Posted July 18, 2017
By AmandaDeWilde_NRT, Staff Reviewer
With music spanning well over a decade, Canadian artist Chris Greenwood (who goes by the rap moniker Manafest) has been a longtime powerhouse in the world of Christian rap and rock. Manafest's latest release, Stones, marks his second independent album and tenth studio release overall. A rock album at its core, Stones hits hard with a message of perseverance and determination in the face of conflict.
The title track starts the album out strong with an infectious rocker about overcoming criticism. Greenwood said in an explanation video about this song, "I want to be annoying to the devil. I want to be annoying to the haters, to say I'm never going to quit... You can judge as much as you want, but I'm gonna keep going."
"House of Cards" is an anthem for those who feel like they've lost their shot in life, like they've missed their chance or that everything they touch falls apart. This song is a rally cry to stand up and refuse to quit even when you feel like a failure. A track worthy of the repeat button, "Firestarter" captures Manafest's passion for igniting a spark in his listeners, encouraging them to follow him in stepping out of their comfort zones.
"You're Gonna Rise" assumes a slower pace, encouraging those going through depression or heartache that it's possible to rise from the darkness. The lyrics explore these feelings to some degree and let the listener know that it's okay to feel broken: "You hide your scars cause you're ashamed, but it's okay to admit you're not okay. You want to be healed but don't know where to start, when you feel like a body with a broken heart." The song then builds to a triumphant chorus, telling the listener that healing is in reach and offering a helping hand along the way.
Heavy electric guitar riffs dominate "Blow You Away," a track that particularly seems to capture Manafest's journey as an independent artist. Similar in theme to "Stones," "Blow You Away" is committed to silencing the cynics: "You can talk loud, you can get wild, just a dark cloud. Imma step out and blow you away."
"Merry Go Round" takes on a heavier tone, exploring the ups and downs of a relationship, while "Amplifier" gives us more of a dance track vibe and compares the excitement of love to the adrenaline-inducing beat of a good song. Manafest wraps up the album by giving us a taste of his signature rhyming skills in "Won't Give Up." This track brings the album's theme of bold perseverance full-circle by giving God the glory for the artist's courage.
The Bottom Line: After nearly twenty years of writing music, Manafest has certainly reached the point in his career of knowing what his fans like and exuding confidence in his unique style. Stones is all about unapologetically pursuing your God-given talents and passions despite the voices telling you to stop, whether they be from the devil, the overly critical or from inside your own head.
Song to Download Now:
"Firestarter" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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