The rock music came much more recently, but burst outta this rapper’s stockpile of weapons thanks in large part to the support of Thousand Foot Krutch frontman and fellow white rock-rapper Trevor McNevan. However this new album proves without a doubt that Manafest and his band can stand head-and-shoulders above others on his strength and that of his band alone; as he pumps out a performance worthy of any other rockers this side of Red or Linkin Park. This may be the album that allows Mana to truly hit the big-time, and yet it contains a sound that is wholly unique while also offering songs that feature Mana’s trademark rapping sound, all with a super tight production and explosive punch. This is truly a diverse album, and one in which there is not a weak-link in the entire disc. Do yourself a favor and go out and BUY THIS RECORD. You won’t be disappointed. Every song has punch, fantastic lyrics, and rockin sounds.
“Fighter” marks Manafests 6th full-length album, and this is the only album I have heard from beginning to end. This is a sad fact, but it also bodes extremely well for the appeal of Manafest, given that I am pretty much a Manafest virgin. Although I have listened to a lot of his material online. I always meant to buy his albums but never got around to it… very sad of me. I did myself a disservice, I’ll now make it a mission to add his entire discography to my collection.
Manafest made his debut with 2001′s highly-praised but little-known EP “Misled Youth” (peep the songs on youtube, you’ll be impressed) and with 2003′s “My Own Thing”, both released Independently. That was followed by his major-label debut “Epiphany” (2005). Manafest got signed thanks to being noticed by Trevor, the lead singer of TFK (who is also a Christian rapper who loves rock, is white and from Canada :P) who became friends with Mana and got him signed to the Tooth & Nail family, initially under a new rap-focused sub-label called “Uprok Records”, latter transitioning to the BEC sublabel. Epiphany is the album that put Manafest on the map as a Christian rapper with his own unique style. That album was followed up with his Sophomore album “Glory” (2006). Glory was followed two years later by “Citizens Activ”. Manafest remained active himself and kept churning out new albums, with “The Chase” dropping in 2010, his first live album, “Manafest Live In Concert”, falling in 2011 and now “Fighter” hitting in 2012.
Now let’s go through “Fighter” track-by-track, these opinions mark my INITIAL LISTEN, as I wrote this Fighter review as I listened to the album for the first time. Note: I found out later that the order I listened to the tracks in, the order given to me by BEC for my review copy, were not in the proper order as seen in the CDs actual tracklist. So I had to change some of my words around. This makes it seem like I am commenting at a time that was further than my “initial impression”, but that’s not the case. It’s just that I had to take out references to other tracks when it was in error due to the tracks being listened to in a manner that was not the original intent of the artist, since I listened to them out-of-order. Next time I’ll check online first instead of going by the order of the review copy. >_< I also left some words in even if it makes it seem out of place with the "first impression" claim. Gah. Just read it. lol.
1. Fighter – I love this song, it has “punch” that really shines through and knocks you off your feet as you first pop this disc in. The rapping in this song is done perfectly along with the rock parts and the chorus in my humble opinion. This song is definitely a high point, and a perfect radio single.
2. Throw It Away – “Christ dead, faded, how did we get so jaded? How long? Tomorrow? We can’t just throw it away.” This is an INCREDIBLE song and one of the most unique tracks on this album. This song is absolutely amazing in my opinion. All of the verses are good, and it’s a piece that makes an emotional connection with the listener (unlike some of the other songs). It not only has a rockin chorus and awesome music, but Manafest does some actual rapping on this song which is a nice change of pace; Flying in the face of most of the album which lacks his general rapping style. The message on this song is also an absolute winner. It’s hard to say, but this may actually be my favorite track, although I think I love all of them honestly…
3. Pushover – Yup. It’s official. Not a bad song on this disc. This song is another winner, it’s extremely heavy and absolutely rockin’. His vocal style on this song is different once again, and sounds a bit closer to his older rap style during the first verse. But once again he shows amazing diversity throughout this piece. The high portions of this song are absolutely off-the-chain. And the chorus is another good one. He also does some yelling in this song that gets a bit close to screaming. Not quite but still good.
4. Human – This song is INCREDIBLE. “Human” is the first real song on this album that has an emotional impact on the listener (error, listened to them out of order), and I found the verses to be really powerful. Not only that, but I can relate because a best friend of mine was just arrested recently, and I’ve yet to go visit him in prison. I’m very upset that he put himself in this compromising position, and will likely get YEARS behind bars… at the same time this song makes a powerful case and strict reminder to not forget these individuals. They may have made mistakes, but that doesn’t make them any less human. And the truth is that THEY NEED US. Because they have no one. They still bleed, they still hurt, just like the rest of us. Powerfull stuff, however I thought the song loses a bit of its luster after the second verse. I really like the chorus here, and Manafests rapping style is interesting on this song. It’s good to see him playing around with different vocal styles, it really makes his voice feel more distinctive, whereas his straight rapping voice is generally completely monotone. This another STANDOUT track!
