Mass - 'New Birth'

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Mass - 'New Birth'

Anniversary edition of the original 1985 release.

This is an anniversary edition of the original 1985 release of 'New Birth' and to anyone who picked up a copy of the recently released ''Fighter' some of these songs will be familiar. For example, 'Too Far Gone' and 'Voyager (Look For The Edge)' were both on that release, though here on 'New Birth' they sit more comfortably with the accompanying songs all written at the time.

'Too Far Gone' has all the youthful excitement of a band ready to take on the world, and though some may make mention of the heavy reverb in the production it gives the song a fresh powerful sound. The wonderful 'Crying Alone' could almost be classic Angel except this band have there own identity and Lois St August's vocals cut through the air with complete clarity and purpose . This song has it all, powerhouse vocals, wonderful melodies and some killer guitar work from Gene D'ltria that just hits you square in the face. The winning formula of 'Time' will keep this song on anyone's play list who fell in love with bands like Starz, Legs Diamond or again Angel; yes people it really is that good!

Much has been mentioned about the band's most commercial released single 'Do You Love Me'; yes it was aimed at radio play but it's a classic slice of 'Sinful' era Angel, all pomp and rock n roll and quite wonderfully delicious.

Title track 'New Birth' is a little more back on track and you can here the Stryper comparisons though Mass are a far superior band in my opinion. The lyrics in this song ring true and the band use their faith subtlety to get a message across of a better world in the waiting. What struck me in the band's delivery is each instrument has its moment of taking centre stage, Kevin Varrio and Joey ''Vee'' Vadala lock together on 'Left Behind' in a furious rhythm section, while the explosive style of guitarist Gene D'ltria is quite splendid in all the departments of this song. Far too many releases these days have a wall of sound production that lacks this distinction. Louis St August shines on the classic 'Voyager (Look For The Edge)' and he takes his vocals into another stratosphere, his voice cutting through the barrage of guitar riffs but never losing sight of the melody or the strength of the song. Another stab at a ballad with 'Day Without You'' is well- crafted before we close with the swagger of 'Watch Her Walk' and one really is left wondering how this release never made the mark it should have done in the rock world.

Maybe now with this anniversary issue it is the time for it to receive its just rewards in the melodic rock community.

Ray Paul

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