Mystery – 2013

The lads from power-rock and metal band Mystery are a phenomenon. Forming in 2010, when lead singer and lead guitarist Rocky Ravic met drummer Tony Mlikota at the ages of 13 and 12 respectively, while jamming they soon got together with school friend and rhythm guitarist Kris Iaccino, also 12 at the time. The lineup was completed when 12-year-old bass player Josh Scarpaci joined them at the end of 2010, and they debuted at CroktoberFest in Melbourne. Fast forward four years, and they have a story which is a credit to their hard work, commitment to their genre, and well-honed talent. They are simply very, very good at what they do; they believe in it, and in themselves, and have the backing of some big names in the business to prove it.


When these guys joined our ever-growing global family in February 2014, I was blown away by the first couple of tracks which Rocky sent me for their profile. Without any previous information on the band and their roots, my head was right back in the era of early Poison, Warrant, Faster Pussycat, and harder material like AC/DC and Dio. It’s unfair to present them in lockstep with the sounds of all of these other bands, because they have their own sound, but I wanted to give some idea of the caliber of the rock and metal which they are turning out, and I’ll continue to compare throughout this review. It’s a genre which has been all-too-often glossed over in the last 15 years as rock music tended toward more extreme versions (industrial, death metal, and pop-punk), great in themselves, but losing some of the character of true “hair metal”. In the album “2013”, these four, still yet to turn 18, have produced a solid arena-rock classic, which establishes their strong position as the torch bearers for the genre for a generation to come.

Starting the album with minute long instrumental which is all harmony lead guitar, they set the scene for what you’re about to hear. If you had any uncertainty from the album cover of what was coming – shame on you 🙂 – now you can be in no doubt; it’s a rock and metal fest the likes of which you won’t have heard in some time. “2013: A New Dawn” is a lovely short lead into their anthemic album starter, “Raise Your Fist”.

Introing with a cowbell reminiscent of “Appetite for Destruction” in 1987, the immediate pick up of the guitar is such a driver of their sound; some great open chords, and a punchy driving metal distortion which is a perfect backdrop for Rocky’s gravelly vocal. It’s riffy, reminiscent both of AC/DC in the chordiness – Malcolm Young would have been proud – but also Poison and Van Halen, in their ability to craft a guitar line which is memorable and melodic.  The chorus is a chant, grouped voices, they shout it like they mean it, for sure.

“Raise your fist, we’re not gonna take it;
No one can stop us from what we’re born to do”

The guitar solo is short but full of technique, which is recognized in support of Rocky’s licks by the likes of Henrik Bergqvist of superb Swedish metal band, The Poodles; it’s a precursor of what’s to come on the rest of this album.

Motoring through “Freedom”, as songs go it’s a nice come-down from “Raise Your Fist” and switches the mood; the feature of this one is once again the guitar solo; studied, well-written, clear, academic, and totally rocking. It’s good to see the return of some real quality lead guitar work supporting this set of songs. Next up, “Nonstop to Nowhere” begins it’s journey as a ballad, a little reminiscent of Tigertailz in their heyday. It doesn’t take long to drag the song into a heavier state, in doinn so it’s interesting to hear how much they’ve speeded up the chorus tempo. Doubling the pace at the end of the song allows them to rock out with dual guitar harmony, and even to fade the song out on a solo. Their study of great metal technique is never ending, truly.


Next up, “Test of Time” is the track which I cranked up to eleven when I first heard it, windows down in the car (despite it being midwinter, it was a vaguely sunny day); it’s a highway song, it’s strong, well written again to Rocky’s vocal, plenty of scraping the pick down the guitar strings and pinched harmonics a-plenty.

In reviewing metal bands, it’s easy to focus on the vocalist and the guitars; it’s an axe driven sound, so it’s quite normal to revel in the spiraling solos and riffs and soaring voices; however Tony Mlikota, the drummer, deserves a call out on this track.  When you put a really quality drummer together with a big investment in a kit which allows them to really push their limits, you get this type of sound.  Powerful, driving, very noticeable, and testament to the fact that every member of this four piece puts in their absolute all.  After you’ve heard this, have a listen back to the rest of the album, and watch out for the drums; they keep the pace, true, but they’re class, and there is a some very clever musicianship in them.

“Rock n’ Roll Forever Be” follows “On Fire”, and it’s everything that this band is about.  Starting the song with pure AC/DC-like strong riffing, it’s almost a spit at “Spinal Tap”, both the band and the timeless movie; it’s everything that Rob Reiner intended to poke fun at all those years ago, and yet is an epic listen, and popular with absolutely masses of people. More of this, please.

We’re getting late in the album now, and the risk would be that these songs would be getting “samey”. However I’m not finding it with “2013”. “Lost in Time” is once again different; this one has a driving beat to it, metal guitar, it’s delivered with force, and I’m hearing Rocky’s unique vocal style coming out more, as they set out their stall. Noteworthy in this song are the three or four places where you hear a neo-classical guitar sound supporting the song, as well as the enormous kick into a double-bass drumming frenzy at 3 minutes and 27 seconds. It’s enough to send an arena crowd in Tokyo over the edge, that’s for sure.

“Stand Up and Shout” is a super throwback; now I’m definitely hearing Faster Pussycat, or perhaps “London” (if anyone remembers them from the old LA days of sleazy glam metal). The speed of the rhythm guitar and the accompanying solo doesn’t disappoint. Rocky’s screaming throughout the song is a nice new touch, and puts him into the Bruce Dickinson league of vocalists. Solid.

Mystery 4

They finish the album paying homage to their homeland, it’s an excellent cover of “Land Down Under” by Men at Work. Quite honestly, I’ve heard some innovative covers, but I’d NEVER have thought that this 80’s classic would get a makeover from a metal band. But somehow it’s so appropriate for this strong and ever-growing young four piece. I can surely see Men at Work smiling at this one, and I can only hope they’ve heard it. Mystery even manage to end the entire album with the word “Oy!” from the original, a beautiful and appropriate touch.

All in all, this is a solid piece of writing, performance, and a tribute to rock and metal, that I’ve been listening to it over and over. This has been a different work to review; I’m not particularly looking for meaning in the lyrics, and they didn’t grab me over the course of the album.  Then again, they didn’t have to. The music is quality, and they are proving it with some extremely hard work, including what you would call a mini-world tour for both of the last two years. These guys are dedicated to their craft, and crowds in Australia, Japan, Eastern Europe, and the US are loving it, and I’m not surprised. With the endorsement that they are getting from some big names in the business, watch out for their growth across the rock and metal festivals of the globe. As they say themselves on their website, and I can’t help but agree: “the future of rock and heavy metal is in good hands”.

David Mark Smith
Founder, Global Musicians Fish Pond
Singer/Songwriter, My Lucky Fish

You can purchase the album “2013” (highly recommended) here at iTunes.

You can find out more about Mystery at their website here, or on their Fish Pond profile page here.


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