The new album from Canadian rocker Manafest again offers up and is drawn from the personal inspiration of past losses and life changing events for its creator. It also once more nestles comfortably within the framework of sound the artist has forged for himself through his previous well received releases. This makes “Fighter” an album which, for many, will be inspirational and emotional, with a personal understanding individuals can draw upon, even if not a release which offers anything new to get ones teeth into. It is though, a collection of songs which is very easy to enjoy even if musically it does not light a major fire.
The life of Chris Greenwood for those unaware has gone to shape the heart and intent of his music, the suicide of his father when Greenwood was five and a promising skateboard career disappearing due to injury. The core of his music and lyrics are borne from this and others seemingly relate to with their own issues and troubles.
On the new album alone its name and the song titles all portray the do not give up attitude of his music and intentions which Manafest brings with sounds as incendiary to emotions and uplifting as you could wish. The songs may not strike into new realms but they sure get the blood pumping and lift energies.
The follow up to 2012 release “The Chase” and produced by Adam Messinger (Justin Bieber) and Seth Mosley (newsboys), the new album raises the temperature from the start with the title track. As the bell rings for the bout, the song prowls the ring of the senses with a defiant and attitude fuelled presence. The Linkin Park air is thick and surprisingly stirring, whilst the heavier Papa Roach like tones add intensity and muscle to the theme. The song offers nothing original but is fully infectious and impossible to ignore, as can be said to the following ‘Throw It Away’. With an electro breath the song plays like a mix of Silent Descent and Sugar Ray, its skin an electrified sizzling of the senses which is near irresistible and, like the opener, hard to turn away from even if one wanted to.
The Three Days Grace/Sick Puppies lined anti bullying song ‘Pushover‘ romps through the ear next, its vibrant energy and melodic ease an ignition to further addictive tendencies towards the album. The song, like the album, at times is obvious and undemanding in its direction but wow, is it a pleasing riot to play with. It almost feels like one of those naughty musical secrets and pleasures we all keep hidden from public knowledge the only difference here is one is quite happy to share it.
From the strong start the album does go through a few peaks and lulls during its course but keeps things generally intriguing throughout with tracks like the Kennedy Soundtrack sounding ‘Come Alive’ and the Hollywood Undead spiced metaller ‘Prison Break,’ ensuring further highlights though it is the excellent ‘Heart Attack’ which wins top honours on the album. With a great snarling bass spine alongside hypnotic rhythms the song is a flourishing fusion of again Silent Descent with Italian rock band Houston! and easily ticks all the right boxes for a full and invigorating enjoyment.
“Fighter” is unlikely to feature highly in best of year charts, its body too familiar and unadventurous but if releases were judged on heart and infectiousness Manafest has a winner all the way.