Thursday, July 27, 2017

SEVENTH DAY SLUMBER "Found"

(c) 2017 VSR Music Group

  1. Sky Is Falling
  2. Horizon
  3. Found
  4. Sins Of Our Fathers
  5. Heart On My Sleeve
  6. Mercy Meets My Pain
  7. Til The End
  8. Tomorrow Breaks (Into The Fire)
  9. Fallen
  10. My Last Words
Joseph Rojas--Lead Vocals, Guitars
Jeremy Holderfield--Lead Guitars
Ken Reed--Bass
Blaise Rojas--Drums, Percussion

I first encountered Seventh Day Slumber about 12 years ago, or so, when I was rummaging through a used CD store in Denver, Colorado.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s, and was a big fan of the arena/hair metal genre, so when I found this CD called Picking Up The Pieces by Seventh Day Slumber, I had to snag it.  Why?  Because the track listing included "When The Children Cry", and I had to know if it was the same song that was done by White Lion.  Ignoring all of the other tracks on the CD, I popped the disc in and immediately tracked to "...Children...", and sure enough it was the same song.  The singer had a much lower range than Mike Tramp, and the feel of the song was a bit grungier than the original, but it was still the same song, and I found myself liking the approach the band had taken. Also, being a huge fan of the Christian hard rock/metal sub-genre, and owning every Stryper, Whitecross, Guardian, and Skillet CD out there, I was also appreciative of the message the band delivered on the rest of the album (once I got around to listening to it), and I mentally filed the band away as one that I'd check out further at some point.

Flash forward to 2017, and I am still a fan of the Christian hard rockers, having seen them in concert a couple of times and getting the chance to meet them, as well.  I pretty much own the band's catalog (minus their first couple of very hard to come by independent releases), and have been generally pleased with the majority of the band's output through the years (you can read reviews of We Are The Broken and Redline).

Found is the band's first full-length release in over five years, and one that finds the band doing what they do best, wrapping solid hard-but-radio accessible rockers around a couple of emotional ballads, challenging listeners to dig deep inside themselves to work through questions of self-worth, pain, faith, and redemption.  Never shying away from their faith, Seventh Day Slumber has always delivered a powerful message with powerful music, and Found is certainly not the exception.

The album kicks off in fine fashion with the hard-driving "Sky Is Falling", which features a nice guitar hook from Holderman right out of the gate, a solid bass line from Reed, and the smooth, emotion-laced tenor of Rojas, all of which have been trademarks of the band for several albums now.  What is new, however, is the strong drum performance of Blaise Rojas, who took over the drummer's seat on Redline, and who showcases solid musical growth throughout Found.  On "Sky Is Falling", the strength of the drums is evident right from the start, and the younger Rojas finds himself perfectly in the mix of the track, not only as the timekeeper for the band, but as an interesting part of the listening experience.  It's nice to hear that he is allowed to expand past the simplistic rhythms and patterns frequently utilized by younger musicians.

"Horizon" finds the band slipping into a bit more melodic territory, while still maintaining an upbeat rock tempo.  Solid backing vocals add to the depth here, and I'm betting this track will find itself on the radio in the near future, as well as in the band's setlist for shows.  The track flows very well with an easy-to-sing chorus, but I do wish Holderfield's guitar had been given the chance to voice a nice, melodic solo somewhere between chorus sections on this song about persisting through the hard times and not taking your eyes off the Prize.

The album's lead single is also the title track, and "Found", the song, is a powerful example of Rojas laying himself bare emotionally.  The singer says the song is one that really touches him deeply when he performs it, and it is definitely one that many people will likely identify with when they hear it.  Seamlessly melding in a section of "The Old Rugged Cross", "Found" is one of the better ballads the band has ever put on an album, in my opinion, and is likely to be one of the biggest Christian rock hits of 2017.

