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Mystery (Canada) - 2000 - "At the Dawn of a New Millenium"
(Compil. CD: 70 min, "Unicorn")


*****
Destiny? 5:00 (St-Pere - 1998, "Destiny?")
Theatre of the Mind 6:04 (St-Pere - 1996, "Theatre of the Mind")
Before the Dawn 6:28 (St-Pere, Savoie - 1998, "Destiny?")
In  My Dreams 5:27 (St-Pere - 1992, "Mystery")
Black Roses 8:05 (St-Pere - 1996, "Theatre of the Mind")
The Inner Journey /part II/ 4:33 (St-Pere - 1996, "Theatre of the Mind")
Cinderella 7:20 (St-Pere - 1992, "Mystery")
The Mourning Man 4:46 (St-Pere - 1998, "Destiny?")
Submerged 7:53 (Dre, St-Pere - 1998, "Destiny?")
Shadow of the Lake 14:55 (Dre, St-Pere - 1998, "Destiny?")

All arrangements by Mystery. (All albums) Produced by M.St-Pere. All albums were engineered and mixed mainly by M.St-Pere and recorded at 'Illusion I & II' Studios in Lorraine, Quebec, Canada.

Prologue. Guitarist and keyboardist Michel St-Pere is also founder and owner of one of just a few truly Prog Canadian labels "Unicorn Records" and, btw, Unicorn has some really friendly relations with Musea. Though the fourth original studio album by this one of the leading contemporary Canadian bands will probably be released already just before Christmas 2000, its leader and author of the overwhelming majority of the musical material Michel St-Pere has lately decided to release a CD compiled of tracks from all their three previous albums so that prog-people could get a more or less clear idea what each of these albums is about and the Mystery creation as a whole.

The album. Honestly, I didn't notice any considerable differences between all the three 'phases' of Mystery creation either at the first 'sight' or after a few listenings to this compilation. So it would be pretty senseless to view the compositions from the three albums separately since the 'common denominator' actually remains the same, in other words it will be equal (or almost) at the conclusion with regard to each of these parts. So, first of all, I think it's obvious the Mystery creation is at least stylistically stable through all the years of the band's activity. I have nothing against some really effective changes in the stylistic / structural way of composing, but I would always prefer a stable creative way, or creative development if you like, that mark all the years of their activity, which is true for such Art (Symphonic) Rock bands as Cast, for instance (since 1985, the year of recording of their truly debut album "Sounds of Imagination"), as well as for the heroes of these lines, rather than something like killing, a thorough metamorphose, that happened to Genesis to begin with "Duke" album and is still 'in development' - already for 20 years. Well, another good factor I've found in the music of Mystery is their on the whole original way of composing. As for me, I consider a band already good if their music is free of distinct influences, or distinct stylistic and other borrowings, that is, when I can't say some band sounds like, for example, King Crimson or Marillion. So, now we know that Mystery is a band with its own quite original way of composing, and also, it seems most likely all their albums are at least of good quality. Mystery's music lives totally within the confines of Art (Symphonic) Rock and could be compared (stylistically only!) to a lot of bands of this genre. The level of complexity is not very high on the whole, but all arrangements in the instrumental parts are rich and tasteful and because of their moderate complexity, I'd rather call Mystery a band of Classic Art Rock than Neo.

Summary. That said, Mystery is musically a very well balanced band that in reality can be enjoyed by two different Prog audiences. The epic sounding of the majority of their songs, excellent musicianship and original, often dramatic themes and arrangements (including the vocal ones) are able to make happy Neo fans and profound Prog-lovers alike, though of course those latter may find more specific 'serious' nuances in the music of Mystery.

VM. November 1, 2000


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