I was excited when Scary Monsters Music editor-in-chief sent me the new MESSER album for review. I missed their last Las Vegas performance, but was intrigued after reading Harold Mountain's review on this very site. They hail from Texas, and carry on that Texas tradition of a BIG rock sound- combining metal, alternative and all things ROCK. My anticipation and expectations were high, perhaps too high, but I rated the debut album at a solid 8/10.
Their new self titled album starts with a slow build with "Throw It Away: and "Everything Beautiful". While both tracks showcase the excellent musicianship of the band, and the undeniable talent of the vocalist Erik Hatchett, neither track makes the band stand out from the current crop of Active Rock bands fighting for Billboard chart space.
But then track 3 starts... and "Fight of My Life brings in the hooks, and these are Texas sized catchy, stuck in your head hooks! Hatchett's voice reaches powerful heights on the chorus while the band pummels behind him. The hooks keep coming left and right on "Still Better Off" and "Lay Down Your Heart". Both tracks could easily be singles, but the ballad "Lay Down Your Heart" has such heartfelt vocals over a gorgeous acoustic melody, it is really a stunning track.
Next up, is their current single "Make This Life" - why this song isn’t the first track on the album, I will never know. Its a perfect introduction to the band - driving chunky guitars, an Alice in Chains influenced pre-chorus and an infectious fist pumping chorus. "Simple Man" kicks it into high gear with an emphatic “GO" and more hooks, this time really bringing in the metal for that fan favorite track and the next one, "Save Myself".
The Deep Ellum boys have one more ballad in 'em before they leave though, and "One More Time" is almost full on late 80s/ early 90s power ballad, and I mean that as a compliment. More impressive acoustic work by Dereak Messer and Donnie Deville, and another stellar vocal performance.
The final rocker in the bunch closes out the album, the live set favorite- "Whiskey". Gritty lead vocals and gang shouting the word 'whiskey' might not win any Pulitzers but it sure is fun. I can imagine a packed, smokey club with a bunch of dudes in denim and girls in tight jeans, holding up their shots and shouting along. And trust- the next time MESSER comes through Vegas, I’ll be one of em!