Monday, April 9, 2012

Manafest: Fighter Review

Chris Greenwood, better known as Manafest, released his critically-acclaimed album The Chase back in March of 2010. The album was well received by fans, finding several chart-topping radio singles, including his latest, “Every Time You Run.” Through this single, and Manafest’s rock-infused hip-hop as a whole, Manafest discovers human brokenness, and shows that we all have a purpose in God. Because of this, his music comes across with a mainstream attitude, but Manafest is quick to direct all the attention back to God. Now, through Fighter, Manafest is bolder than ever, delivering an 11-track project full of encouragement, call to action, and even more determination.

The emphatic title track kicks things off excellently. Manafest immediately addresses his insecurities to this explosive rock track, but goes a step further to declare “I’m a fighter!” Nothing can keep Manafest down, and that’s for sure! Clearly, this track becomes a battle anthem for today’s youth – very inspirational and equally energetic. “Throw It Away” has an electronic twist, with cool effects performed on Manafest’s vocals during the chorus. The serious message continues through this second track.

Addressing bullying, “Pushover” follows, again with emphatic vocals and some screamo. “You don’t know me now/ I’m not a pushover/ you can’t fill these shoes, you can’t make me move!” are the lines that lead the track, but especially enjoyable is the extremely strong screamo bridge: “I. Won’t. Play. Your. Games. JUST LET ME BE!!!” Slightly slower, but still a rock anthem, “Human” speaks of every person’s weak spots, stating, “I never said I was an angel, I never said I wouldn’t break down.”

“Come Alive” is probably one of the lesser tracks on the album, with a message of coming alive and showing your true colors. The rock single “Never Let You Go” follows, more inspirational and encouraging, I think, in light of the whole album that it is in a single of it’s own. It reminds us powerfully that God is always there for us in the tough times: “Hold on when everything is shaking/ stand strong when the ground is falling through/ reach out to My hand in the darkness/ I’m holding you…” Manafest sings this chorus too, which is very awesome. His vocals sound amazing, as do the heartfelt lyrics.

With the same encouraging message, but with more of a strong rock backing, “Not Alone” follows perfectly, while “Prison Break” and “Heart Attack” follow appropriately as battle anthems. The latter sounds more like Me In Motion’s rocking single “Gotta Be Something,” and it really isn’t surprising since Me In Motion’s Seth Mosley helped produce this album from Manafest.

“Will You Catch Me” makes for a great sing-along, encouraging the listener that God will catch us when we fall and that “the sun will come up tomorrow.” The album closes with a bonus track, a soft acoustic remix of “Never Let You Go,” very soothing and just as encouraging as the original.

Manafest has done a fantastic job of delivering an album to ride on the success of The Chase. Fighter is an album that today’s youth will embrace for it’s call to action – the courage it challenges the listener to take, and the inspiration it provides for those who are battling tough circumstances. The album is 90% rock anthems with the hip-hop twist that makes Manafest a hit on Christian radio. The rest are the powerful worship anthems that Manafest manages to include in between. Fighter truly is an amazing album!

Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: April 10, 2012

Track listing:
1. Fighter
2. Throw It Away
3. Pushover
4. Human
5. Come Alive
6. Never Let You Go
7. Not Alone
8. Prison Break
9. Heart Attack
10. Will You Catch Me
11. Never Let You Go (Acoustic)

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