• 7/10
    MESSENGER - In to Win - 7/10


Messenger Associates
Release date: December 18, 2020
[spoiler title=’Metal Express Radio – Ratings Scale’]
10.0:       Cannot be improved! Perfect, instant classic! Essential in any record collection.
9.5 – 9.9:  Fantastic, spectacular and outstanding!
9.0 – 9.4:  Amazing release! It just lacks that little extra spice to make it perfect.
8.5 – 8.9:  Exceptional release! Will likely rank among top ten albums of the year.
8.0 – 8.4:  Great release! It has many different qualities.
7.5 – 7.9:  Above average! It is an enjoyable release.
7.0 – 7.4:  It is not brilliant, but has many strong points.
6.0 – 6.9:  It has its moments, but is not that strong.
5.0 – 5.9:  Slightly above average, does not stand out. Good outweighs bad by just a little.
4.0 – 4.9:  Just below average, bad outweighs good by just a little.
3.0 – 3.9:  Mediocre. There might be a song or a performance that is enjoyable, but that is it.
2.0 – 2.9:  Very weak! There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, too many flaws.
1.0 – 1.9:  This release gives the word “terrible” new meaning.
0.1 – 0.9:  Awful! Avoid at all cost. There is nothing good to say about this release.[/spoiler]

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The Backstory

In to Win is the third studio album by the 3-piece Christian Hard Rock band Messenger. Hailing from Springfield, Virginia, Messenger touch upon themes of conflict and the Christian life experience. In to Win is being self-released. Messenger likens themselves to Five Finger Death Punch, Alterbridge, and John Petrucci.

The Album

Meaty riffs drive the opening track “Time Machine.” Vocalist Frank Herring is melodic with his message, but still remains intense. “Blind Sided” has a bluesy undertone to its Modern Rock sound. There’s some fiery guitar work courtesy of Vlad Gurin. “Give a Shout!” is a great call-and-response song that is sure to be a hit at live shows (whenever those come back). “Crows and the Hawk” may slow things down briefly, but it has a catchy chorus and uplifting melodies.

“Satan’s Nightmare” is a little too upbeat musically considering Herring wants to challenge the devil himself, but the melody is still tough to get out of your head. “July 5 (The Politician’s Song) is propelled by an undeniable guitar lick, as it exposes the truth of the shadiness of politics. “Anchor” is a multi-tempoed rocker that shifts in tempo as much as it shifts in emotion. “Trial and triumph” is a guitar virtuoso fan’s dream. Even though Messenger is billed as a Christian band, “The Last Supper” is one of two songs that directly refers to Jesus or God. It’s an enjoyable mix of acoustic and flamenco style guitars. “Fear No Evil” is a hard-charging rocker with the positive message that there is nothing to fear when God is with you.

The Verdict

In to Win by Messenger is full of hard-edged catchy songs with a positive message. The album is not an in-your-face presentation of Christianity. It is more of an observation of life as a Christian through song. These same themes can be enjoyed by the secular population as well, because as Messenger laments; life is about being a good person, observing the right and wrong around you, and the power within you to create change.



  1. Time Machine
  2. Blind Sided
  3. Take Flight
  4. Give a Shout!
  5. Crows and the Hawk
  6. Messenger at Arms
  7. Satan’s Nightmare
  8. When I Go
  9. July 5 [The Politician’s Song]
  10. Anchor
  11. Trial and Triumph
  12. Last Supper
  13. Fear No Evil

Messenger is

Frank Clifton Herring – Vocals
Vlad Gurin – Guitar
Rich Sandoval – Bass
Mike Zahorchak – Drums


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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