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Mystery — Redemption
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5135, 2023, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-07-14

Redemption Cover art

Mystery has been a going concern since the late 80s, and Redemption is their ninth studio album. Although their sound has grown in strength across all those years, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing personnel-wise — but as they say what doesn’t kill you ends up making you stronger, and since the arrival of new lead singer Jean Pageau (who doubles on flute and keyboards) just prior to the Delusion Rain album in 2015 the band has had a stable lineup, along with guitarist / keyboardist and founding member Michel St-Père, drummer Jean-Sébastien Goyette, bassist François Fournier, keyboardist / guitarist Antoine Michaud, and guitarist Sylvain Moineau. Six of the album’s eight tracks, including the epic sidelong closer “Is This How the Story Ends?” were composed by St-Père, with the remaining two split between Michaud and Pageau. While the album seems to have a conceptual theme, it’s not always clear where the storyline is going; there are a lot of lyrics (all in English) and one could probably spend weeks analyzing them, but taken at face value they seem to deliver a message consistent with the music’s heavy symphonic prog-rock style and powerful bombastic production, seeming to straddle the line between neo progressives like recent vintage iQ and a classic symphonic rock sound like Novella era Renaissance, with Pageau delivering the message with power and finesse. There’s quite a bit of variety on tap between the poles of their style, and for those who are already acquainted with Mystery’s last few albums, what’s here will certainly not disappoint. The opener, “Behind the Mirror,” and the title track both set the stage well for all that follows. Longer cuts like “Pearls and Fire,” “The Beauty and the Least,” and the aforementioned closer offer the listener a chance to get lost within their compositions, while a piece like “My Inspiration” is at once catchy and, perhaps radio friendly, although at over eight minutes it probably has too many changes and sections for airplay. Still, at any rate, Redemption represents Mystery at their finest. And look at that beautiful cover art, won’t ya?

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Mystery

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