Mass is one of those classic bands that have been around forever, but plagued with bad luck. In 1982, band signed their first major record deal with A&M Records and recorded their first full-length album with legendary producer, Tom Allom. As a reference point, around this same time, Tom had produced “Screaming for Vengeance” for Judas Priest, and only a couple years earlier, “On Through the Night” for Def Leppard. Unfortunately, Mass’ album was never officially released due to bad relations between A&M and the band’s management.
Mass spent a good portion of the next couple years fighting their management in court. In the meantime, the album was shelved, and the band decided to record and release an independent EP. That EP sold over 10,000 copies in the Boston area alone, and again had record companies interested in the m. In 1985 they signed with RCA, and finally released their full length debut, aptly titled “New Birth”. Since that time, the original Tom Allom produced debut was still sitting on a shelf, unreleased. Finally, in 2019, this album is being released by NoLifeTilMetal Records, as it was intended to be released, ON VINYL!
Check out the just released video for the title track “Fighter”…
What we have with “Fighter” is a majestic, classic, 1980’s heavy metal platter. “Fighter” is a heavy album, especially considering it was recorded in the early 1980’s. The band offers a lot of variety with heavier tracks, some lighter moments, and plenty of killer hooks. A few of the tracks from “Fighter” were later re-recorded for “New Birth”, including “Watch Her Walk”, “Too Far Gone”, “Voyager” and “Do You Love Me”. However, the raw 80’s production, along with some excellent modern mastering techniques, gives these recordings the edge over the “New Birth” versions. As well, “Bad Man’s Reputation” was released a few years ago as a bonus track on the “Best Ones” CD. The rest of the songs are exclusive to the vinyl version. The heavier tracks, such as “Watch Her Walk”, “Too Far Gone”, “Slip of the Tongue” and “Bad Man’s Reputation” feature some searing guitar work. One of the biggest highlights is the title track, a doomy heavy metal song with a darker feel than some of the more upbeat songs. “Fighter”, however, was recorded on analog equipment, and belongs on vinyl.
As well, NoLifeTilMetal Records is releasing a very special CD version of “Fighter” with a slew of never before released bonus tracks. Taken from the original master tapes, we have included seven rough mix tracks from the Criteria Studios sessions, including the previously unreleased song, “Change Your Way”. If that isn’t enough, there is also a must-be-heard live version of “Holy One”, recorded in 2010, where you can hear dialogue from lead singer Louis St August addressing some of the hardship and issues that arose from this infamous recording.
The artwork has been completely re-worked by Scott Waters of NoLifeTilMetal, along with the help of Mass vocalist Louis St. August. Both the LP and CD are printed on a special uncoated paper stock, and feature photos of the original band members, as would have been seen if the album had been released in 1982. The inserts include liner notes by Louis St. August, as well as lyrics and period-accurate photos.
What could have been? “Fighter” is a great album. It’s really a shame this album wasn’t released in ’82 when it was recorded, as it probably would have made Mass a household name. As it stands, it’s still a great album decades later. Classic metal fans now have a “NEW” album to add to their collections, and Mass fanatics can rejoice that “Fighter” has finally been officially released on vinyl.
The vinyl version of this album will be strictly limited to a one-time 500-piece pressing with 150 on white vinyl, and 350 on a traditional black vinyl. The CD will be packaged in a jewel case, and also limited to 500 pieces, complete with a 12 page booklet.