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Now is the time to prove that you are elite. - 60%

Diamhea, July 13th, 2017

After the disastrous, pretentious concept piece that was Phantom Shadow, Machinae Supremacy really had to get back to the drawing board and remember what made them stand out originally. Relatively compact songs laced in pulsing, memorable SID hooks and Robert Stjärnström's distinctive nasal drawl. Stjärnström is always a deeply bifurcating dividing line when it comes to opinions on this band. When he is on point it actually fits the emotionally warbly tone of the music quite well, but he often falls prey to overemoting some of his lines, sounding like he is singing while holding his nose. Into the Night World, thankfully, is a semi-rebound from the last disaster, but it sadly isn't on par with A View from the End of the World or Overworld.

Worth addressing immediately: amid a cluster of decent-to-forgettable Machinae numbers that oftentimes feel mildly watered down and too safe, we have the splendid "Twe27ySeven," which is the best cut the band has penned in many years. Containing one of the band's best synth lines and surprisingly memorable vocals/lyrics, it feels like one part "All of My Angels" and another part "Dark City." Production is reasonably glossy - certainly a requirement for the band's approach - but the infamous SID chip is sadly not as prominent as it was on A View from the End of the World or thereabouts. Songs like "Space Boat" take a more straightforward melodic metal approach, with the lead guitars leading the show amid some cringy lyrics and downstated electronics. It's an experiment that the band will invariably lose whenever they attempt it, so hopefully they get that memo.

Even more insulting is the half-assed "SID Metal Legacy," which while being a definite highlight, is far too short to make much of an impact. It proves that the band excels when the electronics are accentuated, even in the absence of lyrics. The SID-centric song on Phantom Shadow was better, although being that record's one high point, it isn't surprising. Since Into the Night World seriously wanes on its second half, this short pick-me-up leaves a bittersweet taste in one's mouth afterward. Also later in the procession, "Dream Sequence" tries salvaging some momentum with some affectations worth a damn, but feels like it loses it balance on the refrain.

Into the Night World is a step up, but still falls short of what Machinae Supremacy are capable of. Tracks like "Beast Engine" have some decent melodies and SID use, and the aforementioned "Twe27ySeven" is almost worth tracking the album down on its own. Other cuts like "My Dragons Will Decimate" are passable but make little lasting impact. These guys also seem unsure of what to do with the guitars. The addition of journeyman guitarist Luoma should result in more crunchy/heavy sections than this, so we aren't quite there yet. Still, far more listenable than Phantom Shadow.