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(327:12; Unicorn Digital)
TRACK LIST: CD 1 1. Looking for Something Else 16:09 2. The Scarlet Eye 5:40 3. Come to Me 5:09 4. The Willow Tree 17:48 5. How Do You Feel? 4:48 6. Shadow of the Lake 13:53 CD 2 7. Delusion Rain 10:24 8. Dare to Dream 6:33 9. Where Dreams Come Alive 7:32 10. The Sailor and the Mermaid 4:56 11. Wall Street King 6:17 12. Pride 7:58 13. Something to Believe In 7:47 CD 3 14. Travel to the Night 10:15 15. A Song for You 14:40 16. Chrysalis 16:38 17. The Preacher's Fall 8:12 Blu-Ray 1. Looking for Something Else 2. The Scarlet Eye 3. Come to Me 4. The Willow Tree 5. How Do You Feel? 6. Shadow of the Lake 7. Delusion Rain 8. Dare to Dream 9. Where Dreams Come Alive 10. The Sailor and the Mermaid 11. Wall Street King 12. Pride 13. Something to Believe In 14. Travel to the Night 15. A Song for You 16. Chrysalis 17. The Preacher's Fall Bonus Video 1. Time-Lapse - Something to Believe In 2. A View from the Balcony - Travel to the Night LINE UP : Jean Pageau - vocals, keyboards, flute Michel St-Pere - guitars, keyboards Sylvain Moineau - guitars, keyboards Antoine Michaud - keyboards Francois Fournier - bass, Taurus pedals, keyboards Jean-Sebastien Goyette - drums
Prolusion. Canadian band Mystery have been around in one form or another sinde the middle of the 1980's, although they didn't become a recording band for a decade or thereabouts after the formation. They have seven studio albums to their name so far, as well as three live albums and two live DVDs. "Caught in the Whirlwind of Time" is the most recent of the live DVDs, and was released in 2020 through Canadian label Unicorn Digital.
Analysis. Mystery is a veteran and very well established band within the progressive rock scene, and while perhaps not a band on the top of the list in terms of quantity they have always released material regarded to be of a very high quality. Their chosen branch within the progressive rock universe is neo-progressive rock, and that is a field they have developed quite the expertise in when it comes to the creation of intriguing and appealing songs. This triple CD and DVD production showcase their abilities as a live band, and they are as good live as they are in the studio. No live performance will ever be flawless, but a good band will take any flaws in their stride and make it an organic part of the total experience to the point that they are hardly if ever noticed, and that is the case for the long show captured here. If there are any flaws present I cannot hear them myself, but with musicians often having a perfectionist attitude I'm certain the band members could point out a few deviations from what was planned here. As long as the end result sounds as excellent as it does here this isn't important at all of course, the important bit is that the entire show sounds excellent and vibrant throughout. Mystery's material does tend to follow a specific approach, in that most songs will alternate between gentler and harder edged sections. Since we are dealing with progressive rock here there will typically be several instances of each of them, often with one or more repetitions of several of these, and while the pattern is a bit predictable it is how appealing each of these are which is the important bit here, as well as the minor variations that is applied to each of them. Mystery are masters of both, with a galore of appealing and intriguing arrangements and with a great deal of subtle variations applied so that the different songs do not repeat themselves nor do they sound one-dimensional or limited in scope. At the most aggressive some very occasional details are pulled in from metal here, mainly in the drums department though, while the most tender the songs have passages pretty close to ambient music. Careful passages with plucked and wandering guitars backed by delicate keyboards are present but also rich and flowing arrangements with a majestic keyboard presence or a floating, atmospheric laden guitar solo on top. Classic guitar riff and keyboard driven arrangements are present as well as the occasional even more classic organ and guitar combination, and some tighter as well as harder more strict guitar and guitar riff driven parts as well. Mainly and mostly explored safely within a neo-progressive context, but with dips into hard rock and very occasionally AOR territories. As far as reference points go, besides 80's and 90's neo-progressive bands from the UK, rare nods in the directions of Rush are present, and also on rare occasions nods in the direction of a band such as Eloy. Those with a deeper knowledge of progressive rock than what I have can probably point out a multitude of other possible references. Otherwise I note that the vocals are top notch throughout, which is a feat in a concert almost 3 hours long, and that we are served with liberal amount of elegant as well as more fiery guitar solo runs. The video side of this production is a tasteful experience, with high quality images and a well captured sound. Several cameras are in use, and the editing is elegant with enough movement to keep the viewer's experience interesting with a fine mix of close-up shots and full stage shots as well as occasional audience footage. Effects are carefully used, and not used until the concert is well under way. The effects are mainly restricted to split screen shots, and shy away from higher visual impact effects. Which is a good choice in my opinion. I also note that the band seems to be having a very good time on stage, which is always positive, and in front man Jean Pageau they have a vocalist well aware that his role is to entertain as well as to sing.
Conclusion. With "Caught in the Whirlwind of Time", Mystery have made quite the impressive live album and Blu-Ray video. Excellent sound quality, high quality video footage and excellent sound presents the band in a high quality and appealing manner, to the likely joy of existing fans as well as newcomers to the band: This is one of those rare occurrences where I'd recommend those curious about the band to get this live production for inspection rather than to go for one of the studio albums. An additional positive here is the sheer quantity of material, clocking in at a total play length of more than five hours. Now that is value for money. An easy to recommend production for existing fans of the band as well as to those with a general interest and fascination for neo-progressive rock.
Progmessor: April 2022
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