Remember the 80’s metal era, the days of just straight ahead metal awesomeness? Those 80’s bands that filled a arena with powerful songs, anthemic monsters of rock songs that you sang with gusto with as much energy as the band was playing with. Well this for me is Messenger. Place them with any of those 80’s metal / arena rock bands that we all know, whether Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Dokken, early Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, do I need to name more…? Well they are a nice fit for that era. They embody many of the elements of those 80’s greats, yet still hold themselves with a distinctive enough modern and fresh sound not to be a brief fry in the pan band in my opinion, or just another copy of….
The reality is as hair metal goes, a lot of the bands rest on the laurels of the greats of that era, and it seeps through the music of the bands almost always, leaving a distinctive old flavor, no matter how modern they try and sound. Messenger seems to break through those elements and bring an EP, which manages to bring the 80’s metal sound to the future without coming out as a regurgitated assembly of past bands. As familiar as they sound, they have a certain distinctiveness, which rumbles with an individualistic interpretation. Messenger started out as a vision of a way to share the gospel of Jesus Christ through rock music. For them the message is not just in their music, but there lifestyles too.
Getting down to the album the opening track, “What I believe” lyrically hides nothing away that this is a Christian band with a bold and sleeve wearing faith. You can clearly hear they are a band about the message, and they not silent about it. It was most refreshing listening to a Christian band you did not have to dig deep into to know if these guys are Christian or not. The song is pretty bold, and a great indicator of where they put their faith. It’s the one thing that stood proud to me in an instant. So refreshing to see a band that has such boldness of their faith. There are a lot of Christian bands out there that you almost are unsure if they are really Christian or not. On the song itself, its not the best song on this album, maybe it is its pop sensibility metal catchiness that might turn off the hardcore metal jock, but it has all the basis covered for a good simple tune that will make for ease of radio play. Its not going to win any Grammy the song, but its fair. Some great guitar riffs and solid rhythm section.
“Rockin’ In Faith” starts with an infectious running bass line, and explodes with solid guitar riffage and drumming, and is an electric storm of rock sensibility with anthemic appeal, again cementing their stand and vibrant message. The song is brilliant and really brings to form the band mixing energy, quality sound, and 80’s nostalgia into a beautiful blend of riot metal, and Josef Mineur bursts forth with some great vocalization that finds one singing along. Remember those days, singing along to a great band, not just because it’s cool to do so, but rather because it just reaches out to you. That’s a rock song! You don’t need to be boozed up, or drugged up for that to happen. It’s in that moment and space that the realization dawns upon you that you are in the midst of a great song, and track 2 is that, a great rock song.
“I Need You Now” is a ballady rocker, reminding me a little of early Bon Jovi at the beginning (“Slippery When Wet” era) “. This is a great song that puts them at least with this song in a measure of some of the great Arena rockers that have graced our often flat earth society. Some songs our built just to claw their way into your heart, and if this song does not win you, then the rest of the album won’t at all. It is one of the highlights of the album. It has a great chorus, powerful vocals, and it bombards the senses with star studded appeal with anthemic assault. Lyrically powerful, and fervent in faith. The guitars sling with sure fire brilliance. “I Need You Now” echoes quality rock.
“Tear Down These Walls” is an anthemic power house detonation of metal riffage that sweeps with solid rhythm and authority. Mineur vocally delivers again with his high note capabilities that come out clean and powerful me without strain. Elm and Eddie Widell deliver awesome guitar work to give the listener a pure bite of metal excellence.
“Perfect Storm” the title song, starts out with some classical metal feel, before jumping into a riff laden rock onslaught that drives strong with anthemic appeal. Again the song promotes sing-along choruses.
The album concludes with the a metalized version of “How Great Though Art” entitled, “Store Gud (How Great Thou Art)”. This song has the metal 80’s sound all over it, oozing with that 80’s arena rock appeal. It roars with that run to the hill feel. If you are a fan of the 80’s metal era, there is no doubt that this song will spark like it did with me memories of metal bands from that era. This was a flash back when rock n roll was pure, when metal still carried legit attitude, and was not bent on delivering the best pop song for paying the bills, but rather making great music, that happened to pay the bills. Also as renditions go, this is brilliant.
The one almost instant characteristic of this album once you have listened to it is that its uplifting. It puts a smile on your face, and wants you to grow your hair out long, like back in the 80’s when long hair was cool. You did not have to look like you had a fight with a pit-bull, or like you been out at sea for months, or joined some whack cult, or had to wear plates in your ears, or have your entire body tattooed to seem ‘rock’ worthy. To be a little blunt, I think rock back then had credibility worthy of shouting off rooftops, today it often passes for a wet poodle, a midlife crisis, or perhaps even nostalgia of the glory days. Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of great metal bands out there today, guys who put everything of who they are into their art, but there is a lot of the same too, and with that, it becomes harder and harder to find that diamond that has the perfect cut, or at least near to something that resembles the perfect cut.
In final statement, Messenger resembles everything that was great of the 80’s metal era, yet that said, they bring a fresh, modern vibrancy, energy and quality that is testament of some of the great rock bands of today. What you get is classic melodic metal that is heavy, raw and rocking!!! As for the future of the band, they aptly respond on their official page, “It’s unclear what the future holds but we believe that God has a plan for this band and we’ll be following that path until we can’t walk anymore.”
For fans of: Petra, Stryper, Helloween, Dream Theater, Edguy, Danger Danger, Gamma Ray, Iron Maiden.
Review by Donovan de Necker
1. What I Believe
2. Rockin’ In Faith
3. I Need You Now
4. Tear Down These Walls
5. Perfect Storm
6. O Store Gud (How Great Thou Art)
Josef Mineur – Lead vocals
Fredrik Elm – Guitar & backing vocals
Eddie Widell – Guitar & backing vocals
Johnny Sandberg – Bass & backing vocals
Simon Levén – Drums
“Heart and Mind ” 
“Perfect Storm” 
Video below “Perfect Storm” (Album Teaser)
Video below ‘I Need You Now’