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(In)dependent Spirit
Posted October 06, 2015
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer


Veteran recording artist Manafest is back with his seventh album and his first independent release. The journeyman singer/rapper/author/skater brings us a new album filled with radio friendly songs. A meld of rock, hip hop and pop, Reborn is an album that, when listened to apart from Manafest's former work, will give the listener an idea of what he is all about in one succinct package.

The album opens with the title track "Reborn," a song that gave me flashbacks of "Come On In" by Whosoever South, perhaps because of the finger picking guitar and soulful harmonica that open the track. Manafest's lyrical chops shine through and give a message of hope.

"Let You Drive," the first single from the album, shows that even though Manafest went independent with his music, he is still dependent on God to drive. It is a song of surrender, a song that we can all sing to and confess as Christians. With the strong lyrics and radio friendly sound, this will be one that will find its way into car stereos everywhere. 

The most personal moment on the album comes on "Fearless," a personal track about fatherhood. For those men like Manafest that grew up missing a close relationship with their dads, there can be a strong sense of fear when they find out they are going to be fathers themselves. This song is Manafest's own testimony about approaching fatherhood fearlessly.

Things get dark on "Army." From the brooding bass line and the cynical views about the federal reserve and the current state of affairs, the song is reminiscent of some of Manafest's older work. Things speed up for "Shine," and Manafest's countryman and fellow rocker/rapper Trevor McNevan adds his voice to the hook. This is a classic Christian rock tune that will have fans of both artists excited.

If "Fearless" was the most personal moment, then "Pray" is the most touching. It truly reminded me of "Everytime You Run" from The Chase (2010). It is a hard rock ballad with driving piano full of depth of feeling and good storytelling.

Closing Thoughts:
Even though Manafest is now an independent artist, it is clear through his music that he is still very much dependent on God. Some of the rough edge may be missing from the older music that he released, a facet fans may miss, but with maturity of age comes maturity in writing and an even greater personal testimony and thankfulness for all God has done in our lives. Reborn is the renewal of an artist who has taken his new found creative freedom and produced an album that fans new and old will appreciate.

Song to Download Now: 
"Pray" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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