STYLE: Hard Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 176381-28568 LABEL: No Life Til Metal FORMAT: Digital Only Album
Reviewed by Ian Webber
Nearly 40 years ago, and some time before Stryper's Michael Sweet took them under his wing, Boston-based rockers Mass recorded an album that was originally shelved. Several albums later, it finally saw the light of day in 2010 before NMTL Records released this remastered version that also treats us to some unheard demo tracks and a live recording. 'Fighter' sets down a distinctive time line, mixing the '80s melodic metal that this four-piece are famous for with a raw '70s rock edge. Guitar acrobatics litter the tracks as solos abound along with a deceptively mature vocal performance from Louis St August. With all the hallmarks of its 1982 vintage, the tracks feature a throaty bass that punches through the solid rock sound. "Part Of Me," with its layered harmonies and polished hair metal melody, sets the standard for what follows. Not all cuts follow the smooth power metal mould and a cruder vibe that reminds me of Black Sabbath and Bloodgood can be heard on tracks like "Too Far Gone" with its more plodding tempo. Throw in a couple of ballads and you have the makings of a classic of its time. Along with the original recording, there are also some raw demo tracks. These unadulterated recordings highlight the difference between the finished articles and their embryonic state and should satisfy anyone interested in the recording process. Limitations in the source material are clear, but a youthful energy is evident and provides an interesting insight into this band in their early years. As a nostalgic feast for lovers of hair metal this is a must-listen, but what is this album's strength could also be its greatest weakness. Production values and the music do make the recording sound dated, but not enough to worry this reviewer who found the entire package very satisfying.
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