Voices in the Night

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This 1989 release by Mass was produced by group members and Michael Sweet, the singer from Stryper. Though the album credits end with a "God Bless," this wasn't a Christian band per se, the name more in line with those of other national groups from the Northeast region of America, the recording artists Boston and New England who also employed landscape monikers as their own. Singer Louie St. August, drummer Joey "Vee" Vadala, guitarist Gene D'Itria, and bassist Kevin Varrio define their hard rock sound more clearly here than on their RCA debut, which had them in a hard pop setting. On Voices in the Night, they really start crunching, and the '80s long-hair look and sound has more grit than many of their contemporaries, from Ratt to labelmates Poison. "Chance to Love" is a solid ballad which doesn't wimp out like Extreme's "More Than Words," the heavy vocals blending nicely with the thick guitars. Michael Sweet helps keep things under control, but that doesn't deny "Nine Tonight" or "Reach for the Sky" their opportunity to blitz. This outing is just before the band would really come into their own with material in the '90s, exhibited by a five-minute track on The Best of Boston Music Showcase: Boston Rock & Roll Anthology #16, "Under the Gun" (not to be confused with a similar title by another Boston group, Face to Face), as well as some new music on their Best Ones compilation released in 2000. Voices in the Night is bright and clean hard rock, the band progressing from their innocent formative years to a point where they should have ruled on early MTV and album rock radio. "Carry Your Heart" has the punch, but it also has the melody, these four guys real technicians when it comes to understanding the nuances of the genre they've made their life's work. While the aforementioned New England and Extreme broke up, and the group Boston makes an appearance every other decade, Mass just keep pounding away. "Follow Me," "Miles Away," and the other components that make up Voices in the Night get an "A" for effort. That the music got even better after this is what is really extraordinary. [Four tracks from this release show up on Best Ones.]

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