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Mystery - One Among the Living CD (album) cover





3.98 | 334 ratings

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4 stars This is the album with which I first became aware of the Mystery sound--the rich, polished, emotional sound that, to these ears, epitomize all that is right with the Neo Prog movement. Replete with more-modern sounds that were pioneered by the Trick of the Tail and, especially, Wind and Wuthering albums and from which the Neo Prog movement was born, what makes Mystery such a delight to listen to is not just the wonderful standards set by their vocalists--here Benoît David--or the interesting and complex compositions of Michel St-Père or even the great evenly-distributed performances by the instrumentalists or even the oft-soul-melting melodies, but, for me, the anticipation of waiting for each electric guitar solo offered by Michel. His guitar play is so amazing, so melodic though technically proficient, that I find myself perking up every time I see him guesting on other people's albums.

1. "Among the Living" (1:13)

2. "Wolf" (5:53) a solid, varied rocker with great vocal and great instrumental contributions spread among all contributors. Benot David has such a gorgeous voice--in the league with the Journey and the greats of the 80s hair bands. (9/10)

3. "Between Love And Hate" (5:53) a pretty straightforward heavy rocker, power chords and all, highlighted by a powerful guitar solo in the fourth minute. (8.25/10)

4. "Till The Truth Comes Out" (9:25) a gentle, emotional Neo Prog song, complete with syrupy layers of imitation strings to build into the full band breakout in the third minute. Interesting time shift at 3:45 into a more dynamic, multi-instrumental instrumental section. Awesome! Wonderful performances by all. (17.75/20)

5. "Kameleon Man" (5:01) another heavy rocker, more in the vein of 1980s hair bands, spiced up a little by some awesome precision lead guitar work and Oliver Wakeman's CAMEL-esque Moog solo in the middle. (8.25/10)

- "Through Different Eyes" (suite) (22:34) (41.5/45): 6. "I. When Sorrow Turns To Pain" (3:56) standard fare, not Benot's best vocal melody. (8.25/10) 7. "II. Apocalyptic Visions Of Paradise" (1:48) Hackett/Genesis-like instrumental interlude. (5/5) 8. "III. So Far Away" (5:51) tender, 12-string arpeggi-based. Pretty, nice vocal melodies. Builds to an awesome bass pedal crescendo. (8.75/10) 9. "IV. The Point Of No Return" (2:21) a spacey-industrial expression of war-like conflict. (4.5/5) 10. "V. The Silent Scream" (5:57) back to sensitive acoustic guitar-based, Benot's vocal here is similar to modern RPI singers like Alessio Calandario--more straight-foward and raw, powerful yet vulnerable, emotional. Michel picks up the vocal melody with his electric guitar and does what we've really been waiting for: he soars. When Benot returns, it is in a higher octave--soaring in a way to match Michel's guitar while those deep bass and bass pedal lows keep killing us. Michel really lights it up in the second half. Wow! Amazing! (10/10) 11. "VI. Dancing With Butterflies" (2:42) returning to the opening lyrics and themes, vocals expressing through multiple tracks, keys and guitars flying steady and free beneath, the song wends its way to a long, gorgeous dnouement and fade with seagull noises and children's laughter. (5/5)

12. "One Among The Living" (6:27) great sound from the start, very GENESIS-like, with Banksian keys and Hackett-esque guitar and Collins-like drum patterning. Even when it goes heavy at 2:30, the ensuing section is awesome and still very much in the Genesis-vein. Not my favorite vocal or lyric, definitely an amazing composition and sound. Best song on the album. (9.5/10)

13. "The Falling Man" (7:39) based on an ominous repeating 10-chord sequence of chunky bass and guitar power chords, Benot sings in his best DEF LEPPARD voice while all instrumentalists do their best to promote and maintain that heavy substrate. A couple surprise twists are short-lived and only temporary tangents, the music always returning to that 10-chord base. Well done, great whole-band discipline. (13/15)

14. "Sailing On A Wing" (4:55) classic Neo Prog song, great vocal melody hook and awesome lead guitar work. (9/10)

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music and the album that skyrockets Mystery into the top echelon of Neo Prog.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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