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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)

3.15 | 89 ratings
Theatre of the Mind
1996
3.39 | 99 ratings
Destiny?
1998
3.82 | 203 ratings
Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face
2007
3.98 | 334 ratings
One Among the Living
2010
3.98 | 370 ratings
The World Is a Game
2012
4.00 | 294 ratings
Delusion Rain
2015
3.90 | 296 ratings
Lies and Butterflies
2018
4.16 | 114 ratings
Redemption
2023

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

4.26 | 38 ratings
Tales from the Netherlands
2014
4.49 | 34 ratings
Second Home - Live at Prog Dreams V
2017
4.79 | 19 ratings
Live in Poznan
2019

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

4.25 | 21 ratings
Second Home - Live at Progdreams V
2017
4.58 | 18 ratings
Caught in the Whirlwind of Time
2020

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

3.23 | 23 ratings
At the Dawn of a New Millennium
2000
4.09 | 14 ratings
Unveil the Mystery
2013
4.00 | 3 ratings
1992 - The Lost Tapes
2022

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

3.84 | 18 ratings
Mystery
1992
4.00 | 3 ratings
Behind the Mirror
2022

MYSTERY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Theatre of the Mind by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.15 | 89 ratings

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Theatre of the Mind
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

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.

 Destiny? by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.39 | 99 ratings

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Destiny?
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Founded in 1986, the band had only released one studio album previous to this one. Obviously the band was still trying to solidify its identity much less a vision for itself.

1. "Legend" (2:42) affected schlock. (4/5)

2. "Destiny?" (4:56) nice music to support Gary Savoie's Robert Plant/Steve Perry-like vocal styling. I really like the clarity given to all of the guitar parts: the soundscape is not nearly as lush and pervasive as the band's future sound becomes. Quite an excellent song! (9.5/10)

3. "Slave to Liberty" (5:35) more excellent guitar-based sonic landscape--almost like peak WHITESNAKE ("Is This Love?"). Great vocals over really nice song construction. Really portentous of some of the great songwriting/production of the future. (9.125/10)

4. "Before the Dawn" (6:29) Gary Savoie masterfully sings to help firm the establishment of the band's tradition of great ballad deliverers. Solid. (8.75/10)

5. "Queen of Vajra Space" (9:20) pure RUSH/JOURNEY imitation. Nice guitar performances but otherwise too imitative. (17/20)

6. "The Mourning Man" (4:47) starts delicately but then bursts out as a kind of Caribbean-infused heavy metal hair band song. Some very impressive guitar playing from Michel St-Père. (8.666667/10)

7. "Submerged" (7:53) a very solid and fresh 1980s metal-influenced song with great performances from all. (13.25/15)

8. "Shadow of the Lake" (14:55) another song that sounds very much like future Mystery: expressing a musical form and vision that is what becomes their own. Great composition with perfect performances and production--the attention to nuances is really wonderful. And Gary Savoie's vocal performance is perfectly matched to the music, never over the top or below grade. The middle section drags on a bit (could have been shorter) but the buildup, peak, and dénouement are top notch. I love that final section--and especially Gary Savoie's performance and Michel's long, protracted guitar outro. So emotional! One of the great prog epics of the 1990s! (28.75/30)

Total Time 56:37

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of classic rock-influenced heavy NeoProg.

 Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.82 | 203 ratings

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Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Only the band's third studio album since their founding in 1986, we find the band's heavier NeoProg sound being firmly committed to. This is also the album that announces the arrival of extraordinary bass player Antoine Fafard (on three songs only).

1. "As I Am" (5:41) nice music that chugs along while Benoît David's voice is mixed a little further back than will become the band's norm. Flashy electric guitar leads flourishing in and around the music throughout the second half. (8.75/10)

2. "Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face" (5:58) cool opening with some chant vocals and changing spacious motifs that grow progressively more dense as the song develops. (8.875/10)

3. "Snowhite" (4:07) Antoine Fafard's debut song with the band--and he is immediately impressive. The heavy, ominous opening motif turns off at the end of the first minute as the band chooses a lighter, more keyboard-based palette to support Benoît's opening vocals. A nice return to the guitar-led heavy stuff for the bridge between verses. Man! Antoine is a bassist of a different ilk: his melodic playing is powerful enough to almost garner lead billing. Without a chorus (worded) the songs feels a bit incomplete, otherwise it's powerful. (8.75/10)

