Mass (band)

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General information
origin Regensburg , Germany
Genre (s) Hard rock , heavy metal , speed metal
founding 1973 as Black Mass, 2016
resolution 1987
Founding members
Günther Viktor Radny
Josef Hartl (until 1976)
Walter Speck (until 1973)
Charles Frey (until 1974)
Current occupation
Electric bass
Günther Viktor Radny
Matthias "Wauxl" Pfaller (since 2016)
Electric guitar
Hans "Hyde" Heid (since 2016)
Clemens Matejka (since 2016)
Andreas Gmeinwieser (since 2016)
former members
Electric guitar
Gerd Schneider (1973–1974)
Electric guitar
Mick Thackeray (1974-1976)
Jack E. Burnside (1978-1986 or 1987)
Electric guitar
Detlef "Dave" Schreiber (1976–1986 or 1987)
Johannes Eder (1974–1987)
Ritchie Newton (1986-1987)
Electric guitar
Heinz Götz (1986–1987)
Electric guitar
Bernie Hohenester (1986-1987)

Mass was a Bavarian heavy metal band from Regensburg , founded in 1973 under the name Black Mass , which disbanded in 1987. At the end of 2016 the band was reformed and the classical line-up was expanded to include keyboards.

Band history

In 1973 the bassist Günther Viktor (sometimes also: Victor) Radny gathered the musicians Josef Hartl (vocals), Walter Speck (guitar) and from Switzerland Charles Frey (drums) around him in his native Lappersdorf near Regensburg. Together, the group focused on modern rock chose the name Black Mass during Black Sabbath's breakthrough and successful years . After Walter Speck's suicide soon afterwards, the Saarbrücken guitarist Gerd Schneider took over his seat until he was fired due to massive drug use. Now the guitar was played by the Englishman Mick Thackeray, who had already accompanied various artists and groups on the European mainland. At the same time, Charles Frey switched to Johannes Eder on drums. After stability seemed to have returned and one could concentrate on the future of the band, the band name was shortened to "Mass".

In April 1975 , an album was recorded in Studio 70 in Munich under the direction of Dave Siddle, with whom international greats such as Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple had worked repeatedly, as had many German Krautrock pioneers. In addition to Thackeray's excessive alcohol consumption, singer Hartl's drug escapades in particular endangered the project, which ultimately had to be postponed. The recordings made have meanwhile been lost. Radny dismissed the two uncertainties a year later. With Detlef "Dave" Schreiber, who came from Berlin and had experience with the Krautrock formation Walpurgis , who had been looking for a band in early 1976, as a new guitarist, the three of them should continue with Radny and Schreiber sharing the vocals. Radny on joining Schreiber: "On August 1st, 1976 the Berlin guitarist Dave Schreiber met us, and since then we've had Mass". The albums Back to the Music and Rock'n'Roll Power at 25th Hour were recorded just over a year apart . The former was created in October 1976 and was released in March 1977. It offers nine original compositions plus a cover version of the creation hit Painter Man . 5,000 copies sold could be considered a success. The response to the concerts in the Regensburg region was just as encouraging, which, after having gained a reputation , could be expanded over the years into entire festivals to which many other bands were invited. Outside of Germany there were less appearances, but there were memorable shows among them, for example in the Swiss town of Chur in early 1977 the not yet famed, stylistically indecisive and open-minded band Krokus opened the evening. During the final production of the latter album in June 1978 a singer was found who could quickly put on the group photo intended for the back of the record sleeve. It was about the son of a German born in New York with an American , whose second first name is not entirely clear whether the German (Ernst) or the American spelling (Ernest) is the official one, but this is due to his own The selected variant "Jack E." becomes irrelevant. Jack E. Burnside was the only front man of a harder pace music group with a brown complexion in Germany. Radny and Burnside had already become known to each other in 1969 at a Hendrix concert in Munich, but Burnside, who shuttled back and forth between the USA and Germany, initially pursued his goals in a New York New Wave band before joining Mass.