Back-to-back tracks ramp the album back up into hard rocking territory, with "Sins Of Our Fathers" and "Heart On My Sleeve".  Both are excellent rockers, and "Heart...", in particular, really gives Holderfield a chance to shine on a muscular solo that fights its way to the forefront before the final, catchy chorus section kicks in.  Really good stuff here on both of these tracks that are guaranteed to please fans of the hard-edged tracks from We Are The Broken or Redline, or for fans of the gritty radio rock put out by bands like Skillet and Thousand Foot Krutch.

Things slow back down a bit with consecutive ballads, the piano-based "Mercy Meets My Pain", and the more power ballad-styled, "Til The End".  While neither is a bad song, by any stretch, placing them sequentially, and just a couple of songs separated from "Found", kind of bogs the album down a touch here, and I probably would have moved "Til The End"...well...toward the end of the record, just for pacing reasons.  In fairness, I really like "Til The End", and it holds a great message of redemption, with a chorus of "tomorrow you will wake up, its another day of, mercies that will never end...", while also encouraging the listener to "let go of the past, let go of those ways, let go of all the anger, all of the mistakes".  A great message, just perhaps placed in a bad spot, tempo-wise.

Once again, the rock returns with "Tomorrow Breaks (Into The Fire)", which is one of the top four songs on the record, without question.  One of the true strengths of this band, for me, has always been the way Joseph can just glide his tenor across a pretty hard rocking track like this one with seemingly no strain or effort at all, but without compromising the grit necessary to maintain the edginess of the track.  Holderfield can be heard constantly churning in the background with some really good rhythm work, and Reed weaves a pulsing bass thread throughout the track.  Good, good stuff.

"Fallen" continues the rock assault, and I wish the record had closed with this track, just to leave me with a fist in the air moment.  Understandably, however, the band chooses to close with the praise and worship-styled "My Last Words".  A track which I would call an "uptempo ballad", if that makes sense, "My Last Words" features some nice string work, acoustic rhythm guitars...and...do I hear a slide guitar, also(?)...on a track that bears a strong resemblance to "Found" as far as tempo goes.  I could see CCM stations picking up on this track in a big way, while rock stations may pass it over in favor of the grittier material on this record.

I'm not going to deny I'm always a fan of the harder material, regardless of the band, and the case is no different with Found.  This new album has plenty of those hard-edged moments, and while they don't do anything to really push the boundaries of what 7DS is known for, I don't think they need to, either.  After all, Seventh Day Slumber has always been about the message, with the way that message is delivered being a secondary concern.  Thankfully, the band continues to deliver that message in a way that this old rocker can really appreciate and rock out with, while also sharing it with the next generation of rockers coming up in my household!

Rating: A solid album throughout, with several punchy rockers for the listener to chew on, while absorbing the positive messages of the slower moments.  Well-written, nicely produced and skillfully performed, crank this to a 7.5!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

QUIET RIOT "Road Rage"

(c) 2017 Frontiers Records

  1. Can't Get Enough
  2. Getaway
  3. Roll This Joint
  4. Freak Flag
  5. Wasted
  6. Still Wild
  7. Make A Way
  8. Renegades
  9. The Road
  10. Shame
  11. Knock Em Down
Frankie Banali--Drums
Alex Grossi--Guitars
Chuck Wright--Bass
James Durbin--Lead Vocals

Quiet Riot is one of those names that instantly triggers a memory for me.  I can still recall popping Metal Health into my cassette player in my first car and cranking the title track and "Cum On Feel The Noize" as loud as my Kenwoods would go, then rewinding the tape and doing it all over again...and again.  I think it honestly took me a full week to get to side two, I was so in love with the metallic assault that was Side A.

Of course, there is a lot of history following that landmark album and this newest effort: the change in style and sound with the replacement of Kevin DuBrow with Paul Shortino on lead vocals, the return of DuBrow...and his untimely death...the ill-fated, Jizzy Pearl-fronted 10 album, and several other stops and starts along the way, even with Road Rage.  Left for dead several times, the band finds itself once again about to release an album, nearly 35 years after Metal Health blasted onto the scene, and once again met with questions and concerns from die-hard fans who have been with the band since the pre-Metal Health days with Randy Rhoads on guitar.  

Drummer Frankie Banali is the lone-surviving member from the Metal Health days, but he finds himself flanked by familiar faces, as long-time bassist (1985-87, 1994-97, 2004-07, 2010-present) Chuck Wright helps to keep the rhythm steady for the band, and Alex Grossi (2004-07, 2010-present) contributes on guitars.  The newest, and surely the most-scrutinized, member of the band is new lead vocalist, James Durbin, who joins the Quiet Riot family on this new album.  Durbin is, of course, most well-known to music fans as a Top 4 finalist on Season 10 of American Idol, where he frequently performed hard rock and metal songs on the show, putting his spin on songs by Aerosmith, Journey, Queen, Sammy Hagar, and Judas Priest, among other more mainstream acts.

For those who may not have been following the band recently, this new album was actually already finished and ready to be put out back in March with previous singer, Seann "Tarsha" Nichols, but things went a bit astray, Nichols was shown the door, Durbin was hired, and he re-recorded the entire album before its release to media outlets by Frontiers Records.  

The album starts off with an okay lead in, as "Can't Get Enough" is catchy enough, with a solid, uptempo guitar riff and some thumping drums, but there is absolutely nothing about this track that sounds Quiet Riot to me.  In fact, when the music is coupled with Durbin's Bon Scott snarl, "Can't Get Enough" sounds like an AC/DC cover band's attempt at an original track.  Seriously.  And you know, what...they do it pretty darn well.  I even find myself liking this song, to be completely candid, but at no point do I feel like I am listening to Quiet Riot.  There is absolutely ZERO metallic edge here, just the barroom three-chord shuffle rock that AC/DC is so famous for.  

"Getaway" leads in with a Middle Eastern sitar before settling into a Zeppelin guitar riff (hmmm...hasn't this been done before...BY ZEPPELIN???), and I found myself seriously questioning why this record was labelled as a Quiet Riot record.  I was only on track two and I still had not found anything Quiet Riot about this album.  Now, "Getaway" is absolutely NOT a bad track.  In fact, I like it...a lot!  If I had to rank them in order of favorites, "Getaway" would probably be my third favorite track on the record.  It really is catchy, has a cool groove, features some nice fret work from Grossi, and Durbin sounds pretty confident here.  The only problem is that it just doesn't sound like Quiet Riot.

"Roll This Joint", for lack of a better description, is just plain silly and juvenile lyrically.  I mean, come on, when a song resorts to referencing Cheech and Chong, you know things aren't going in a good direction!  Musically, "...Joint" isn't a horrible track; in fact, it has a pretty catchy hook to it that 80s fans are going to feel like they have heard before (think Whitesnake when you spin this song and you will know what I'm talking about).  Durbin's vocals hint at getting off key a bit on the bridge here (where the Cheech and Chong reference drops in), but he manages to reign them back in just enough to keep my ears from nudging my finger into skip mode.  Grossi has a nice solo here, but the insipid lyrics are a total turn-off for me.  Perhaps if I had been (or was still) a stoner, I could find some sort of wry humor here, but after finishing this review, I have never cued that song up again.  Not once.

Its not until track 4, "Freak Flag", that longtime fans of the band are going to feel like they are listening to an actual Quiet Riot song, and from here through about track 9, things are actually pretty good.  "Freak Flag", which is easily a top four track here, has a solid Metal Health or Condition Critical-era feel to the music, and Durbin adds a younger DuBrow edge to his vocals that I think classic fans will find themselves acknowledging and even appreciating.  If nothing else, it gives the listener hope that Durbin will be able to deliver the goods on the classic material in a live setting.  There is a wicked little guest-vocal spot from one Mr. Alice Cooper (at least it sounds like Cooper...I don't see him credited anywhere in the press release) here that adds to the cool factor of the song, and I found myself returning to this track repeatedly while writing this review as an example of what I think Quiet Riot could still be given the right material.

