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So I'm really enjoying the album! Like, a lot. By far some of your best work in my opinion. Unfortunately, when I got my flash drive, it didn't want to be read by a computer. Is there a solution for this issue that I may be overlooking?
I dont think i ever recieved an email with the download for the album
Ok here's my honest thoughts on the album, criticisms included. It's kinda a long review, I know. Anyone please feel free to discuss or rebuttal me.
Right off the bat, I'll tell you Stones challenges The Chase as my favorite Manafest album. The actual music has a very high production quality. There aren't many Christian artists even still trying the rap/rock genre. Since the dcTalk days, it's been one of my favorite styles of music. Some might call it dated. But because no one else is doing this, I'd call it refreshing and extremely welcomed. Does Stones put on a rock clinic? No. Is it a technical masterpiece? No. Those things have never been necessary for a Manafest album to be successful. However, there are some really nice musical moments on the album that have me looking forward to the instrumental version that I'm sure we'll get down the road. For example, the bulk of the music on House of Cards is kinda cookie cutter and on the first couple of plays I wasn't feeling it. But the guitar solo near the end might be the most un-Mana-like sound he's ever done. And it rocks! The track has really grown on me. I want more of that kind of guitar work all over whatever Manafest does next. Also, the tone set in When The Truth Comes Out is a little more edgy than most of the songs in his entire library. It's probably my second favorite track on the record. In addition, the melodies across the album are as catchy as ever. The tracks flow nicely together as the album progresses. For me, there's only one song that doesn't draw me in with its sound. Won't Give Up is just out of place. But more on that track later. Let's be honest, Chris is never gonna win vocalist of the year. His singing voice isn't why he's one of my favorite musicians of all time. That said, these vocals are simply some of the strongest and best recordings he's ever offered. The title track, Stones, is exactly what fans want and expect. It easily fits in with any of Mana's best songs. And that lyric video where he throws stones through hanging pieces of glass that have the lyrics written on them is awesome! You're Gonna Rise is the CCM radio ballad. I usually roll my eyes at these types of songs. But it's actually really good. Halfway through and I forget I'm supposed to be too snobby for this kind of track. I might even sing along. Job well done! While I prefer Manafest to sway a little more to the rap side of his talents, such as the songs Live On and Turn It Up from his Citizens Activ record, this album sure quenches my rock thirst. That's especially true with the two songs Firestarter and Find a Way to Fight. They could easily be mistaken as TFK tracks. My favorite song on the album is Coming Back. One reviewer from Jesusfreakhideout.com described it as an easy going west coast surf-hop vibe. That's a perfect description. It's laid back summer fun. Amplifier is another great track. In fact, as much as I frown at albums with only 10 tracks, the album probably should have ended here. It has a sense of completion to it. Also, Alica Simila makes the albums only guest appearance on Amplifier and absolutely brings some much needed diversity to this album barren of the usual collaborations I've come to expect on a Manafest record. Perhaps being an independent artist with a smaller budget is the reason there's such a lack of other artists on this release. I'm not really sure because that didn't seem to stop him on the last release, Reborn, that was chalked full of guest appearances. It's not a deal breaker but I do think if there had been a few artist collaborations it would have been the punch this album needed to knock The Chase down from its first place pedestal. As for how the album wraps up, I kind of dislike the last track, Won't Give Up. It's not a bad song. It just doesn't fit with the sound established on the rest of the album. It feels like a B-side from The Moment. I do find myself sometimes skipping this one. It's unfortunate cause it has some of the better lyrics on the album. It works best when I plug it in somewhere else on a bigger Manafest playlist.
