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Mystery - One Among the Living CD (album) cover





3.98 | 310 ratings

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4 stars Mystery was one of those bands whose latest album appeared on Amazon's "Customers who bought (album) also bought (album)" widget. I sampled the latest album but it didn't seize me. Then I read that Benoit David of Yes notoriety was in the band. Really? I sampled "Beneath the Veil of Winter," "One among the Living," and "The World is a Game," before deciding on ordering OatL. The CD arrived a couple of days ago, and I am really enjoying it. It's an easy one to appreciate because the sound is loud and clean and the music has its fair share of heavy parts, which for me makes it easily enjoyable.

I have to say that I am really impressed with Benoit David here. Listening to him on "Fly from Here," it's hard not to compare him to Jon Anderson and seek out where he sounds good enough and where Jon Anderson is missed. But with Mystery there's no need to compare unless it is to compare any former vocalist with the band. David's voice really shines here and at times, when he gets a little rough edge in his voice as in "Between Love and Hate," and "The Falling Man," he sounds a bit like Triumph's Rik Emmett and Gil Moore combined (which I mean in a good way since I like many of Triumph's songs).

The album is heavier than I expected. There are many gentler acoustic guitar parts and some nice keyboard parts as in "Till the Truth Comes Out", but overall it's the heavy guitar in many songs that pleases me with its rich sound. When I was searching for a high resolution image of the album cover for my iTunes folder for this album, I was surprised to find this album mentioned on a Russian heavy metal site. But after listening to the album I noticed just how heavy it is at times, particularly "The Falling Man". Conversely, there are moments that seem to take the band to the edge of commercial pop before they save themselves. Interestingly, a couple of songs actually remind me of Triumph, particularly the last minute or so of, "Between Love and Hate." As neo-prog tends to include more commercially accessible approaches than symphonic prog and this album features a lot of heavy guitar and guitar solos supported by synthesizer, plus David's vocals are in the higher registers, it makes sense that some similarities to Triumph can be perceived. However, this is not to say that Mystery is a Triumph clone. Not at all! But their style is heavier than what I would have expected from a neo-prog band. Still, that seems to be the neo-prog direction these days, considering IQ's last two albums have been heavier and darker, Pallas's "XXV" is closer to metal and heavy prog than neo-prog, and even Pendragon have been including heavier guitar parts on their last three albums.

One thing that is interesting is the 22-minute plus suit "Through Different Eyes". The suite runs in six parts but each part is a separate track. This is similar to Yes's "Fly from Here," which is also in six individual parts that segue together. As I have been earnestly into progressive rock only in the last two years, I have heard epic tracks like Rush's "Fountain of Lamneth," which are actually separate songs of a theme that are under the banner of a single track, and tracks like Yes's "Closer to the Edge" which are more like a suite with movements." I prefer to hear a long song without many breaks between "movements". I see no point in calling a few separate songs a single track just because the songs tell a story. So this album by Mystery has my appreciation because the parts of the epic track can be enjoyed individually but also connect to the next track smoothly and sensibly so the whole suite stands as a whole.

Overall I am very pleased with this album which is also my introduction to the band. The music is not as complex as I had hoped and as I prefer but it is very good. I'll be checking out other albums later on.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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