4. "Travel to the Night" (8:38) keys and guitars open this with a quickly-paced upper register weave before organ and bass take the song into almost RUSH territory--which is especially confirmed by Benoît's Geddy Lee-like vocal performance. Antoine Fafard is definitely making an impact on this band's sound! Weak BÖC-like chorus leads into an almost jazzy instrumental passage with the full band performing some intricately arranged weaves. At the midway point Michel St-Père's flute-like lead guitar shows up impressively. Then we move into a GENESIS-like passage within which guitars and keys really show off while the rhythm section (and especially Antoine) stabilize the low end with some truly motivating lines. Wow! Listen to that bass! It's a bit of a let down when the music returns to the vocal sections. (17.75/20)

5. "The Scarlet Eye" (5:35) a little tame and by-the-numbers after the previous two songs. Nice bass play from Patrick Bourque--and nice vocal arrangements. Michel's bluesy guitar licks start to pepper the vocal sections in the third minute yet Benoît's vocals have yet to be infused by any passion or emotion. Nice second part to the instrumental passage with bass, drums, guitars, and especially keyboards really clicking. The final vocal passage finds Benoît giving a little more effort but a little too little a little too late. (8.75/10)

6. "The Third Dream" (6:11) more fairly standard classic-rock infused fare. The song never really develops or reaches any exciting heights. (8.666667/10)

7. "Voyage to the Other Side" (6:24) I love the "distant storm" intro--even with Benoît's "distant" vocals. Cool stuff from Michel's guitar + fx. Shifts into gear in the second minute with some cool tom-tom work and even more pronounced guitar manipulations. Then Michel starts to wail almost unaccompanied before Benoît sings the next verse. Full band finally kicks in in the fourth minute with power chords and great lush melodic walls of sound--over which Michel really sizzles. There are so many fascinating threads within this song's weave! Definitely a top three song. Michel's first breakthrough song of this album. Bravo! (9/10)

8. "The Sailor and the Mermaid" (5:23) a beautiful little ballad both from the musical/melody perspective as well as from the vocal/lyrics/storytelling perspective. (Nice work Benoît!) A glimpse of another of the band's perpetual strengths. Another top three song. It's just so pretty! (8.875/10)

9. "The Awakening" (11:12) opens with gently picked/strummed solo electric guitar (seeming to continue the mood and key of the previous song). Benoît enters to sing a plaintive vocal with no little emotional investment. Tender lead guitar in the space between vocal verses, then the band kicks into full spectrum with a slow, heavy bluesy pace for a minute or so before then turning down a side road to seemingly chase a rabbit. But then just as quickly and suddenly they turn back to the previous plodding motif for Benoît to raise his game (and voice) with an intense commitment to an impassioned delivery. The music, unfortunately, rather drags--is bolstered by Benoît's wonderful performance--even when the instrumental solos begin to show up in the seventh and eighth minutes, there's just something in the plodding heaviness of the main flow beneath that seems to drag the instrumentalist's performances down (despite some great play by Michel). And I never get to hear Antoine flourish as he's always holding down the insidiously slow bottom end with his power chords. (17.375/20)

10. "The Preacher's Fall" (3:30) bursts into gear with the insistence of a Thin Lizzy song. Guitars and keys announce a melody before stepping back to make space for Benoît to belt it out over the chugging Lizzy motif. This is so much more like the old classic rock hair bands than Prog or NeoProg. (8.66667/10)

Total Time 62:39

B/four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you're into the heavier side of the NeoProg scene.

 Redemption by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.16 | 114 ratings

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Redemption
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I think in terms of the evolution of progressive rock, neo-prog has had quite the interesting development, beginning in the 80s as a synth based cross between the sounds of new wave with symphonic prog of the 70s, into very stylized collage of symphonic proginess, doses of metal, and focuses on electronics. I do admit the genre is still a bit underdeveloped on my listening part. I have listened to the big dogs like Marillion, IQ, Arena, plus some other groups like Galahad, RPWL, and of course Mystery, but I wouldn't consider myself an expert on the genre unlike prog metal or retro prog. I have been slowly but surely getting accustomed to the genre, and during the late portions of this year I thought to give some groups a bit of a looksee to engross myself in their styles. One such band is the Canadian based Mystery!

This year they released their 8th studio effort, that being Redemption, which has come about five years since their quite popular Lies And Butterflies. Earlier this year I had already heard a Mystery album, The World Is A Game, which I didn't quite care much of to look more into the band. However I did get interested in Redemption after hearing how good it was supposedly, so I decided to check it out (a little late to the party though) and it certainly turned me around to really enjoying this group.

