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The Dawn Of A New Millenium
Image © 2001 Unicorn Records 

(13 April 2001) The latest album by the Canadian progressive rock band Mystery, At The Dawn Of A New Millennium (Unicorn Records (Canada) UNCR 2040, 2000) is actually a compilation of 'best of' tracks from the band's earlier albums spanning the period from 1992 through 1999. Produced by Michel St-Père, the album lacks female vocals but blends orchestral textures of Rush and Yes incorporating Jon Anderson-like heavenly vocals by male singer Gary Savoie and is therefore not out of place at Musical Discoveries. The album struck us from first play and rated a must listen not long after being placed in heavy rotation at our headquarters. The band's albums Theatre Of The Mind (UNCR 2020) and Destiny (UNCR 2030) are now in hand; our reviews will be integrated with a band interview in a forthcoming feature.

Mystery's lineup on the album includes one of the best progressive rock singers, Gary Savoie (vocals), Michel St-Père (electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards), Patrick Bourque (fretted and fretless bass) and Stéphane Perreault (drums, synthesizers). This compilation is meant to conclude the chapter of the band's history with Gary Savoie. Mystery is reported to be hard at work on their next album with their new vocalist, Benoît David.

The title track from the band's latest album "Destiny?" opens the compilation and is followed by the the title track of their second album "Theatre Of The Mind" is a moderate-paced progressive rocker blending dynamic, almost metal-edged, guitars with orchestral keyboards and soaring vocal layers. Somewhat more delicate in its construction, "Before The Dawn" begins with ballad-like verses but develops into a more robust and dynamic piece. "In My Dreams," a mainly acoustic ballad, illustrates Savoie's vocal virtuousity; orchestral keyboards provide additional texture as the track comes to its climax.

Faster paced with woodwinds provididing orchestral textures underly the highly accessible Rush-like rocker "Black Roses." The flute parts are absolutely outstanding. "The Inner Journey-Part II" is a dramatic progressive ballads; Savoie's vocals are evocatively sung soaring above the lovelyorchestral arrangements. Driving guitars, lush keyboards dominate the arrangements of the highly accessible epic "Cinderella" with its lush layers of Savoie's vocals. "The Mourning Man" blends ballad like textures with more agressive progressive variations, soaring vocals and crisp percussion.

Two epic progressive tracks bring the album to a conclusion. "Submerged," from Destiny?, begins slowly with an acoustic arrangement but builds vocal intensity and adds further instrumentals--including flute--as the song develops. A highly dynamic fourteen+ minute track entitled "Shadow of the Lake," also taken from Destiny? wraps up the compilation. A high degree of variation between the different movements; symphonic keyboard textures and agressive metal-edged guitar parts contribute to a tremendous arrangement.

Mystery immediately caught our attention and piqued our interest in exploring their earlier albums in total. Enthusiasts of Yes and/or Rush will most likely find the band's music interesting and worthy of further exploration. Dramatic song construction, excellent musicianship and arrangements and well sung vocals characterise their sound. Certainly worth a journey, and available from progressive rock dealers this compilation--At the Dawn of a New Millennium--is a very nice listen!

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