"Wasted" finds Durbin using a lower vocal range for parts of the verses which is actually pretty cool as it gives the track a Dangerous Toys kind of feel when he shifts back up the vocal scale.  In fact, even the music here reminds me of Dangerous Toys, although it isn't quite as aggressive as most of the Dangerous Toys rockers that come to my mind right now.  Solid, steady rhythm work and some catchy guitar licks are included here, although I'm not really sure why Grossi chose to exit the song with some simple chord progressions rather than ripping into a killer outro of some sort.  

"Still Wild" is my favorite cut on the album and is a track that musically has more in common with the Shortino-era of the band than it does anything DuBrow even did.  Even here, Durbin sounds more like Bon Scott than anyone else, although he does lower his range to a more bluesy moan in the middle section of the track where the song morphs into a slower, Whitesnake/Zeppelin groove and guitar solo before the final chorus section leads the song home.  I really, really like this song and wish the entire album had gone in this direction.

"Make A Way" continues in this bluesier vein to a large degree and, not surprisingly, it is another song that is easily in the better half of the material here.  Again sporting more of the Shortino-styled groove and feel, there is even a harmonica solo thrown into the mix to give it that bluesy feel that is driven so well by the guitar work of Grossi.  Not as memorable as some of the other tracks, but still in the solid section of the record.  

"Renegades", much like "Freak Flag", has a really nice DuBrow-era feel to it.  The backing vocals on the chorus really go a long way to support the lead vocals, and the verses...especially the second one...really hearken back to a young DuBrow, with some spit and sneer to the tone.  This...THIS...is what most people are going to wish the entire album sounded like, and I would have definitely been happy with this direction also (although, again, I would have preferred more stuff like the Shortino-esque "Still Wild").  A nice solo from Grossi ushers in the final chorus section on this song which has the most 80's feel to it of anything here.  Top four for me, no question.

"The Road" is the big ballad of the record, and it is an extremely well-done song.  Neck and neck with "Still Wild" for my favorite track on the album, this song is everything the big 80s ballads were.  Lighters in the air..carefully so we didn't ignite the hair of the person next to us...swaying back and forth, "The Road" absolutely soars out of the speakers here!  Durbin sings his tail off on this one and Grossi absolutely rips through a solo here.  My main complaint is that I wish the song had been at least another turn through the chorus longer, so that Grossi could have dropped in another solo break, followed by a huge outro section, because at just 3:40, this thing is almost a tease; it is that dang good.  Love this song and its execution.

"Shame" is pretty forgettable, and perhaps that owes at least in part to the killer track ahead of it.  Regardless, other than another Zeppelin vibe, there isn't a lot to note about this track, although Wright works a pretty cool bass line throughout the song.  Just a very "meh" moment for me.

Album closer, "Knock Em Down" closes things out pretty well, with the glammiest sounding effort on the record.  Its a solid rocker with a pretty catchy chorus, but it pales next to a track like Crashdiet's "Knokk 'Em Down", as there is little in the way of attitude or angst here, which makes the name (and chorus) of the song somewhat misleading.  Not bad, but not a song I find myself excitedly tracking to at any point. 

One thing I don't particularly care for here is the production of the record, which comes across as rather flat.  There is no muddiness or anything of that nature, but there is no polish, nothing jumps out of the speakers at you, and for a drummer like Banali, the percussion sounds here are rather muted and mundane.  I also found myself constantly hoping for some big, gang-shouted vocals, but they were never there.  Perhaps these are issues that are addressed before Road Rage is released, but I fear that this is the final mix and how things will come across on the CD, with a once mighty band like Quiet Riot sounding like they were recording on a garage band's budget.  Had they been given the "big band = big sound" treatment, I think they could have squeezed a bit more life out of this record.

Overall, this is NOT a bad record.  Again, most of the section from tracks 4 through 9 is actually really, really good.  In fact, I'd say tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 would make a really solid EP that I would find myself returning to.  But filler material at the beginning and end of the record bookends the good stuff, and track 5 interrupts the flow of things for me.  