The sound of Mystery is quite unique for neo-prog, utilizing the sounds of Rush and Styx as a basis, rather than the more common UK-based prog of the 70s. This mostly goes for Jean Pageau's vocals I think, as he does have a similar sounding singing voice to that of Geddy Lee, though definitely a lot less high pitched. I know not many like these types of vocals, but I personally dig them as they quite fit in this more hard rocking approach to progressive rock.

I will also say the instrumentation here is very solid. While they certainly do not reach the same highs as say IQ or Galahad, they do have their own flavors they are working with, creating a great, jammy sound in their own little styles that work really well in their favors. I personally love the guitars of Sylvain Moineau and Michel St-Pere. They have a lot of personality in their playing, definitely shown on tracks like The Beauty And The Least, Behind The Mirror, and Homecoming, having this nice, sharp, but somehow also kind of mellow tone in their playing. Their solos are also quite great, really dig the one on Every Note in particular. Really tasty stuff I think.

Though, I am gonna be honest the two longer tracks are kind of unnecessary I think. They're not bad or anything, it is just they feel more obligatory. Pearls And Fire is certainly the more enjoyable out of the two I think, being a lot like a track from an Asia album almost, having this nice synthy hard rock sound that drives the piece forward. However, I just think it could be trimmed a bit, with the middle section feeling like it goes on a bit too long, with the guitar solo also feeling dragged out a bit. Certainly not a bad track but one I won't listen to very often. Also, the epic here, Is This How The Story Ends?, just kinda feels like it is just there for no real reason? If that makes sense? Do not get me wrong, this is a really nice prog epic, and certainly does have moments in it that I really appreciate, but at the same time it feels like since One Among The Living the band has been pumping out epics after epics, and they have started to feel more de rigeur with each listen, even more than The Flower Kings and their long tracks. These tracks do not dampen the experience too much for me to think any less of the album, but I feel like having one album without a 15+ track might be needed soon.

Song wise, my favorite track here is absolutely Redemption. It has this wonderful energy that kinda contrasts with most of the album. It feels like a Galahad track almost, but with a more introspective outlook. This is where I think the guitars really shine, creating these moody, heavy scores that reach very stylish peaks. Also Jean's vocals here are immaculate, having this almost arena rock energy that works really well. I think Redemption really captures the beauty progressive rock can hold, being both vibrant and brimming with energy, but also spooky and very thoughtful. Amazing stuff.

Redemption is a bright look at what Mystery can really sell in terms of their music, and the album that led me to being a fan of their work. Check this one out if you particularly like harder neo prog like Arena or Galahad. I assure you it will be worth your time.

 Redemption by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.16 | 114 ratings

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Redemption
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by Southern Star

5 stars Long time reader of this forum as I have always enjoyed researching and viewing others opinions on my eclectic heroes. However THIS release has such a hold on me that I decided to finally register and offer my views rather than just take! My first Mystery tune that grabbed my attention was Beauty and the Least which intrigued me enough to dive deeper and discover the mother lode. And what an offering. Jean Pageaus vox is the honey that initially drew me in, and the band together has a sense of melody and harmony which brings an instant connection for the listener. But then with each listen, further layers are peeled. The symphonic keys, the flute, the guitar breaks, the off kilter rhythm section which has a life of its own. Each track has its own sound. Nothing seems repetitive. Even the two ballads, which could have loaded up on saccharine, have enough punch and musicianship to make them growers. Behind The Mirror is a great intro and would be worth seeing live. Redemption is an emotive tour de force (and the earworm of the album) and Homecoming is a different style again which I love more with each listen. Pearls and Fire is compelling; this could have been how Styx would have sounded if they followed their prog rather than their pop. Pageau definitely getting his De Young sound, but without the bombast. Is This How The Story Ends? OMG. How to finish off an album leaving us wanting more. 4/5 songs rolled into one, atmospheric keys, some stellar guitar breaks, one in particular with a jazz/blues feel played over a gorgeous bass beat. And 5 mins from the end a haunting stark vocal before the run home. I kept trying to liken my new found heroes to some of my long termers: Dream Theatre, Marillion, Rush with a singer who shows shades of Geddy, DeYoung and occasionally early Plant but I realise none is totally true. This sound is of itself. And in that regard, my favourite release of 2023; the greatest Mystery is how I never knew of this band before now. Thank God For Algorithms...
 Redemption by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.16 | 114 ratings

