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Into The Madness - 77%

Andromeda_Unchained, September 4th, 2014

Following an impressive, charming debut affair from Night Mistress is Into The Madness, the sophomore effort from one of Poland’s gleaming gems. I was surprised to see this one coming out, as I had next to no idea it was due – certainly a pleasant surprise – and here the band further builds upon its style, with stronger performances and more intricate song-writing than ever – albeit at the slight expense of the energetic charm which really sold the band’s debut.

A short intro recalling the chorus from The Back Of Beyond’s glorious opener, “City Of Stone”, sets the tone for the proceedings. Instantly you can hear leaps that the band has made in both the performance and production departments. What’s more – almost unbelievably – is that Chris Sokolowski has further upped his game as a singer. Man, this guy is super impressive, channeling the spirit of Bruce Dickinson throughout, as well as emphasizing a glorious high range which recalls Hibria’s Iuri Sanson at his ultimate, Defying The Rules finest.

The music contained within the album displays powerful, calculated heavy metal with deft structuring and piercing hooks. As I said earlier, a certain degree of energy which adorned the debut has been dialed back, but it was a necessary sacrifice, I’d say, ensuring that the songs are wholly locked in and calculated. Fortunately, whilst a lot of mid-pacing dominates the album, the band still knocks out the propulsive numbers and the dynamic throughout is absorbing. In this way, it’s certainly similar to the debut, although afforded more breathing space thanks to an increased run-time.

At its strongest, Into The Madness delivers bold, affecting hooks which ensure songs like the rollicking “Hand Of God”, with its powerful refrain, and highlight “Sacred Dance” hit the mark. Melodies twirl through the mind long after the final notes of “Recurring Night” have quelled. Elements of Bruce Dickinson’s solo efforts can be heard throughout the vocal lines, and it furthers the album’s atmosphere and class. The contrast between the vocal lines and the modern heavy/power metal values awards Night Mistress their niche, and it certainly feels like the band is coming well into its own.

Into The Madness is a strong sophomore effort, with little at fault. Night Mistress has the makings of a great band, but I just feel the members need to take things to the next level. For now, you could do far, far worse than this solid and endearing full-length album. Pick this up if passionate heavy metal with great vocals, tasteful song-writing, and well-integrated power metal nuances sounds good to you. It sounds good to me, and once again Night Mistress is getting my stamp of approval. Recommended!

Written for Black Wind Metal

Summoning Bruce Dickinson's Doppelganger - 87%

TheStormIRide, June 20th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Power Prog

Into the Madness is the sophomore full length album from Polish heavy metal act Night Mistress. The band was known as Nemesis between 2003 and 2006, before changing the name to Night Mistress. Three fifths of the band actually performed as backing musicians for Paul Di’Anno on his April 2014 tour through Poland. It’s actually surprising that the band would back Di’Anno, as the music on Into the Madness emulates another classic voice of Iron Maiden. Either way, Night Mistress brings forth an album full of catchy guitar work and stellar vocals that fans of traditional heavy metal should enjoy.

Indeed, from the first notes of “Until the Day Will Dawn” you’re treated to what could pass for lost tracks from The Chemical Wedding or Accident of Birth. That’s definitely not a bad thing, because I absolutely adore those albums, but this isn’t just a rip off. Into the Madness brings forth the same style of rollicking, hook-laden heavy metal as Bruce did with his best two solo albums. Rather than overly technical virtuosity or flowery keyboard driven power metal, Night Mistress takes the high road, opting for heavy metal of the highest caliber, reminding me at times of Black Sun era Primal Fear and other times of the driving, anthemic style of Evilized era Dream Evil. The instrumentation is centered on the catchy, yet forceful riffing of Arek Cieśla and Robert Kazanowski, as they belt out solid, hooky riff and solid, hooky riff.

Sure there are some technical solos and speedy riffing throughout, like the frenzied scales on “Walking on Air”, but the focus is on the forceful and demanding vocal delivery of Chris Sokolowski. Doing his best job to hit the highborn wails of Ralf Scheepers and mixing with it the catchy, hook-laden style of Niklas Isfeldt (Dream Evil), it’s an energetic performance. While his vocals aren’t anything you haven’t heard before, they are polished and exceptionally performed, giving me renewed faith that traditional heavy metal is still thriving.

While the band is solid at hooky riffing, when they drop into melodic rock, ballad territory, the music is not quite as convincing. “Grieving Stars” shows a simplistic melodic intro that builds into dull power chords, but the vocals do keep the band from sinking. Thankfully these melodic detours rarely occur,as the band’s forte is definitely forceful, catchy heavy metal riffing and soaring vocals. This is honestly a refreshing heavy metal album. Full of strong vocals, more hooks than you can imagine and an energetic performance on all fronts. If you’re a fan of Primal Fear, Bruce Dickinson’s solo work or Dream Evil, you’re in for a treat here.

Written for The Metal Observer.