‘Redemption’ is the ninth studio album from Mystery. Produced and mixed by the band’s own Michel St-Père, Mastering by Richard Addison, this album features a mix of classic prog-rock elements and modern production techniques, resulting in a Mysterious sound that’s both timeless and fresh, the MYSTERY sound. Mystery has been forging their way to the top of the Canadian music scene for over three decades, and their latest album is sure to cement their place as one of the most important bands in prog-rock today. With ‘Redemption’ Mystery has created a stunning masterpiece that’s not to be missed.
That’s a pretty impressive piece of PR and one that certainly grabs your attention. I’ve been a fan of Mystery for quite a while and, in my humble opinion, they have never released anything other than excellent albums but their best release for me has always been 2012’s ‘The World Is A Game’, an album many consider to be a classic of the prog rock genre, especially Mystery’s polished blend of symphonic progressive rock. This new album will certainly have to go some to be considered in the same bracket as that legendary beast!
Well, without spoiling things too much, I think Michel and the rest of the guys in Mystery have produced something rather special. It may be too early to talk of it in the same revered tones as ‘The World Is A Game’ but it certainly is on a similar trajectory…
There’s nothing else that sounds like a Mystery album, be it Jean Pageau’s elegant, soaring vocals or the exemplary musicianship of the Mysterons, you know it’s a Mystery album and when it’s as brilliant as this, it really doesn’t get much better. The hard rocking, yet melodic opener Behind The Mirror energises you immediately with its dynamic riffs and superlative rhythm section and Pageau’s sublime vocal just adds a layer of sophistication. The burning, soulful Redemption just takes the album to another level, the passion and intensity can be felt deep in your soul and then The Beauty and the Least adds musical drama to the mix, slow burning and powerful where Pageau’s dulcet tones combine perfectly with Michel St-Père’s gorgeous guitar note to deliver nine minutes of emotive highs and lows.
The pared back wonder of Every Note is simply gorgeous and could melt the coldest of hearts while Pearls and Fire brings epic songwriting to the fore. Twelve minutes of superb musicianship that combines progressive rock with an almost eighties feeling hard rock, like Bon Jovi decided to jam with Yes when both bands were hitting their comparative heights. It’s modern, fresh and inventive approach is really exciting and stands out in today’s world of derivative music. Mystery have always been able to give us beautiful ballads and you can now add My Inspiration to that list. A heavenly, haunting composition that allows Jean Pageau to serenade a captive audience, it will move you emotively and won’t leave a dry eye in the house.
Homecoming is another lighter song that is almost a palate cleanser for the album’s epic closing track but that’s dismissing it too lightly. It’s a calm, sophisticated song with Pageau allowing his vocal to sit back in the mix and contains some of St-Père’s best guitar work (although, let’s be fair, it’s all rather spectacular throughout!) and is a masterful display of musical ability. Talking of epic closing tracks, ‘Redemption’ contains what has to be one of the band’s best ever songs, and that’s saying something. The whole nineteen minutes of Is This How The Story Ends is a joy to behold, from the jaw dropping three minute plus instrumental opening right through to the stunning conclusion, this piece of music is progressive rock at its finest and stands head and shoulders above the majority of music that is released week after week. Jean Pageau delivers another stellar vocal performance, drummer Jean-Sébastien Goyette sounds like he’s having the time of his life and the bass of François Fournier is as funky as it comes. The keyboards drive everything along with a foot tapping groove and Michel’s guitar is on fire, almost literally! You don’t think things can get any better and then the final, five minute, closing section comes along and your jaw drops once again. It is a spectacular end to a remarkable record and I still find myself singing the chorus at the most inopportune moments now!
I honestly think that, with ‘Redemption’, Mystery have finally surpassed the brilliant ‘The World Is A Game’ and delivered not only their best ever album but also one of the best progressive rock albums you will hear in many a year. Is This How The Story Ends? When it’s as good as this then I sincerely hope not!
Released 15th May, 2023.
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