and pleasant opening, this is the only dud on this otherwise stunning album. (7/10)

6. "A Song for You" (12:35) is a little on the cliché bombastic side, but I cannot argue with the gorgeous melodies, heart-wrenching chord progressions, tasteful guitar soli and amazing synth soli. Change the first 6:15 a bit and you have an outright masterpiece. (8/10)

Sorry, Thomas, but this, Delusion Rain, is the greatest Neo Prog album ever made. (Just kidding. That honor would go to either Moonshine or Seven.) If all Neo Prog were like this, I might like more of it. Also, whoever is doing the lead guitar work in this album is amazing--one of the top ten or twenty working in the business today.

 Delusion Rain by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.92 | 193 ratings

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Delusion Rain
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars The band music has improve a lot since their debut. This time, they have a new singer, Jean Pageau. What strikes me at first listening to this album is the prefect production. The sound is clear and loud which each instrument bursting in the speakers. After a Pink Floyd intro, the self-titled song see the emergence of the acoustic and electric guitar succeeding each other with plenty of guitar solos of the master of his instrument, Michel St-P're. The heavy bass sound and the overall music remind me of the Neo-Prog band Pallas, influence that reoccur at some place throughout this album. In the song "If You see Her", there is some nice keys/guitar interplay and the pattern of the first song is repeated. The epic "The Willow Tree" is the highlight of the cd with a song that start as a ballad, then shift to a fast tempo and a long instrumental passage. The same themes are repeated like the ballad and the acoustic part, it's a back and forth of acoustic and electric moments. Before the end, I felt that some parts were too stretched out. In the last two songs we have the two opposite moods of the cd, the Pink Floyd delicate sound and the heavy sound of Pallas. There's some impressive musicianship here and the production make it well worth listening, but nothing new in this style of music and I always have the same impression after listening to a Mystery release, the songs are missing that spark or inspiration that could elevate the band to the level of the great bands.
 The World Is A Game by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.98 | 287 ratings

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The World Is A Game
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars I bought Delusion Rain and enjoyed it so much that I bought this one too. Mystery has been on my radar for a while, and I finally took the plunge. While I will work backwards through their catalog, I can say that this is just a perfect a Progressive Rock album. It comes with soaring guitars, stellar vocals, and amazing musicianship throughout. If you don't already own this, pick it up. I am sorry I did not get it sooner. Every track is excellent in The World is a Game, but the album ends with the incredible Another Day, almost 20 minutes of pure progressive bliss. This is a masterpiece of progressive rock that I will enjoy for years to come.
 Tales from the Netherlands by MYSTERY album cover Live, 2014
4.00 | 17 ratings

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Tales from the Netherlands
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Vocalist Benoit David brought plenty of attention during his time with French-Canadian progressive rock group Mystery, coming to the band all the way back in 1999, yet only making his album debut on 2007's `Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face', going on to front three of their studio albums to great approval from fans of the group. However, the singer is probably more well known for joining symphonic prog legends Yes, controversially replacing Jon Anderson between the years 2008-2012, performing lead vocals on their 2012 album `Fly From Here' as well as a singing on several tours with that band. By 2013 he was himself replaced by Glass Hammer singer Jon Davison, but it's really Yes' loss. On this double CD live set, `Tales from the Netherlands', recorded at the Boerdirij Cultuurpodium in Zoetermeer on May 10th 2013, Benoit proves what a charismatic and captivating performer with Mystery he was, and now that he has also left this group, it serves as a fitting memento of his time with the band.

For those unaware of Mystery's music, the band perform a mix of intelligent and tasteful AOR with careful progressive rock flavours, preferring to focus on well-written song structures with strong melodies. Most of the proggier instrumental flourishes are tightly incorporated around the songs, very rarely self-indulgent or trying to show off, and never at the expense of the overall tune. This double set focuses on the albums that cover Benoit's time in the group, offering a mix of more compact pieces and lengthier epics that provide a good overview of their music, and it even makes for a perfect introduction to newcomers wishing to look into the band for the first time.

While the arrangements presented here don't differ greatly from the studio versions, there's an added vibrancy and energy to their delivery, especially noticeable in the way Benoit sings with such extra clarity and confident professionalism. With a gentle and warm manner when talking to the crowd in between songs, it's this very human and likeable personality that endeared him to Mystery fans. There's plenty of highlights throughout the two discs. The introspective and compassionate `Dear Someone' and the urgent `Wolf' (love Benoit Dupuis' frantic up-tempo synth burst throughout the instrumental break in the middle!) both have catchy choruses that permanently lodge themselves in your brain - trust me, they've been swimming around in my head for years now! The reflective qualities are all still present, but many sections of the twenty minute epic `Another Day' are given a harder- hitting and more muscular strength due to Jean-Sébastian Goyette's powerhouse drumming, and there's a beautiful dreamy outro as well to close the first disc.

Highlights of the second disc are the lengthy `Pride' that flies to the heavens with Michel St- Pere's soaring guitar solos. The ethereal fragility of the chorus of `Through Different Eyes' is the closest the band come to a Jon Anderson-like moment, but the rest of the twenty-two minute epic contains some very brooding, moody thick atmospheres and a grand symphonic synth finale, in addition to Benoit really showcasing his versatile vocal range. `The Preacher's Fall' is gutsy driving AOR stomper, Francois Fournier's bass purrs throughout album closer `Between Love and Hate', but the absolute standout track here is `Travel to the Night' that mixes a stomping AOR hard rocker with smooth harmonies, IQ-like organ stabs and endless tricky instrumental runs woven throughout.

For now, Benoit appears to have taken leave from music altogether, which is a definite shame for those who enjoyed his performances, but hopefully his time away to focus on other priorities in life will prove to be a rewarding experience for him. Jean Pageau has since been announced as the new Mystery singer, set to debut on their upcoming album in 2015, so he'll definitely have a tough time proving himself as a worthy successor to Benoit! But for now, `Tales from the Netherlands' is a perfect showcase for a special era of the band, it makes for the perfect farewell to Benoit David, and is simply a fine live album from a great progressive related band.

Four stars.

 The World Is A Game by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.98 | 287 ratings

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The World Is A Game
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by Kevman28

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. A quick trial run on Youtube, and the last 3 albums were on their way in the post! (btw, purchase them from their website. You will get them far cheaper than the likes of Amazon, and even those on ebay are dearer).

So, what do we have here then? If you like beautifully crafted songs that display a ridiculously high standard of musicianship, then this is for you. If you like romantically soaring guitars, with solos akin to the likes of David Gilmour which make the hairs on your back stand up, then this is for you. Mystery give a modern feel to their style of prog. If you like a prog ballad, then this is the best you will find. I can only liken them to cross between Sound of contact, Marillion (Clutching era) and 80's Floyd.

Benoit David has often been pushed aside as a stand in Yes singer, but that has done nothing but publicise Mystery, and thrust this fantastic music into the limelight. After hearing the new Yes album last week, they really should have tried harder to stick with him. I am so very much looking forward to the next Mystery offering. Benoit will sadly not be part of it since he parted ways in late 2013, however the real talent lies with genius Michel St-Père so expect more of the same. If the new singer is half as good then it'll be awesome.

A real jewel in any prog collection, and be sure to try 'One among the living' and 'Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face', both of which are from the second phase of Mystery's discography with Benoit on vocals. Actually, don't try them, just buy them and stop wasting your own time. Fantastic stuff.

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

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