It's You 

Crack Of Dawn 


Empty Soul 


Magic Train 

Monkey Brain 

Sweet Lady Jane 

Seven Days (Bonus Track) 

Leaving You 


Who Am I





Louis D'Augusta - Lead Vocals 

Gene D'Itria - Guitars & Back up Vocals 

Lou Spagnola - Bass & Back up Vocals 

Joey “Vee” Vadala - Drums


Mass: "Crack of Dawn"      mass          Escape Music Ltd

 distributed in Switzerland by   

 Produced and Mixed by guitarist Martin Kronlund (Dogface) at JM Recording Studio, Gothenburg, Sweden


preview  by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo ___             

Believers find always the way to their Mass.


It's the song "Who am i" that changes everything in this album . It's this last song that gives the definite power to the whole Crack of Dawn, the new CD from American historical rockers/melodic metallers Mass. Interesting year this 2007 for them:  In March they  re - released , through Retrospect Records in March their veteran opus "New Birth" (therefore now  finally available on cd after 22 years!),  Mass (Mass as beginning of the word  Massachussets?) from the Boston area (Revere) erupts on 25 June with a new album, "Crack of Dawn", which, in my opinion, gets its best tones in  the  final part. That Rock rooted back in the 70's and 80's  seem to be touched by eternal grace, if we can still find enthusiast fans and historical bands that have fun to dive  in the scene again. After the start, dated around 1981/1984,   Mass sold over 100,000 albums worldwide, "knew" an ink with RCA, were extremely successful in the USA,  England, Japan, performed with such acts as Hanoi Rocks, Molly Hatchet, The Ramones, Cheap Trick and Stryper. and  cooperated with Michael Sweet (from Stryper of course). They were also  labeled as Christian band (Stryper eh?), which thing is, in my opinion, too superficial  and stereotyped. Described by some fans as underrated yet chart breaker, this historical band still can count on ardent aficionados who call themselves Massbelievers. I must give up, i've noticed it  too many times before,  it's almost impossible to escape from the 70's and the 80's, and the more i hate this period,  the more i end up to slip on it. Crack of Dawn is just  the latest of many episodes: at least  good that it offers another occasion to set  a microscope over those genes we metallers derive from too. And these genes seem to be in full health, still able to give some lessons in Rock/melodic Metal to the young Rockers of today. I don't know how many in Europe know Mass, me too had to inform myself more, but, even if you  don't know them, the listening to "Crack of Dawn" will  let you know today how "we were" years ago, and how it's possible to enjoy today the way of the past.   Additionally some songs of this album clearly manifest strong ties with Blues, like the second song (title track). Uptempo and reiterated progression, the song Crack of Dawn is the mirror of that sunny Rock Blues of the 70's and 80's expressed with up-to dated power, and with use of backing vocals and final echo. We will find other blues oriented tracks here, we will see, but now i would also spend some words about vocals. I always find that kind of vocals common to Lous D'augusta too as velvety yet characterized by little thick  and lack of aggression, the connection with the title track is that i don't like this kind  of vocal timbre in this kind of songs,  nonetheless the balladesque "Someday", for example,  makes these vocals able to express them at their best  with the proper  feeling.  While the melody runs too much at the borderline with Aerosmith or Bon Jovi, the total result of the song Someday is quite appreciable thanks to the vocals too. So, this is some rough comparison between the track 2 and 3.  And the opener? The opener "It's you" also shows a good vocal timbre together with catchiness and varied guitar sound on a nice lively background. Rockers will surely love this hard rock song, but also some listeners of Alternative will find this track inviting, due also to the care in the production and to a touch of modernity in the guitar sound. If it's true that  It's you really go back to 2002 together with Empty Soul (as i've read somewhere), so we can understand why  the newer modulation of Rock is evident . Concerning a Swiss wider audience, I suggest this song to the fans of Gotthard too. 

In Empty Soul we find a track of classic melodic metal in which no wish is left unsatisfied concerning the force of the guitar riffs. And after this power, it is a must  to relax just only a bit with  the half ballade Hello, characterized by underlined drums and decent hammond carpets that intertwine with guitars that appear often to use acoustic tones. 

MASS band photoAnd now it comes a 3 piece-block with similar identity. Magic Train is soaked with typical American blues-country style. Not very varied, Magic Train is based anyway on a catchy reiterate phrase. The same intonation is carried on by the successive song Monkey Brain, even more lively but, unfortunately,  also  repetitive in spite of a rich  guitar work.  This group of 3 "brothers" (Magic Train, Monkey Brain and Sweet Lady Jane) is a point of the album i  personally cannot really stand. I don't know what the "Rockers by nature" could think about them , maybe Sweet Lady Jane, always bluesy but surely more varied and with appreciable instrumental technique could impact well on them. 

The bonus track Seven Days (who already appeared on the CD "Best Ones") doesn't add much to the general atmosphere of the album, i might be wrong but to my ears it seems just a nice filler. On the contrary Leaving you is marked by  better quality and hides some touch of British style. Suspenced, melodically rhythmic Castle reminds me the melodic passages of the Scorpions of the  "Love at the  first Sting" era. Good . But it's with "Who am i "(also included in "Best Ones") that everything changes. Curious about this song, i even found it at the omnipotent YouTube as live video, recorded at Goodtimes on 11 November 2005.  If you will be surprised to see how compact the band plays, you will be even more involved of course by the perfect CD version (let's say this is a compliment). But Who  am i ...when was it composed?  This track  is incredibly driving and modern, nonetheless, as structure,  it reminds me incessantly to the  Nirvana 's Smell like Teen Spirit, in particular  the stacco of  the bassline in   the beautiful bridge, moreover guitars sound indeed a bit grunge and acid retro in  some parts of the track . Whatever. Crack of Dawn begins well and ends well. Strange is that The coverart infuses a simple but effectual sense of coldness, a coldness in contrast with the music . Although the tracks are mirror of different compositive moments (therefore it's difficult to consider them "homogeneous" ) they do their job. Believers find always the way to  their "mass". 

Rating: 7,9/ 10 

dalia di giacomo  22.06.2007
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