MASS: Sea of Black

For those who enjoy the hard-hitting precision of Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers album or the late Ronny James Dio fronting Black Sabbath this exquisite new collection of a dozen tracks by the band I consider New England’s premiere metal outfit will surely satisfy the group’s followers as well as hard rock aficionados.

The title (and closing) track, “Sea Of Black“, is probably my fave of this top-notch collection …”can you feel the power…”…yes, you can as Gene D’Itria’s guitar riff chugs along underneath Joey Vee’s incessant beat and bassist Michael Palumbo’s moving bottom-end waves of sound.

Truly great stuff from a band that just keeps refining the sound they began crafting decades ago. If the first RCA album’s title “New Birth” in 1985 hinted at a resurrection of a quartet that had myriad hoops to jump over, this new era is also a sort of reinvention. Wiser and truly adept at their craft the guys in Mass balance delicate musical essays like that found in “Captain Jack” to the all-out assault which follows. Perhaps the show “Whale Wars” would be advised to pick up on what is happening here.

“More Than A Friend” could be the answer Mass has for their colleagues in Extreme who hit with “More Than Words”, D’Itria’s guitar, the vocals from lead singer Louis St. August and the strings all wrap around each other in a special way. Very effective live-in-concert as they performed it for the record release party at the Regent Theater.

“Falling From Grace” is a nice opener, an all-out rocker in tune with Mick Jagger’s philosophy of hitting the audience hard with a “Flip The Switch” or “Start Me Up” to kick things off. “The Right Side”, “All The Years Gone”, “Thru The Rain” and more make the Sea Of Black album a nice progression in the ever expanding Mass catalog.

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