Mystery were a bit of a mystery to me until I checked out the band members…a Michel St-Père on guitars and keyboards – no still none the wiser…and a certain Benoit David on vocals – aha! He’s the one that took over from Jon Anderson in Yes when Jon became ill, toured with Yes, sang on the rather excellent “Fly From Here” and was then promptly kicked out when he himself became ill!!
Mystery was actually formed in Montreal, Canada way back in 1986 by Michel but it took until 1996 for their first album “Theatre of the Mind” to be released on Michel’s own Unicorn label. Benoit took over lead vocals for the 1998 follow up “Destiny?” but nothing more was heard until 2007 – Michel has been busy building up his Unicorn label whilst Benoit went back to singing in his Yes tribute band. “Beneath the Veil of Winter’s Face” was the 2007 release which was followed by “One Among the Living” in 2010 and now in 2012 we have “The World Is a Game”. As well as the two main men the album features Antoine Fafard (from Spaced Out) on bass and Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard) on drums.
I suppose it’s no surprise that Mystery’s sound brings classic Yes immediately to mind – but they have many more influences – Genesis, Spock’s Beard, Jethro Tull, Saga and Rush to name but a few. The soaring vocals of Benoit David are excellent throughout – no sign of his supposed vocal problems…
The album kicks off with the gentle acoustic intro piece “A Morning Rise” before we’re off into full prog mode with “Pride” one of the two epic numbers on the album – the other being the fantastic 19 minutes closer “Another Day” with its Yes/Rush hybrid sound…and its “tribute” to Jethro Tull’s classic “Locomotive Breath”. Title track “The World Is A Game” features a very Genesis opening before moving back into Yes territory. Michel is on top form throughout on both guitars and keyboards.
OK so there are a lot of obvious influences on the album but does that make it any less enjoyable…certainly not and Benoit’s vocals have always sounded like Jon Anderson – but there were a few hints of Geddy Lee here and there…
Who needs Yes…Benoit certainly doesn’t based on this…but he does need the multi-talented Michel St-Père. Highly enjoyable album.
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.
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Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)
Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)
GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)
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