When I was given Encrypted by NIGHTMARE to review, I was intrigued to hear what they had to offer in their latest release. With this being the band’s twelfth full-length album from a varied past that stretches right back to the late 70s and early 8Os, NIGHTMARE have without doubt had to evolve and adapt over the years to meet the musical demands of the day. Hopefully picking up a trick or two along the way has helped NIGHTMARE to remain relevant and put them in good stead to produce another great album here with Encrypted.

Starting out initially as a punk band before becoming a traditional metal band, NIGHTMARE split up in 1988 before returning in 1999 with a brand-new sound as a power metal outfit. After previously only having male vocalists, NIGHTMARE finally made the wise switch to a female vocalist (and to great effect) in 2015 with Barbara Mogore being the latest to take up the mantle and lead the line since 2022.

History lessons are over, let’s dip into Encrypted and see what we can really decipher from NIGHTMARE‘s latest album. With years of experience to call upon and plenty of time to hone their skills I was expecting something special, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. There is plenty of modern power metal for you to enjoy with songs like title track Encrypted and The Blossom Of My Hate, where the chords are not only crisp and sweet but create a deeply rich sound that just hits the spot and keeps going. The vocals switch seamlessly between light and dark to create almost opposing forces of good vs evil.

Harder riffing tunes like Eternal Winter and Incandescent have a little bit more bite and make a great foil for Barbara Mogore’s excellent gruff rock vocals and occasional foray into brutality. The heavier bass adds to the authenticity and provides the necessary teeth! The guitars just sing out in pure metal joy during notable tracks Nexus Inferus and Saviours Of The Damned where there is much more of a traditional and retro vibe about it all, the latter fully encouraging you to join in and singalong with the super catchy chorus.

If you like something a little darker with a gothic theme, thenVoices From The Other Side and Wake The Night will greatly appeal to you with tolling bells ringing in the changes and providing the perfect backdrop to match the mood. Throw in some choral vocals and a neat guitar solo or two and you will be grinning from ear to ear. Fittingly many different lines are tracked and traced in White Lines and Borderlines where there is plenty of cross genre appeal on show, both fully demonstrating that NIGHTMARE are still very capable of producing a top-quality album and long may it continue.

In essence, Encrypted is a very accomplished album by a well-established band and by not trying to reinvent the wheel NIGHTMARE have stuck to what they do best, making it a sure-fire thing to do well for them. I thoroughly enjoyed every track, each of which also stands up well to individual scrutiny, and hence I have no hesitation in highly recommending it to everyone as well worthy of checking out.

Mark Waight