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Redemption
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars I have been reviewing guitarist Michel St-Père's band for quarter of a century now, and there is no doubt in my mind that the third iteration of the band is the finest yet. Singer Jean Pageau sounds like he has been there forever, having long moved past the efforts of those who wanted to compare him with previous incumbent Benoît David (of Yes fame), while Sylvain Moineau (guitar), François Fournier (bass, keyboards) and Jean-Sébastien Goyette (drums) are all here for their third album and Antoine Michaud (keyboards) has returned for his second so there is now strong continuity. Here is a band who are confidence in what they are doing, clear in their direction and with the ability and strengths which enable them to continually deliver.

This is soaring progressive rock, symphonic with swathes of keyboards, yet with a twin guitar attack which enables them to provide bite and power. Then at the front they have one of the finest singers around in Pageau, who can soar on high notes or be quiet and gentle as the mood dictates. It may have been five years since the last studio release, but there have been some live recordings to keep the fans going, and they have spent their time well in honing yet another masterpiece. There is a wonderful use of dynamics throughout, mixing the use of electric and acoustic guitars, changing the pace, all of which enables the listener to feel they are being taken on a journey of discovery, never knowing quite where they will be taken in the next few bars. It is a very album to listen to and enjoy the first time of playing with the hidden depths only really becoming clear when it has been listened to multiple times. It is soothing, packed full of harmonies, and there are times when the sweetness becomes almost too much but then a guitar breaks through with a real edge which transforms what is being played.

It is the contrasts which keep the listener coming back for more, and the nuances here and there which are a delight. Jean-Sébastien can be rolling around the kit or spend an inordinate amount of time on a hi hat, while François could spend most of his time in the background, or provide some dynamic leads, Sylvain and Michel may be both gently picking or the chords can be sharp and the solos taking us in new directions, Antoine holding it all together and then at the front is Jean who is always in total control. The music moves in waves, bringing in drama or levity, and one is helpless apart from keeping the headphones on and falling into the wonderful world of Mystery. This is yet another wonderful album from the Canadians which is absolutely indispensable to anyone who enjoys this style of progressive rock.

 Lies and Butterflies by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.90 | 296 ratings

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Lies and Butterflies
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by gbjones

3 stars When compared with the three peak Benoit David era albums, which I find to be very exciting pieces or music, there's something uncreative about this one. I'm going to pretend this is a blip in the series, and there are better things to come.

Don't get me wrong, the new vocalist Pageau is ninety percent as good as his predecessor, and there are some great and lengthy guitar solos, especially if you're focused on the type of thing (maybe, I'll have to listen more), but I do not think it is up to the same level as One Among the Living or The World is a Game, which, for example, have long persistent stretches of unique and uplifting music.

I guess I'm reluctant to review something unless I really like it, just to say "hey this isn't as good as its predecessors", so I'm rating it a "3" because that's about as low as I'm willing to go with these things, generally unwilling to JUST throw shade.

 Redemption by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.16 | 114 ratings

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Redemption
Mystery Neo-Prog

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

4 stars Mystery has been around for many decades and is still alive with the singer Jean Pageau who took the place of Benoit David in 2015. Michel St-Pere is still the leader and main composer of the songs on this 9th studio album. The opener "Behind the Mirror" put us in a familiar territory of heavy symphonic prog rock, melodic and catchy with a big production and where we are treated with a powerful bass and some addictive guitar playing by Michel St-Pere. "Redemption" has a nostalgic atmosphere led by Jean Pageau, it evolves in a little crescendo with symphonic arrangements. After the guitar-oriented song "The Beauty and the Beast", the song "Every Note" is a ballad Mystery style not of a Pop kind... "Pearls and Fire" is the first epic song that shows all the trademarks of the band with explosive guitar and keys solos, a solid rhythm section, and some change of pace to let all the players shine. The next 2 songs are not as intense and are showcasing the voice of Jean Pageau and some melodic guitar parts again. The last epic and final track at 19 minutes bring back some fire in the music from the start with many breaks where we have some acoustic guitar parts from Michel. I enjoy the little menacing tone of voice break at the 7-minute mark just before the multipart vocals appear, and the rest of the band joins to an intense second half that reminds me of the music that has been made before by more AOR bands like Saga and Styx. And the "story" ends with some fireworks before a piano passage, a long track displaying all of the ingredients that made Mystery what it is in 2023. This is not the album of Redemption for Mystery but an evolution of something that has grown in strength over the years.
 Redemption by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.16 | 114 ratings

