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Manafest: I Run With Wolves Review
Posted May 14, 2022
By RyanAdams_NRT, Staff Reviewer


What You Need To Know

Hip-hop rock singer-songwriter Manafest has been making music for over 20 years. He's dropped 11 albums and produced the I'm A Fighter Podcast (he continues to collaborate with other artists). Now, the artist is back with his latest album, I Run With Wolves.

What It Sounds Like

Much like some of his more popular albums, I Run With Wolves leans more into the rock sound while infusing his traditional pop and hip hop influences. Fans of his albums, such as Fighter and Stones, will enjoy a similar style. Manafest's creativity shines throughout the album; his fusion of genres and straightforward songwriting remains constant.

Spiritual Highlights

Manafest's Christian roots are still evident, even after 20 years in the music world. Some of his expected songwriting content is found, such as an intimate relationship-based song in "Forever" or his confidence empowering a song like "I Run With Wolves."

Throughout the album, some fantastic guest vocalists help the album in its diversity. Some key features come from Sonny Sandoval, lead vocalist from veteran rock band P.O.D., and Trevor McNevan, lead vocalist from iconic rock band Thousand Foot Krutch (it wouldn't be a good Manafest without him by now, right?). However on the latter, "Gravity Falls," Manafest sings, "Don't know what the hell I'm facing," which may be a turn-off for some.

However, the new record as a whole presents some great songwriting that covers a variety of topics such as hypocrisy, addiction, apathy, and more. The fact that Manafest writes about these in mature and clean ways is refreshing and needed.

Best Song

Even though the guest vocalist is not well-known around the Christian pop scene, artist Sam Tinnesz's collaboration with Manafest on "Blackout" is a standout. The single was released early before the album's release. So many fans have had the opportunity to hear it. It is, for sure, one of the best songs on the record. The songwriting is both vulnerable and possibly triggering due to the nature of an addiction struggle.

With "Blackout," Manafest shares the spotlight with Sam, but ultimately, Sam steals the show. His soothing chorus bounces off of Manafest's fast-paced verses as they explore the difficulty of addiction in our lives while still calling out for help. Sam relates to you, "I'm breakin', can you change me?/In a nightmare, somebody wake me" and "Want it to be over, devils on my shoulder/Lift this curse right off of me."

For Fans Of
    
P.O.D., Thousand Foot Krutch, Adelitas Way

Bottom Line

I Run With Wolves is a delightful listening experience, mainly thanks to the multiple, well-placed guest vocalists. As Manafest brings more rock elements back into the record, hopefully, he will win over fans from both the rock and pop world. Most of the songs follow formulaic structures that long-time fans might grow tired of, having heard them often. But after 20 years and 10 albums before it, I Run With Wolves utilizes Manafest's genre-blending skills and rhythmic songwriting to reach out to those struggling in life and offer hope.

 

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