Night Mistress – The Back Of Beyond
Reviewed by Christopher Foley
I figure since I’m behind the director’s chair for the write-up of The Back Of Beyond’s sequel, I’d be a top guy and dish up a cheeky review; highlighting this promising Polish act’s debut.
You may well recall last year’s cracking Exlibris album, helmed by Chris Sokolowski – who is really Poland’s answer to the metal greats. Well, this is the other band his mighty pipes grace. Night Mistress plays a traditional – if modern – variant of heavy metal, with plenty of power metal influence to keep our foots tapping into overdrive. The band peddles a sound forged in the fires that Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Dio set the world over, tempered with some German speed/power reminiscent of luminaries Helloween and Grave Digger; complete with an identifiably personal spin I’ve attested to charm, ultimately helping set Night Mistress apart.
Undeniably a charismatic debut affair, Night Mistress’ energy, and particularly Chris’ affecting vocals, ensure material is at least a cut above token, generic heavy metal acts. Never more evident is this than in the fiery opening cut “City Of Stone”: which is adorned with triumphant guitar riffs and catapulted into the stratosphere by Chris’ killer vocal lines. Seriously, those harmonized lines prior to the pre-chorus are absolutely first rate. One of those songs I’d qualify worthy of picking up the album for, although it’s very fortunate that Night Mistress can maintain the quality across the album – if not completely soaring to those heights again.
Throughout the work, the band levels classy musical passages, striking the line between propulsive Priest and melodic Maiden, complete with thumping modern grooves and quick power metal-style bursts. Of course, Chris steals the show without a doubt, delivering a tour-de-force performance. “Back For More” provides a suitable platform to display his range; a classic Dio-meets-Tad Morose styled dynamic, mid-paced affair which stands as another of the highlights. “40” treads similar ground with its pulsating, middle-eastern guitar assault and dramatic vocal approach.
The Back Of Beyond flows well as an album, and the absence of filler or dud tracks further reinforces its appeal. Even the ballad “Leaves Of September” holds attention thanks to its gorgeous guitar solo and again, wonderful vocals. The very digestible run-length, clocking just over forty minutes, benefits the album too, as I feel Night Mistress manages to say everything it needs to. I guess if I were to be real nitpicky, it would have been nice to have another up-tempo tune in the final third of the album, although it’s hardly detrimental.
With a brand-spanking-new album on the horizon, I’d say now is the time to get acquainted. I can assure listeners that The Back Of Beyond is worth it; plenty of charm, energy, and a top-notch singer really seal the deal. Night Mistress might not bring anything necessarily new to the table, but it plays with the kind of raw talent and energy which any melodic metal fan should be able to rally to. This one gets the Foley seal of approval.
3.75 // 5