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Redemption
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by BBKron

3 stars Mystery is a veteran French-Canadian Progressive rock band, formed by multi-instrumentalist (guitars, keyboards, bass) Michel St-Pere back in 1989, and with a changing backing lineup over the years. Their sound features a melodic symphonic prog approach with liberal doses of 80's AOR (Styx, Asia, Rush, Saga) and 90's Neo-Prog styles mixed in, creating a melodic and accessible type of symphonic prog with slick production, catchy melodies, soaring ballads, and proggy instrumental flourishes. Their first album, Theatre of the Mind, came out in 1996, and this new album, their 8th follows their previously most recent, Lies and Butterflies (2018). The current lineup, which has been steady since 2014 consists of St-Pere, Frances Fournier (bass) Sylvain Moineau (guitar), Jean-Seastian Goyette (drums), Jean Pageau (lead vocals), flute, and Antoine Michaud (keyboards). Now, I have to admit that although this band has been around a long time, and plays in a style that is right up my alley (melodic symphonic prog), I was not familiar with this band before this album. But, after hearing several rave reviews of this new album in Prog circles (Prog Corner, Nathan on Shuffle, Prog Archives, etc.), I just had to check them out. And well, yes, this is a very good, solid album. It has all the things you expect from this style, and musically very well done. It checks all the boxes, as it has majestic anthems and themes, soaring ballads, virtuoso soloing and proggy instrumental intricacies, great vocals and harmonies, and emotinal peaks and valleys. However, it's just not something I can get very excited about, and I couldn't help but feel disappointed with it. For me, overall, it was a bit too much of the same old stuff, and just seemed somewhat generic Neo-Prog, too similar to other stuff I'd heard before. Still enjoyable, but there were no real surprises or 'Oh Wow!' moments. The melodies and themes were fine, but not stellar, and I just didn't feel the excitement or emotion of it, more like just going through the motions of creating a symphonic prog classic, perhaps succeeding, but not quite excelling. They seemed to be playing it safe, not trying anything very new or different, just sticking with what has worked for them before. It seemed to be like throwing in dozens of 80's and 90's AOR and Neo-prog albums and homogenizing them into a new album. After that first listen, I thought maybe I was being too harsh and it will grow on me after repeated listens, so I listened to it a couple more times over the next week, but still felt the same. I will say that the epic closing track, 'Is That How the Story Ends?', was great (showed more variation in sound and style, cool feel), had everything I wanted in an epic (19 min.) song and lifted the rest of the album up quite a bit. If the whole album would have been as good as that closing epic, I would have been very happy with the album, but overall, for me, I can only rank it as very good, but still somehow disappointing. Best track: Is That How the Story Ends?. Rating: 3.5 stars
 One Among the Living by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 334 ratings

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One Among the Living
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by gbjones

4 stars WOW...another great neo whose only shortcoming is that they are not more widely known!

First, I must digress. Rewind the clock to the early 2010s...'Yes Clone Appreciation Month' begins when Jon Anderson blows out his vocal chords and ends when Benoit David (pronounced Ben-WA Da-VEED) serves up his own on a plate about a month later while fans admit 'there really is only one Jon Anderson'.

[Digression continues] That ill-fated event occurred years ago (cut me some slack folks!). Anderson and Howe are the only members of the original quintet still extant; Mr. White having published a creepy looking CD under his own namesake just before exiting planet earth one year and one month to this day.

David sang some super good stuff before getting ousted by someone not as good; bringing us fast forward to the current epoch. Calling his group Mystery (actually led by Monsieur St. Pere) a Yes clone is not really fair. When someone excels in football we don't call him or her a Lionel Messi clone (in American football a Tom Brady clone)...

Now for the current task: this review is for the album 'One Among the Living' but I feel the review and the rating could apply equally to both that and the album 'The World is a Game'. It is actually quite easy to review these without going into detail about which songs are better than others: the material is consistently neo and consistently good, and the originality level is high, something to which I attach a high value. There is a distant ring of Rush or Journey but it is just that - distant. There aren't many "weak spots", if any.

The balance of vocals to instrumentation is also near-perfect. All I can say is, if you like prog, buy this album. If you like neo-prog, buy this album. A solid 4 stars - no more no less.

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

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