In 1979 the career really got going, with the engine stuttering, but things were moving forward. The LP Slaughter House was in good hands under the umbrella of the Hamburg record company Teldec , with the sub-label Strand, and jumped to number four in the Greek album charts . However, a tour of Greece failed because the promised advance payment had not been received. The following years were similarly ambivalent in other areas. Three more albums, which sold well, were released between 1980 and 1983, but the leap into the metal elite did not materialize. Domestic and international appearances increased, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland were toured in tow by Thin Lizzy , Rose Tattoo , Omega , Golden Earring , UFO , the Spencer Davis Group and others. Nevertheless, Mass was not granted any lasting success. That way you were busy enough and still struggled to survive. The preliminary programs were a repetitive ox tour without merit, some headliner shows and regular appearances at biker meetings kept the musicians afloat. In addition, were odd jobs announced. After all, it was enough to open an antique shop that still sold a little something. In 1984 heavy metal had become more popular, but also the competition increased, which triggered a fee poker. If there were any press reports at all, the smaller positive part was compared to a predominantly "contemptuous" part. The Melody Maker described a concert as a cacophonic jam session and ended: “Your music is uncoordinated, boring, unimaginative, immature and unbearable.” Günther Radny remarked to the Metal Hammer in 1984 : “At times, as a group of this genre, one came up with a figment the devil, you were frowned upon or simply ignored. ”The metal author Matthias Mader suspected that“ it was probably because, unlike the Scorpions or Accept, they were never even remotely successful abroad, not even nationally Could achieve notoriety ”. Looking back, Radny sees the reasons for the failure of his band at a young age (all born around 1950), more precisely in the naive way of dealing with the music industry and drugs. The attempt had been made to escape the music industry in 1984 by switching to indie "macho", and the drugs through various expulsions and in 1981 the rejection of the world famous but heroin-addicted crocus displaced Tommy Kiefer, who had offered himself as the second guitarist.

In War Law , recorded for the third time in a row under the direction of Krokus producer Martin Pearson in August 1984 and released that same year, everything fit together: band structure, successful producer, indie label, stage outfit, speed metal orientation, Cover artwork . The same well-rehearsed team at and in front of the mixer delivered an LP packaged in a fantasy design, whereby “Mass [had] increased quite a bit of speed, so that their new leather / rivet image (finally) was mostly congruent to their sound. “If the album title Swiss Connection (1981) was still an avowed indication of the close connection with Switzerland (the recording location was again Maur this time ), the first chords of the German national anthem were intoned here at excessive speed.

Mass completed one last major tour in May 1985 together with the German formation Beast as the opening band for the Swiss avant-garde metal band Celtic Frost, and a final album called Kick Your Ass on the small label GVR, which is distributed by Roadrunner Records , was still completed before the rapid descent began. According to Radny, the change to this label happened because "we finally want to make money". The band now had their own studio where they could work on songs. The album was recorded by Martin Pearson in the Swiss Powerplay Studios. Mainly because of their poor health, Burnside and Schreiber left the group after the promotional tour. They were replaced by singer Ritchie Newton and the two guitarists Heinz Götz and Bernie Hohenester. Local shows, including one with 800 visitors in Regensburg, under the motto “We Rock the Party” followed. In September 1987 the band could be heard on the sampler Iron Tyrants - European Blitz by World Metal Records with the song Pay It by Kick Your Ass . The sound carrier was distributed worldwide. Since they were looking for a contract again, a demo of the same name ( We Rock the Party ) was created, but the distribution stopped in view of Eder, who was also ailing. Today Eder and Burnside pay for the physical overexploitation and the careless use of alcohol with long-term consequences.

Radny tried a total new beginning including a renaming together with the singer Don A. Bianchi, the guitarist Dieter Saller, the keyboardist Goth Krumbach and - after an early first exchange of colleagues - ex-Tyrus drummer Michael Hartinger as Monsters. Their only LP (1990) was later recorded with a different line-up. What Radny had left after the unsuccessful attempt was the antique shop and membership in a cover band in which he had already played at the beginning of his musician career.

In 2017 Radny started the revival of his band Mass again, this time with Matthias Pfaller as singer, Hannes Heid on guitar, Andy Gmeinwieser on drums and Clemens Matejka on keyboard. In April 2019 the album "Still Chained" was released by Pride & Joy Music, which received positive feedback in the music press worldwide.


