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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 | 81 ratings
Theatre Of The Mind
1996
3.32 | 90 ratings
Destiny?
1998
3.80 | 190 ratings
Beneath The Veil Of Winter's Face
2007
3.98 | 316 ratings
One Among the Living
2010
3.98 | 353 ratings
The World Is A Game
2012
3.94 | 277 ratings
Delusion Rain
2015
3.92 | 280 ratings
Lies And Butterflies
2018

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

4.25 | 36 ratings
Tales from the Netherlands
2014
4.49 | 30 ratings
Second Home - Live at Prog Dreams V
2017
4.81 | 12 ratings
Live in Poznan
2019

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

4.21 | 19 ratings
Second Home - Live at Progdreams V
2017
4.55 | 13 ratings
Caught in the Whirlwind of Time
2020

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

3.17 | 20 ratings
At The Dawn Of A New Millennium
2000
4.00 | 12 ratings
Unveil the Mystery
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
1992 - The Lost Tapes
2022

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
 Caught in the Whirlwind of Time by MYSTERY album cover DVD/Video, 2020
4.55 | 13 ratings

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Caught in the Whirlwind of Time
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars In my mind French-Canadian band Mystery have had three separate periods to their career to date, defined by their different singers and while they probably came to many people's attention when Benoît David was chosen to front Yes, it is with their last two albums that they have really made their presence felt. I do need to put a little disclaimer out at this point as I have known guitarist and songwriter Michel St-Père for more than 30 years and he asked me to write the introduction for the booklet which comes with this set, which was recorded in Holland on November 17th, 2018, but that has had no impact on my opinion of it. The gig nearly didn't go ahead as although Michel had arrived a few days early, the rest of the band appeared to be trapped in Canada with their flight cancelled until Sylvain Moineau (guitar, keyboards) somehow managed to get them onto a flight to London. They arrived in time for the show, jetlagged and tired, but no-one would guess from their performance that night.

As well as Michel and Sylvain the band are Jean Pageau (vocals, keyboards, flute), Antoine Michaud (keyboards), François Fournier (bass, Taurus pedals, keyboards) and Jean-Sébastien Goyette (drums) and tonight was a celebration, a one-off event where they were performing in what the band call their second home. There are few progressive rock bands who use two guitarists in a rock setting, as many defer to metal or become something which are incredibly experimental, but here Michel and Sylvain have a wonderful understanding and the dramatic build to the entrance of Pageau on opener "Looking for Something Else" is simply superb.

Mystery are a band who utilise a lot of keyboards, but it is the guitars and songs which make them stand out so much, combined with a very powerful vocal presence. I played the triple CDs long before I put on the Blu-ray as I knew that once I started watching that then I would not want to return to the audio only, and I was right. As one would expect these days, there are multiple cameras giving us multiple insights, and the delight on the faces of Michel and Jean as they duet (guitar/keytar) is lovely. I firmly believe the last studio albums are the finest of their career to date, and this shows in the confidence being displayed on the faces of all those involved in this remarkable performance. Although their music is complex and multi-layered, there is always plenty of space and a huge use of dynamics and contrast so when they take off they really do, and are one of the most passionate and driving prog bands around.

I have been fortunate enough to be a fan of Mystery for more than 20 years now. If you already know the band then this is an essential purchase, and if you have yet to come across some of the most delicious and melodic progressive rock around then now is the time to jump in and investigate and this is the perfect introduction.

 The World Is A Game by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.98 | 353 ratings

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The World Is A Game
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by ElChanclas

4 stars I can say that I like (and most of the times love) Mystery's catalog specially everything they've done post 2000's, however I just keep coming back to this album again and again, and I have come to realize why' Nick D'Virgilio and his spectacular drumming! It just adds that extra layer of greatness to all St-P're compositions. A while ago I recommended through this same account the title track in the 'Song of the Day' series, but now I think it's time to talk about the whole masterpiece, The World is a Game.

A Morning Rise opens the album with over a minute of instrumental acoustic guitars and flute lobbying the terroir for the upcoming Pride, the first epic of the album. Immense Neo Prog, immense guitar work (not a surprise there) and immense rhythmic section with an outstanding and masterful D'Virgilio. Great lyrical content and beautiful vocalizing by Beno't David, easy to understand why YES recruited him at some point to replace legend Jon Anderson, his tone is high but very melodic and catchy, hypnotic at times. 11 plus minutes of wonderful guitar riffs and licks, memorable.

Superstar is a slow builder, a cross between space-like prog from acts like Pink Floyd and Camel but with that nostalgic feeling so characteristic of St-P're's music. The opening line clearly depicts the mood - After all this time giving up is such a crime, if you look beyond the lies you'll be amazed, the truth you will find - Sad and hopeful at the same time? I'll let you be the judge! The Unwinding of Time works as an overture for the mouthwatering title track The World is a Game. I just can't get it out of my head! That I write with my recommendation back then, a BBB song I called it, brilliant bright and beautiful, and I feel exactly the same way still. Besides the already praised guitar work, the vocals and the drumming we now find ourselves also immersed in St-P're's piano-guitar inner t'ndem leading the way to an spectacular Neo Prog explosion where drums, bass and drilling guitar soloing collide in hooks so memorable it hurts. - You hold the world in your hand like a child with a ball, do you realize? You point a finger then you say one word and we fall, but who's the winner after all? - I'll move on before a make this review a sequel to the song recommendation.

Dear Someone accompanies the title track building together the most catchy and melodic 13 plus minutes of the album. Definitely radio friendly material and probably considered by many just as a power ballad but to me is much more than that, it was the first song that grabbed me and made me come back for further listens of the album and it does refreshes it a little before it enters its more complex and less bright moments. Musicianship is less virtuoso but flawless. I think the small flute interventions are genius and add an extra layer of beauty.

Time Goes By might be the saddest sounding tune here, but nothing is as it seems and the keyboards and guitars will take that feeling to a dark and inquisitive level. A very good song that becomes greater once the rhythmic section takes over to lead all instruments to the finale. Again, what Nick brings to the table elevates the musicianship of the band (or duo project at this point of time) unquestionably.

Another Day is the closer and clocking slightly under 20mins contains everything one would expect from a Neo Prog act that's evidentially highly influenced by legends as Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Genesis, etc. The guitar sounds like a chainsaw opposing classic piano playing before the track enters an atmospheric weird symphonic moment perfectly interpreted by all musicians. Imposible not to hear/feel a Locomotive Breath unique rendition here in a way only Mystery could do it, combining it with melodic and catchy hooks, product of a genius. Heavy metal in its more pure form intervenes and leads the song back to the initial mood only with an uplifted tempo, and it goes back and forth, back and forth, and then Antoine Fafard who has been unconditionally tied to Nick's playing suddenly emerges with a powerful bass display to enhance the final quarter of the track. Michel St-P're is a magnificent guitar player and very talented song writer, and this album is amazing! THE END

 One Among the Living by MYSTERY album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 316 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
3.32 | 90 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
3.15 | 81 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
4.55 | 13 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
4.55 | 13 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
4.81 | 12 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 | 316 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..?

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

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