Album review: MASS – When 2 Worlds Collide

Escape Music [Release date 25.05.18]

This is album number eight from Mass who have been making music since the mid-80′s. On this album the added keys/strings provided by Jeremy Heussi add another dimension to the band’s classy melodic hard rock sound.

Like many bands who have been around awhile, Mass touch on their past with ‘Some Time Ago’. A tale of young dreams and the sharks that lay await in the music business. It is has a great keys riff (shades of Whitesnake in it) that blends perfectly with the guitar and pounding rhythm section.

Shades of Whitesnake in the riff to ‘Only A Dream’, a big balls out rocker with a suitably OTT solo by guitarist Gene D’tria. ‘Just Can’t Deny’ is one for lovers of 70′s hard rock with its Hammond and guitar solos. Mass hail from Boston and this song is like Boston (the band) meets Deep Purple, superb stuff.

Stryper’s Michael Sweet adds a suitably fine guitar solo the big production ballad ‘Stand Alone’ – another song to benefit from added keys and orchestration. There is a piano led ballad on here as well in the shape of ‘Second Hand Rose’, which allows vocalist Louis St. August to have a break from the hard rocking singing elsewhere on the album.

Quite possibly the best album the band have done to date and that’s no mean feat as they have been consistently producing good music through the years. Melodic hard rock as it should be done and then some.  ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

Louis St August answers a few questions about the new album, the album launch show gig on June 23rd and how Stryper’s Michael Sweet came to guest on the album…

What has Mass got planned for the rest of 2018 and beyond?

As of now, we are doing a lot of press & radio interviews to help promote the new album and scheduling some live appearances to perform some of the new material.  Our plan is to hopefully reach as many people as possible and then will see where we are at. We loved to do as many shows as possible and perhaps even visit other countries. The will decide if it’s the right time to get back into the writing phase and do a follow up to when 2 worlds collide.

It has been 8 years since ‘Sea of Black’ album. What have the band been up to?

Besides taking care of our every growing families we simply kept busy by writing new material, releasing a few singles and a Christmas EP. A bunch of live shows in the New England area along with performances at M3 (Maryland) Rocklahoma (Oklahoma) Nebraska, Colorado and Florida. Then we started to buckle down and get serious about a new album which turned out to be When 2 Worlds collide.

Can you take us through the new album ‘When 2 Worlds Collide’ – ideas behind the songs, song writing process etc.

We started working on ideas about a year and a half ago, Gene our guitarist would usually come down with a riff and we would all build off that idea until we had a solid foundation.

I would then listen to the demos later that we made at rehearsal and would come up with melody lines and lyrics for all the songs. One of the songs I called When 2 Worlds Collide just seemed to be a perfect album title. Those lyrics were brought about by all the crazy stuff that has been going on in the world. It’s all going to come to an end one day and where will you stand? Heaven or Hell?  A lot of  my lyrics are usually autobiographical things that have happened to myself, the band or the friends that surround me.

How did you hook up with Stryper’s Michael Sweet for his guest appearance on ‘Stand Alone’?

Michael’s been a dear friend and fan of the band for a long time now. We first met when we did a few shows together in Boston in the mid 80’s. We were just coming off our RCA deal when he introduced us to his label owner Wes Hein. Wes loved the band and signed us immediately. Michael suggested to Wes that he should produce our next record our fourth album called “Voices in The Night” for the Enigma label.  We ended up living in Michaels house for 2 months while recording the record in California to save money on the record budget. That was certainly a lot of laughs and fun. Since then we have done many shows together and have always kept in contact. I simply just reached out to Michael one day and told him we had this song that I thought he would be perfect for and he said absolutely, came in and nailed it.

What sort of setlist can fans expect at the album launch gig on 23rd June?

This will be a very special and fun night for sure. We plan on doing at least 9 of the 11 songs off the new album and mixing them in with some classic and fan favorite Mass tunes as well.

Are there any plans to re-issue the earlier Mass albums, especially as your current label Escape Music are good at re-issue packages?

We have talked about that, but we did re-release them all in 2010 -2011 on the Retroactive label so it doesn’t make sense to do so again right now. Perhaps a greatest hits type of album in the future? But who knows.

Some bands have re-recorded albums to get ownership of songs back or to redo an album that the band that may not have been happy with.

I say it is what it is and leave well enough alone. Don’t think we need to re-record any of our albums I think they are all classics and we would never be able to capture that feel or emotion that was going on at that time in our lives that inspired us to record those songs. Sure, it may sound better because of today’s technology but you. may lose that magic feel.

Looking back would Mass maybe have an album or song(s) they’d like to re-record?

Definitely not a complete album but perhaps re- recording an older song or trying a different version of it whether It be to speed it up or slow it down may be interesting and something we might try.

Message for your fans…

Just a big THANK YOU for all the support over the years and for allowing us to do what we still love to do. It’s all because of YOU the fan that our songs will live on long after we are gone!

Peace & Love

Louis St August

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