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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)

3.13 | 77 ratings
Theatre Of The Mind
1996
3.30 | 86 ratings
Destiny?
1998
3.80 | 185 ratings
Beneath The Veil Of Winter's Face
2007
3.98 | 308 ratings
One Among the Living
2010
3.97 | 348 ratings
The World Is A Game
2012
3.94 | 271 ratings
Delusion Rain
2015
3.91 | 270 ratings
Lies And Butterflies
2018

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

4.24 | 35 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
4.38 | 9 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
 One Among the Living by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 308 ratings

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One Among the Living
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by ElChanclas

3 stars My Highlights: - Wolf - Between Love & Hate - Till the truth comes out - Through Different eyes (i thru vi) - Sailing on a wing

Another excellent Canadian Neo prog band, with some symphonic and metal nuances but mostly melodic and bright. For some reason I find some classic heavy metal influences on this band, from acts such as Scorpions maybe, I think Benoit's vocals are the ones giving that familiar "look and feel" throughout this album. Majestic and Magical, the melodies here are so brilliant and beautiful that could have been easily taken from the same script as Jackson's We are the World and Heal the World...yes, that's how beautiful they are. However is even better than that because those same melodies are placed inside a circle of progressive and symphonic moments that inevitably wraps the listener never letting him leave and guaranteeing a full musical experience.

The enchanting and dreamy trio of songs that follow the album's intro are suddenly disrupted by the only song that I consider a filler in this particular album, Kameleon man, not that I dislike it at all, is just that I don't feel it belongs here. The +20mins suite "Through Different eyes" is definitely the pinnacle moment of this amazing record with outstanding guitar playing by St-Père and lyrics so deep they will still be playing in your head hours after the first listen. Then the last trio of songs lead to a mellower but darker sound letting it fade and leaving the listener craving for a second round. Beautiful piece of art, strongly recommended!

 Destiny? by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.30 | 86 ratings

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Destiny?
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Second album by the Canadians Mystery, which follows footsteps of the good debut that wasTheater of the Mind!

My problem with Destiny?, however, is still the same as in their previous album but this time exacerbated by the lack of evolution that this second work needed, but is not to be found.

The compositions and the sound of the album are still very anchored in the 80s, which would not necessarily be a bad thing if it were accompanied by some moderately interesting compositions, which does not happen in most of the album.

Which also does not exactly help is the voice of Gary Savoie, too monochromatic, old-fashioned and high pitched for my taste, being in my opinion a run-down version of Steve Perry, lead singer of Journey.

By that I don't mean that Destiny? is a bad album, but surely Michel St. Père managed to make it much better on successive albums, leaving these first two efforts as early works where the band did not fully exploit its potential.

In any case, if you are interested in the 80's progressive rock with tons of AOR influences, maybe this Destiny? will appeal you, but I found it boring on successive listens!

Best Tracks: Destiny? (again, guitar riffs and melodies influenced by Savatage, and the AOR of the 80s), Queen of Varja Space (the best song on the album, featuring a subtle, delicate and quite catchy chorus) and Submerged (the most intense song on the album, skimming hard rock)

My rating: **

 Theatre Of The Mind by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.13 | 77 ratings

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Theatre Of The Mind
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating: **

 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
4.38 | 9 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
4.38 | 9 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
3.98 | 308 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
3.13 | 77 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.

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

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