Mystery - Second Home,
Some 19 years ago I had my first ever email conversation with someone outside the company I was working for, and that someone was Michel St-Père, guitarist and leader of Canadian band Mystery and the label Unicorn Digital. They have had some interesting times since then, including engaging and then losing Benoît David (with Mystery from 1999 to 2013, as well as being in some band called Yes from 2008 to 2012). The person undertaking that role now is Jean Pageau, and if he has any nerves of following in those shoes, then he certainly isn’t showing it on this live album, which was recorded at Progdreams V Festival, Zoetermeer, Netherlands, April 3rd, 2016.
Mystery released this album in August, and they did release their other live album ‘Tales From The Netherlands’ only three years ago, but that was with Benoît, and in between they released the mighty ‘Delusion Rain’. Five of the songs are featured on the audio version of ‘Second Home’ (it is also available on Blu-ray/DVD), and he shows that he has just as much power in concert as he does in the studio. But, what makes this band so very special indeed is that they really are an incredibly strong group of musicians who function together as a very strong unit. Michel is a great guitarist, and he is often at the forefront of the arrangements, while in Sylvain Moineau he has a sparring partner who can provide power chords or additional widdly as the need requires. In Benoît Dupuis they have a keyboard player who instinctively knows not only what style but what sounds he needs to be using, while in bassist François Fournier they have someone who wants to follow the melody either directly or as a counterpoint: he certainly doesn’t want to just provide foundation but add to the symphonic sound. Then, to top it all, at the back there is Jean-Sébastien Goyette who obviously doesn’t know he is in a progressive band, or at the very least thinks he is in a prog metal outfit. He is a driving force of nature, hitting the skins as if they have offended him, and ensuring that the complete kit is getting the workout it deserves.
This is a monstrous live album, one that all progheads should have in their collection. It is a great introduction to the band if you’ve never come across them before, and while many of us were sad to see Benoît David leave, the future for Mystery looks very bright indeed.