In his German rock lexicon , Wolfgang Wilholm described the music on the debut LP as "rock music with a tendency towards hard rock ". Günter Ehnert's forerunner Rock in Germany called it "heavy metal rock [...], which sometimes reminds of Rory Gallagher and Black Sabbath". Matthias Mader saw in the follow-up album of blues and boogie influenced hard rock of German character. At Slaughter House he was reminded of Accept, AC / DC or Rose Tattoo, depending on the song . With the follow-up albums, in Mader's opinion, Mass developed into exemplary heavy metal, albeit with a delay, as he found, because the trend towards speed metal had meanwhile changed. The band would only have caught up to this topicality with War Law . In The International Encyclopedia of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal , the initial music was described as a mix of punk and heavy metal, although it would move in a more metallic direction from Swiss Connection . In his book The Collector's Guide of Heavy Metal Volume 2: The Eighties, Martin Popoff described the music on Swiss Connection as a mixture of Krokus, Colonel Klink and Lemmy Kilmister . On Metal Fighter , he feels reminded above all of the Belgian killers and also referred to similarities to Krokus releases of the 1980s. He took the album as well as its predecessor negatively and described the music as powerless "dirt rock". According to Popoff, the band continues to play “ pubby , happy-go-dumply rock 'n' metal” on War Law . According to Jens Schmiedeberg from Metal Hammer , in addition to classic heavy metal, as the cover design would suggest, songs like Metal Man , Break Out and Fire from Hell include “first-class hard rock” on Metal Fighter . There is also a cover version of Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild on the album , which, according to Schmiedeberg, shouldn't have tried. Frank Kleiner saw it similarly, who described the music as a mixture of hard rock and heavy metal in his metal hammer review of War Law . According to metal hammer reviewer Ulf Kaldeuer, the band played hard rock on Kick Your Ass , which was out of date five years ago.


  • 1977: Back to the Music ( United Artists Records )
  • 1978: Rock'n'Roll Power at 25th Hour (Hot Stuff Records)
  • 1979: Slaughter House (beach)
  • 1980: Angel Power (Beach)
  • 1981: Swiss Connection (beach)
  • 1983: Metal Fighter (Strand)
  • 1984: War Law (Macho)
  • 1986: Kick Your Ass (GVR)
  • 2019: Still Chained

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Biography Mass , accessed on January 4, 2014.
  2. a b c d e f g h Günter Ehnert: Rock in Germany . Lexicon of German rock groups and performers. Updated and expanded edition. Taurus Press, Hamburg 1979, ISBN 3-9800079-6-0 , p. 167 .
  3. a b c d e f Matthias Mader, Otger Jeske, Arno Hofmann et al: Heavy Metal made in Germany . 1st edition. IP Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-931624-08-0 , p. 121 .
  4. a b c d e f g h Wolfgang Wilholm: Deutschrock-Lexikon . Lexikon Imprint Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-89602-212-1 , p. 197 .
  5. a b c Philipp Roser: Mass . In: Crash . October 1986, p. 55 .
  6. a b c d e Anonymous: Mass . In: Metal Hammer . February 1984, p. 6 .
  7. a b c d e Matthias Mader, Otger Jeske, Arno Hofmann et al: Heavy Metal made in Germany . 1st edition. IP Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-931624-08-0 , p. 122 .
  8. Quoted from: Wolfgang Wilholm: Deutschrock-Lexikon . Lexikon Imprint Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-89602-212-1 , p. 197 .
  9. Brief bio Mass ( Memento of the original from January 4, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed January 4, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Oliver Klemm: "Heavy Metal Battle" . Mass, Beast, Celtic Frost. In: Metal Hammer . July 1985, p. 72 f .
  11. a b c Matthias Mader, Otger Jeske, Arno Hofmann et al: Heavy Metal made in Germany . 1st edition. IP Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-931624-08-0 , p. 123 .
  12. Andrea Nieradzik: Mass . With fresh strength into the twelfth year. In: Metal Hammer . November 1987, p. 40 .
  13. Norbert Lösch: Altrocker Radny heats up metal smiths. The veteran of the Regensburg scene reformed the band Mass. She's in the mood for hard riffs again - and so do her fans. In: January 18, 2017, accessed February 1, 2018 .
  14. International press reviews on Still Chained. June 18, 2020, accessed June 18, 2020 .
  15. Tony Jasper, Derek Oliver: The International Encyclopedia of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal . Facts on File Publications, New York 1983, ISBN 0-8160-1100-1 , pp. 209 .
  16. Martin Popoff : The Collector's Guide of Heavy Metal Volume 2: The Eighties . Collectors Guide Ltd, Burlington, Ontario, Canada 2005, ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5 , pp. 215 .
  17. Jens Schmiedeberg: Mass . Metal fighter. In: Metal Hammer . January 1984, p. 33 .
  18. Frank Kleiner: Mass . Was Law. In: Metal Hammer . January 1985, p. 61 .
  19. Ulf Kaldeuer: Mass . Kick Your Ass. In: Metal Hammer . September 1986, p. 108 .