Casey Jones - The Messenger (Cover Artwork)

Casey Jones

The Messenger (2006)


The Messenger is a nice followup to Casey Jones' The Few, The Proud, The Crucial, but it's definitely got some serious issues. The music is so good and the vocal delivery is terrific, but for the most part the lyrical content kills it for me. I'm sure there's a contingent of people out there that won't mind the lyrics here, if not embrace them, but I'm not one of them

In general, the song structure is pretty solid, the mix is quality, and the production value is good without making Casey Jones sound like anything other than Casey Jones. Josh James' vocal delivery has that high-end throaty scream thing going on that I absolutely love.

Musically, The Messenger runs to every corner of modern hardcore. There are plenty of gang vocals, a nice clean guitar intro, borderline metal breakdowns, the drumming never boring, and none of the songs drag for even a second.

But again, there is a serious lyrical flaw at hand. Normally I'm the kind of guy who only asks that a band does what they do well and try not to come down on bands for not completely redefining the genre with every release. Yet, I can't help but wonder: Could the lyrics be any more stock? I'm sure there are plenty of people are going to disagree with me, but it bears mentioning that these guys are just walking a path that has been walked about a hundred times before. Take for instance, "No Donnie, These Men Are Straight Edge," which features the lines "What the fuck do you know about me? Why the fuck do you care what I do? Who the fuck are you? You ain't fucking shit." It's stuff like this that just scares the hell out of me, and gives straight-edge a negative connotation anywhere outside the ideological safety of the hardcore community.

On the other hand, the eleventh track on The Messenger, titled "Punch-A-Size," takes a stab at the elitism that plagues the scene, and idiots who promote violence at shows. So I guess at the end of the day Casey Jones definitely display some conviction, but I'll take a fresh look like Bane's "Wasted on the Young" or "Count Me Out" any day of the week.

If you're a fan bands like Miles Away, Champion, Betrayed, the Change, the Distance, etc., I'm sure you will enjoy this. If you see it in the used bin at a store you might as well pick it up. However, I'm sure you already own quite a few albums in the same vein that are not about to get dethroned any time soon.