Mystery is a band that has been present in the music business since 1992, when they released their first and homonymous mini CD. They have released another two albums "Theatre of the Mind" (1996) and "Destiny?" (1998), both with good critic reviews all over the world (included Spain). The moment has come for them to reconsider their career with the arrival of year 2000, and therefore Mystery releases now a collection of their 10 better re-mastered songs, corresponding to all their career. The leadership of the guitar-keyboards player Michel St-Père is clear, and he is responsible for the composition of the pieces and the production of the albums. He has had the collaboration of numerous partners, the most long-lasting being the vocalist Gary Savoie.
It is true that the music of Mystery cannot be considered as "progressive" in a strict sense, but it has a special quality that can be of interest for a section of our readers. The statement of Mystery is prog-pomp-aor (in this order), a style that has sparked many excellent North American bands like Pavlov´s Dog, Styx, Trillion with a Survivor/Journey touch in the voices, and echoes of progressive bands as Rush or, to a lesser extent, the Yes of Rabin. Something quite far from the European progressive style but still with many interesting aspects.
St-Père is clearly able to compose exquisite melodies; it is only necessary to listen to "Destiny?" (5:00) or the extraordinary ballad "In my dreams" (5:27) to realize that Mystery is a band with a tremendous latent commercial potential that can give a lot to speak about in the future if they tread this path. On the other hand, if what they want is to open up a career inside the progressive style, we have good samples in "Black Roses" (8:05. A delicate beginning helped by flutes and acoustic guitars above a very suggestive backdrop of synthesizers, that precedes a piece in the style of Kansas with, again, very good vocal melodies that are quickly absorbed by our brains and with numerous flute interventions along the whole song. Also worthy of mention are "The Inner Journey (part II)" (4:33), very melancholic and descriptive; and the Rushy "The Mourning Man" (4:46) and "Submerged" (7:53).
"Shadow of the lake" deserves a special mention. This is a 15 minute long piece, and the last piece of their last album "Destiny?", very well composed and that combines moments of relaxation with instrumental explosions, rhythm changes, epic moments, etc., an American classic of the progressive without any doubt. Will the next album of Mystery follow the style of this song?.
I believe that this album has supposed a stop in the middle of the road for St-Père, to catch some air, to pick up strength and to get new companions for the rest of the itinerary (Savoie has abandoned the band). As a consequence, this compilation is an inflection point towards a future that could be really interesting. Specially if as I believe, Mystery intend to venture in the more progressive side that they already began with "Shadow of the lake", which continues with a version of "Hey You" for the tribute to Pink Floyd, and that will culminate with their next CD that will come out at the end of the year. This album will satiate the appetite of the progVisionaires that like the progressive-pomp American style, as in this genre, they undoubtedly a five stars rating. For the most traditional progheads this is only the appetizer of something that can be very interesting, as St-Père is a guy with a lot, a lot of talent.