One criticism I have is that the lyrical content can be cliche and vague at times compared to prior Manafest offerings. Examples of this would be on Blow You Away and Merry Go Round. Both songs sound terrific but sometimes all I hear is blah, blah, blah. If you go all the way back to the albums Epiphany and Glory, Chris gets pretty personal with his songs. And I don't just mean the story about his fathers suicide. I felt like I got to know Manafest a little bit through his lyrics. In his defense though, when an artist releases as many albums as Mana has, I completely understand that he's not going to want to retell the same life stories over and over. I just wish Manafest would have told more of a personal story from his life that I can easily relate to. But I can't hold it against him this deep into his discography if the lyrics aren't mind altering insightful into the real life of Chris Greenwood. He's revealed so much already in older songs. Lastly, the album is slightly less Christ centered than records past. The theme of Stones seems to be mostly about overcoming your obstacles and conquering fear. It's implied more than a few times that following Christ is the way to achieve those personal victories. I only wish there was more emphasis on a clear presentation of the salvation message of the Gospel. Especially now that I have a 2 year old that's absorbing everything. But in a Christian rock market where it's somehow becoming acceptable for artists to flat out drop F bombs in the name of "being real", I'm not bothered too much by lyrics that focus a little less on having a relationship with Jesus. Besides, you'd have to live under a rock to not know what Manafest stands for and who he represents. So a few weak lyrics in an otherwise wonderful sounding album from start to finish just works for me.
I guess one last tiny critique would be that I just want a little more. The 11 tracks clock in around 39 minutes. I can't say that's exactly a short album. And I don't think any track needed to be extended. But I would have liked to see one or two more songs. Actually, what I'd love is if Manafest re-recorded a couple of his old songs to give them a sound and vocal upgrade. Tracks like My Own Thing, Feel It, Childs of Light, Rockin' Me or My Life would really benefit from a revisit and a new treatment. Or I might even be open to a cover song if he picked a track from an old Christian band. But now I'm making requests instead of reviewing the album...
Overall, even with the couple of small nitpicks I mentioned above, I love this album. I was a kickstarter backer so I received Stones a few weeks early. I've had it basically on nonstop repeat since. I just checked my iTunes play counter. Wow. I'm already over 80 play throughs of the entire record. Manafest is one of my favorite artists and I think this release is one of his best. I give Stones 4 out of 5 stars.
I haven't received my package yet.�
Hello, when should I expect my pakage to show up? Is there a tracking feature for our stuff or what?
Hey Mana, Are we gonna get the Stones Instrumentals? I'm listening to the Reborn Instrumentals right now and I'm really enjoying them.
Loving the album! I'll write a small review once I've given it enough spins. Thanks Mana!
I got my vinyl today and am loving it.
Love the new album. It has a lot of variety in it. Awesome job!
I am so happy to have gotten my signed CD. It is such a great birthday present, thank you!
Got my stuff but my flash drive doesn't work. So sad!
Got my tshirt,cd, and USB today. Non stop play this weekend. Thanks so much sir. Keep it going - much love and support for your future.
Can't wait to get the vinyl in hear it. This is the second album that I've supported you on and you always surprise me. Keep up the great work. And may the Lord show you further insight everyday.
Has anyone heard anything about the vinyls?
Woo! This album is going to be huge bro, know it. Congrats on the funding! ✌��
Wishing all the best on this new album! I know that you will continue to spread God's word through your amazing songs!
Come on!!! Hurry up and get funded already!!!!
Been a fan since hearing Skills on the radio in 2005. I'm a pretty big Christian music junkie going as far back as the 80's and I gotta say, Mana has to be in my top 5 artists. I can't wait for Stones.
Hey everyone I wanted everyone to know that MANAFEST is a class act. I have supported him for years now. Anyone that likes his music should check out Patreon.com/Manafest and sign up and support him. I also know this KICKSTARTER project is a great way to show support to him and get his music to as many people as possible I have seen him live on tour many times he puts on a great show. His Manafest facebook page is awesome as well with funny posts and music videos check him out on tour in 2017 and support his new STONES album coming out later this year!!!
I just want to say thank you Manafest for your amazing music. I have been listening to you for six years! I only saw you perform live twice. You put on a good show. I hope you will continue making music for the ones who are searching for hope. God bless. Stay strong. ��
Alright, I've sent this to the people I know have liked one of your songs in the past: