Wednesday, March 10, 2021


Every once in a while, I come across a band I have never heard of and... really like.  Messenger is one of those bands.  I am pretty sure you will like them too.

    Messenger is a power/prog/melodic metal band with clean vocals and a fresh unique sound.  This is not, by any means, a "sounds like" or "if you like so and so you will love Messenger" band; Messenger has a distinct style blending musical influences from the 70's, 80's and today.  

    Messenger is based in Washington DC and is composed of Frank Clifton Herring - vocals/bass, Vlad Gurin - guitar and Michael John Hoover  - drums.  Studio musicians Rich Sandoval and Mike Zahorchak contributed bass and drums, respectively, for In To Win.

    In To Win, as an album overall, evokes the ethos of noble warriors who have been battle tested and stand firm in the knowledge theirs is a righteous cause.  Most songs on this album, according to the band, deal with "conflict and the response to conflict" and I would have to agree.  The listener cannot help but be inspired to aspire to something greater than the regular mundane day to day experience. Our Christian life should never be boring, and albums like In To Win remind us to not settle for mediocre.  

    From the first track, Time Machine, there is no doubt this album rocks.  Herring's call to "Kick it!" sets the tone and pace, not only for the opening, but for the whole album.  Immediately, the listener notices the care put into the musical quality.  Excellent guitar riffs, a driving rhythm section and top notch vocals are sure to please the most critical ear.

     The onslaught continues with Blind-Sided. A heavy hitter crafted around the inspiring guitar riffs of Vlad Gurin.  This song, both musically and lyrically reflects the the challenges we face when our plans are interrupted by unexpected circumstances.  Being a faith based band has it's definite perks, spiritually speaking, as the Holy Spirit certainly showed up in the lyrics, ministering, not only to the listener, but to the musicians as well.  

    The third track, Take Flight slows down the pace a bit, demonstrating the band's versatility and highlighting Herring's vocal range.  Vocally, I would put Herring in the category of  Rob Rock or Stairway's Graeme Leslie, for range and tone. Hearing Herring, dynamically paired with the uber-talented guitar work of Gurin, one can feel the chemistry, comparable to early Joe Perry and Steven Tyler.  

    The fourth track, Give a Shout!, is nothing but fun. I would expect this to be the opener to a live show. A driving onslaught which commands the audience, "If you like what you're hearing, give a shout!",  evokes a vision of hundreds of leather clad revelers raising a fist in the air and shouting along with the band. A perfect song, given the motif of the overall album. 

    The next track, my favorite, Crows and the Hawk, deals with the very sensitive and timely topic of racial unity in a world that seems to have forgotten we are one race... the human race.  Meticulously crafted, this song is backdropped by a single beat, enhanced by the intentional guitar work fashioned after Eastern European folk music. CATH highlights the international flavor and influences of Gurin, adding to the overall freshness and unique sound that is Messenger

    While every song on this album is worth a listen or ten, the last song I want to mention is Satan's Nightmare. This radio worthy song begs to be listened to at maximum decibels.  Starting off with an unmistakable modern sound, there are plenty of change ups and memorable riffs, along with catchy lyrics and chorus. The musical change up is reminiscent of Guns and Roses, where more than one song and style is detected.  

    In To Win is a winner overall.  I tested this album by listening to it three times in a row and enjoyed it as much on the third listen as I did on the first, which is very rare for me.  Another thing I noticed is I did not find myself skipping any tracks on the third listen, also rare for me.  

     To learn more about Messenger or to order directly from the band, please check out this link  Messenger Official Site  

    If you are looking for a worthy addition to your musical library, you will not want to miss out on In To Win by Messenger.  Don't forget to play it loud!!

Now go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!