5. Come Alive – I really like the chorus on this one, and the singing and rock parts are done great. This is a really good rock song. I’m not a big fan of the talking parts, which I always find kinda annoying in songs. But ultimately that doesn’t keep this track from being a great one, although it lacks the “punch” of Fighter. Glad they made Fighter the opener and not this track. (edit: I originally listened to this track first as it was marked as the opener on my review copy. So when I listened to Fighter, I thought… man Fighter should’ve been the opener not Come Alive! :P I fixed the text to read differently, saying I’m glad they didn’t make this the opener like I originally thought).
6. Never Let You Go – Arguably the best track on the whole album, depending on your preferences, is this slower ballad that is more like a fully-fledged worship song written by God to the listener. It’s an incredibly moving piece in both its studio and acoustic versions (you’re preference will vary) and it is sure to be a favorite for anyone who listens to it. What’s most amazing to me is the fact of whether or not Mana is actually the one singing the vocals. Did they replace him with someone else for this song or what? If they didn’t, then this is ONE HECK of an impressive singing job. I was absolutely floored. This song is full of emotion and really tugs at your heartstrings, and the chorus is outstanding. This is the type of track that can stand its own by itself, although it feels like it’s part of an entirely different album. Either way you shake it, it’s a five out of five stars track. And a HIGHLIGHT for sure! Buy it!
7. Not Alone – This song opens with a really heavy intro that is really cool. I also love the lyrical style of Mana on this song, again it’s not rap like you expect. By this time he really hammers home how great he can be as a rock artist, and his vocals on this song have all kinds of life. He shows lots of diversity, and speaks each line in a really interesting manner. I’m starting to think this album doesn’t have a single weak song…. This is another highlight. And I love the lyrics, they’re fantastic: “Broken inside, losing your sight, I know what’s it’s like to break… I know what you’re fighting for, you’re in the middle of a war, there’s still hope, you are not alone”
8. Prison Break – WOW. This song is absolutely flatout awesome. It’s amazing… this album seems to just keep getting better and better the further you listen. LOVE IT. This song is an absolutely knockout. A rock hit to stand with the best of them. And really puts Manafest in the same category as say Linkin Park or TFK, easily. The lyrics in “Prison Break” are also absolutely awesome and full of meaning. Just like I like it!
9. Heart Attack – Manafest’s custom sound comes shining through on this track, which just has that Manafest crunk to it that I love. Even though this track is more of a rock track, wouldn’t really classify it as rap in any sense of the word. But this song really proves that Manafest can hang with the best of the rock crowd. “Heart Attack” is a definite HIGHLIGHT!
10. Will You Catch Me? - This song has an interesting theme, as well as Manafest’s rapping style. It makes for an interesting mix, and is a song about a lost sheep who is a good kid but clings to the negative street lifestyle due to being ignored by those around him, his family and even the church… those who should’ve caught him as he fell. It’s an interesting concept, and this is a really good song on its own. It’s another hard rocker and I love the rapping style. Although if you listen to the album straight through, the theme begins to wear a bit stale by this point (Edit: One of the few songs on the review copy that actually lined up with its place on the actual album. No post-edits made here!). Either way, this song is still a great one and I think it’s a worthy album-ender, although it doesn’t feel like a proper closer (Edit: In error, cause the acoustic Never Let You Go, track 6 on my review copy, is the closer). Still the lyrics are fantastic, “Take this curse out of me, pull me outta the streets, I need a Savior tonight”. Excellent.
11. Never Let You Go (Acoustic) – Just as outstanding, if not moreso, than the original and a perfect closer to the album! (Edit: Woot woot! Glad to see the album end with this AMAZING piece)
If I was to rate this “Fighter” album numerically, something I don’t do, I’d give it 10 Stars out of 10 Stars. Suffice it to say, I am IMPRESSED. Mana outdid himself. BUY “FIGHTER” NOW! It’s an outstanding album!
Music Album Reviews
9. Between Here & Lost By Love And Death (helmed by Brian “Head” Welch Former Korn Lead Guitarist) [Posted: January 25 2013]
8. I AM By Becoming the Archetype (Posted: September 14th 2012)
7. Find Your Worth Come Home By To Speak of Wolves (Posted: May 25, 2012)
6. Celestial Progression (Remix Album) By Becoming the Archetype (Posted: May 21, 2012)
5 Return to Life By War of Ages (Posted: April 28, 2012)
4. Thousand Foot Krutch – The End Is Where We Begin (Posted: April 20, 2012)
3. KJ-52 – Dangerous (Posted: April 16, 2012)
2. Manafest – Fighter (Posted: April 15, 2012)
1. Demon Hunter – True Defiance (Posted: April 10, 2012)
5. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64) [Posted: January 31 2013]
4. Resident Evil: Code Veronica Review (Dreamcast) [Posted: October 5 2012]
3. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PS1, GameCube) [Posted: September 18th 2012]
2. Resident Evil 2 (GameCube) [Posted: September 3rd 2012]
1. Resident Evil Remake (GameCube) [Posted: August 14 2012]
Gilmore Girls Reviews
4. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 4 – The Deer Hunters
3. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 3 – Kill Me Now
2. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 2 – The Lorelais’ First Day At Chilton Review
1. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 1 – Pilot Review
3. The Amazing Spider-Man [Posted: December 1 2012]
2. Prometheus (Ridley Scott’s Alien Prequel) [Posted On: November 25 2012]
1. Warhorse (By Steven Spielberg) [Posted On: November 11 2012]
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