Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Happy "Almost-End-Of-The-Year" fellow progheads!  Time is moving quickly...2014 is dropping her final curtain soon and the Concert Closet is traveling at warp speed searching for bands, artists, and music stretching the boundaries of the prog garden.  Spain was a captivating stop last week on the search for all things prog, and additional frequent flyer miles are being logged "in real time" as the journey now takes a 4500 mile dogleg northeast to Canada and the stirring sounds of Mystery.

Mystery refers to themselves as a "...cutting edge progressive rock band."  With just five words they managed to poke the curious side of my cerebral cortex, so best to jump right in with both ears. Moving with single-minded determination to the prog buffet, the first serving is a full course unto itself; a beautiful piece called "Another Day."  Settle in with your favorite sippin' whiskey before dropping the laser on this disc--you are about to take a nineteen minute ride through some dense growth.  Mystery starts out with strong vocals surrounded by stirring guitar and drum work...only to keep jerking you left and right as time changes, mood swings, and a tempo roller coaster have you checking your pulse one minute and dimming the lights the next.  Looks like we're in for a crazy seven day ride so hold on...

Serving number two, once my stomach settles back in place, is a tune called "The Sailor and the Mermaid."  An acoustic guitar opens and is immediately engulfed with smooth vocals.  The drums enter the song with creative subtleness while more guitars continue to dance along the edges.  I sense strong top notes of Marillion and Spiral Key with an aromatic whiff of Pandora...Mystery has come down several notches from my previous listen and still manage to deliver a strong piece of music.  It can be a pleasant surprise when someone remembers progressive rock does not always have to rattle your spine...

Liner Notes...Taking its first breath in 1986, Mystery was founded in Montreal, Quebec by Michel St.-Pere.  As is the "norm" for some unknown reason--perhaps the same logic that can explain why dryers eat only one sock of a perfectly good pair--Mystery's line-up evolved as did the the band's identity and style.  Mystery is currently comprised of founding member  Michel St.-Pere joined by Antoine Michaud on guitars, Francois Fournier on bass, Jean Pageau on vocals, Benoit Dupuis on keyboards, and Jean Sebastien-Goyette on drums.  Mystery has also seen its share of prog "A-Listers" waltz across their stage, including Oliver Wakeman, John Jowitt, and Benoit David.

Mystery has managed to stay relevant for so long because they have been able to evolve. The band has remained true to its prog roots in the symphonic art section of the prog garden--but one does not survive the winds of prog change without using said gusts to sail headlong out of the harbor into uncharted waters.  Mystery emits aromas of Yes, Alan Parsons Project, and understated hints of Marillion and Transatlantic...very good story telling encased in deep structures of sound.

For my final serving this week I chose a tune called "One Among the Living."  Mystery seems to enjoy leading the listener slowly, almost luring you into a feeling of tranquility...ultimately confounding the senses with a myriad of guitars, drums, and keyboards that alternately rattle and sooth.  Jean's rapid fire drumming lights up the inner lining of your cranium like a pinball machine, while Michel and Antoine level out the tilt with balanced guitar work.  Mystery seems to live by the credo "Go big or go home."

The cut I posted below is called "Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face."  A mild Gregorian Rock opening almost...I pick up a Glass hammer vibe as well.  Mystery lays this piece out methodically; each layer building on the previous until the final creation comes at you hard and fast.  The vocals are striking in both their caramel smoothness and between the eyes delivery.  learn more about Mystery at http://www.unicorndigital.com/mystery/ and follow them on Twitter at @Mysterygroup.

One more leap through the calendar, several laps around the globe, and a box of pushpins leaving a breadcrumb-like trail across a map are signs that 2014 has indeed been a busy 365 days. The Concert Closet has traveled across almost every time zone in search of all things prog.  Mystery was an interesting stop on this journey...a band with deep roots and a solid lineage.  The prog garden continues to nurture itself and expand in many directions.  One key element to the success of progressive music--and its allure to the listener--is the uniqueness every artist delivers.  The individual offerings served up by each band help shape the next piece of the prog puzzle.  My search continues, and I hope it's a while before I find a corner piece...until next week...


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