Mystery At the Dawn of a New Millennium (Unicorn Records, 2000) Mystery, an art rock quartet from Quebec founded by guitarist Michel St-Père in the late 80s, recorded three CDs for St-Père's Unicorn Records since 1992, "Mystery" (1992), "Theatre of the Mind" (1996), and "Destiny" (1998), the latter licensed to the French art rock label Musea for distribution in Europe. During delays while working on new material with a new lead vocalist in 2000, Mystery released At the Dawn of a New Millennium, a compilation of songs from their three previous CDs. Mystery's sound combines 80s Yes style lead vocals with acoustic guitar textures and crunchy, Fates Warning style guitars. The music recalls ballad-driven arena rock like Journey, within a more prog metal style instrumentation that features arpeggiated acoustic guitars, dual electric guitar leads, and synth textures. "Theatre of the Mind" alternates grandiose held chords under the vocal lines with a bland light prog metal riff, while the outro riff in "Before the Dawn" climbs in a predictable, scalar ascent. The dated guitar leads in "Black Roses" and "Shadow of the Lake" showcase scalar passages, soaring dual harmonies, and whammy bar dives. The classical guitar and flute in the intro of "Black Roses" add a typical prog metal contrast. The effective orchestration and arrangements lag underneath the plain and unimaginative songwriting. Occasional double time hard rock riffs break up the lugubrious ballad sections that dominate all of the songs on Dawn, with the music and lyrics primarily written Michel St-Père. The vapid and often melodramatic lyrics deal with hackneyed themes such as lost love: "In my dreams / we dance the night away" ("In my dreams"), and the musical journey of a Mystery concert: "Soon we'll take you where / no one has gone before" ("Theatre of the Mind"). At the Dawn of a New Millennium sounds crisp, without the glaring sonic differences usually found on compilations that instantly mark the tracks culled from different original records. The electric guitars ring clear in the mix, placed among the synths and vocals, and the acoustic and classical guitars ring clearly among flute and other textures. Mystery's pedantic style of ballad drenched arena rock may appeal to fans of lighter, guitar based prog. Reviewed by Scott Andrews [firstname.lastname@example.org] More Info:
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