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New Birth

Mass

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Album Review

New Birth by Boston-area band Mass on RCA was their long-awaited major label debut, but is actually their third set of recordings. In 1982, the group was called Axes and cut an album in Florida with producer Tom Alom, who had worked with Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. As their original management unraveled, so did their hopes and dreams, and three years elapsed before their John Matthias-produced EP, simply titled Mass, was released on their own Mass Records. Calling the album New Birth was no coincidence. Tony Platt engineered and produced ten songs with a seriously hard edge. The album tracks are very good, bordering on terrific '80s metal, but it was the ballad that got the attention. "Do You Love Me" was re-released on a 12" single, remixed and remastered by Tracy Chapman producer David Kershenbaum. The remixed single version clocked in at 3:23, and the flip side contained a longer 3:45 remixed album track. The video of "Do You Love Me" also got MTV airplay, and the song was a regional hit. The problem was fans may have felt the opening track, "Too Far Gone," or the closer, "Watch Her Walk," were more in line with what followers of the band's live show wanted to hear. And as their career progressed, the crunch got wonderfully crunchier, bearing this theory out. Another interesting aspect was the cover of the LP: a female phoenix seems to be rising from some kind of nuclear situation with a great color scheme. The 12" single has a black-and-white cover which might be a bit more descriptive: the state of Massachusetts with the band's name boldly imprinted on a map. The material, all written by these young journeymen who had been through the rock & roll school of hard knocks and back, is very catchy and pro sounding. "Crying Alone" has sizzling guitar from Gene D'Itria and nice rolling drums from Joey Vee Vadala, who is about as solid as you can get. It's just too bad "Crying Alone" or "Time" didn't get the radio/TV rotation. These songs were more in line with what the band was saying. The inclusion of CBS recording artist/keyboardist Jon Sinclair of Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath/Uriah Heep fame would've made for a cool docu-video had they gone that route. But hindsight is always 20/20, and a band beset with so many problems still able to crank out a "Back to Me" or "Left Behind" deserves credit. The title track, "New Birth"; minor hit "Do You Love Me"; and final track, "Watch Her Walk," were all re-released on the CD Best Ones, which does a fine job of chronicling Mass' journey. "Voyager (Look for the Edge)" is a solid anthem, and actually would have made a better single — biting Sabbath-style riffs and vocals, a progressive hook — who knows what would have happened had Kershenbaum's magic been sprinkled onto this tune instead? New Birth remains a good "first" effort foretelling the excellent music to come.

Customer Reviews

Solid hard rock...

Good disc all around but Itunes should try to get the re-release of Fighter. That is a great disc!

Boston classic

I have sen this band many times down at revere beach in the day. They are one of the areas best bands until they hooked up with michael sweet af stryper who turned their sound around. Check out pedal to the metal if you can find it.

"MASS"terpeice!

Simply a classic "MASS"terpeice!!! 5 Stars!!!

New Birth, Mass
View In iTunes
  • $9.90
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: Sep 09, 1985

Customer Ratings