Canadian progressive rock band Mystery returns in 2010 with a new album, One Among The Living. It’s been about three years since their last excellent album, Beneath The Veil Of Winter's Face, which was the first to feature lead vocals by Benoit David. During the three years the band has re-issued their third album called Destiny?, which was originally released in 1998. Also Benoit David became the replacement touring (so far) singer for the band Yes. [Editor Note: It would seem like Benoit David is the full-time lead singer as of 2011]
One Among The Living is a 9 track album with reoccurring themes within each track yet each track could stand on it’s own. I have listened to this album many many times and find each time to be a better experience. I often found myself humming some tracks when I am doing my everyday civilities beyond the computer.
I feel this album needs to be heard in full before setting up any highlights but the opening track “Among The Living” a minute plus synth and vocal ballad that segues into “Wolf” which contains some of the best vocal work of Benoit starting around the minute mark. I feel that this song should be the lead single off the album due to the catchy memorable vibe I get each time I hear it.
“Between Love And Hate” starts off with some acoustic guitar backing the vocals. By the time it gets to the chorus, you’ll hear another reason to get into this band, especially with this album. I feel this could be another single, since it hook me in. Mostly due to it’s melodic guitar and lush keyboards sounds. It’s a very accessible song that will attract non-prog fans.
“Till The Truth Comes Out“ s a very epic symphonic sounding track that clocks in under the 10 minute mark. I swear it feels shorter, which is a compliment to the band‘s composing skills.
“Kameleon Man” has a melody in the chorus part that reminds me of Dio’s “Rainbow In The Dark”. This also one of the rockier sounding songs on the album. The keyboard lead reminds me of some of Erik Norlander’s work on his wife’s, Lana Lane, albums. Michel’s guitar solos are perfectly tasteful. He just play based on the mood. He’s one of prog’s unsung guitar heroes and truly deserves to be spoken about with Steve Rothery, David Gilmour, and others.
Now the piece that is the main part of the album is the very epic 22 minute track called “Through Different Eyes”. This track shows the band in expanded form yet the song never sounds like it’s being forced. It stays in acoustic mode until around the 8 minute mark where the full band kicks in then it falls back to the acoustic setting. The re-occurring themes, of the previous tracks, start in around the 12 minute mark. It’s a very emotional song that gives chills down the spine much in the way Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood did (and still does). I would put this up as one of the best epics of the year and the previous decade.
The title track echoes previous lyrical and music themes with some slight variation. It starts off with moody keyboards and some melodic guitar bursts every so often. Then about half way through the band kicks in and flows perfectly almost to the end and segues into the next track “The Falling Man“ which has a dark sound, almost like 80’s Black Sabbath. It breaks for a short time then back to the dark sound.
Ending off this amazing album is “Sailing On A Wing”. This track is the most accessible song on the album and I noticed that it doesn’t revisit the re-occurring themes that flowed from the previous 8 tracks. Almost as if it was a stand alone track yet part of the whole album.
In closing, I feel this is Mystery’s best album to date and should attract listeners very easily. One plus for the band is Benoit is currently touring with the band Yes, so that will bring curious people over. One Among The Living is one of my favorite releases of 2010 and I highly recommend fans of the more melodic side of progressive rock to get this ASAP!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on August 8th, 2010