For most people who seek this album out, however, the real issue is going to be the band seemingly searching for an identity throughout the the record, at times looking back to the blusier sound they steered for with Shortino, while at other times teasing the metal-tinged style that DuBrow and Banali elevated the band to superstar status with.  The problem is that most of the time they are actually somewhere in between, but never do they truly manage to capture the Quiet Riot of the past...regardless of the incarnation you prefer...nor do they really do anything to advance the style and sound of the band to something new.

Rating:  Rock-worthy, regardless of what some seem to think of it, I give Road Rage a 6.5 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

MANAFEST "Stones"

(c) 2017 Manafest Productions

  1. Stones
  2. House Of Cards
  3. Firestarter
  4. When The Truth Comes Out
  5. Find A Way To Fight
  6. You're Gonna Rise
  7. Blow You Away
  8. Coming Back
  9. Merry Go Round
  10. Amplifier (featuring Aicia Simila)
  11. Won't Give Up
Chris Greenwood (Manafest)--All Lead Vocals

Musicians
Mike McPherson--Drums (2)
Mike "X" O'Connor--Bass (2,3) Guitars (2,3,5,6,7,9,10) Keys/Programming (2,3,5,7,9, 10 ) Drums (3) 
Adam Stark--Guitars (2)
Seth Mosley--Guitars (2,6, 10) Bass (10) Keys/Programming (2,3,6,9,10) 
Joe Rickard--Guitars (3,5,7,9) Drums (3,7,9) Bass (3,9) Keys/Programming (3,5,7)
Kevin "Thrasher" Gruft--Guitars (4)
Johnny Litlen--Programming (4)
Taylor Dexter--Drums (8) 

As I have gotten older, I have expanded my musical horizons to a large degree, but there are always the common elements of catchy songwriting, hard-edged guitar work, and a dynamic vocal presence, in nearly everything I choose to listen to.  As a father, I am also very conscious of what I expose my still-young children to lyrically, and I find myself losing patience with acts who feel the need to fill every song with a dictionary full of vulgarity and profanity.  Hey, I can stomach an F*bomb on a song or two in an album, but every song, of every album, all the time?  No thanks...I'll pass.

As a Christian who also happens to be a fan of hard music and supports a huge number of the acts in the scene, I find referring back to my first statement, as my musical horizons have expanded to include the "active rock/modern hard rock" genre, including some of the rap-rock that would've been lumped under the Nu-Metal umbrella in the 90s.  It is because of this expansion of my musical tastes that I was first introduced to Manafest.

Manafest (real name Chris Greenwood) is a rapper/rocker from Canada who has actually been around for quite some time now.  I first encountered his music while listening to a Christian/Positive Rock station out of Orlando, FL, when I heard the song "Bring The Ruckus", which comes from his 2010 album, The Chase.  I liked the tune pretty well with its hard-edged guitars, catchy chorus, and modern, edgy production, so I played it for my boys, who also loved it.  So I snagged The Chase off of eBay and gave it a listen.  What I discovered was a really good modern rock record that was sometimes rapped, sometimes sang, sometimes screamed, and nearly always packed with some really solid modern guitar work, hard-hitting (although frequently programmed) drums, and some crafty hooks to draw the listener in, while also utilizing positive, uplifting, and often-boldly Christian lyrics.  Thinking this was something I could get into a bit more, I ordered a couple more albums from Manafest, specifically Fighter (2012), and The Moment (2013).  Again, the albums had some pretty catchy, hooky music, with several songs featuring solid, edgy guitars, and a healthy dose of backing vocals/chorus vocals from Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch, who was also all over the place on The Chase.  My kids, again, loved the records, but I found myself not nearly as impressed as I was with The Chase because more and more hip-hop was creeping back into the songs and the rock was being somewhat edged out.  By the time I got around to the next album, 2015's Reborn, I found it difficult for me to find much to really hang my hard rock hat on, as it was pretty much a straight up hip hop/rap album, with minor..VERY minor...rock influence and quite a bit of electronic hip hop thrown into the mix.  Definitely not my thing, and even my boys were like, "What happened to Manafest?"

When it was announced that Manafest would be recording a new, fully-independent record (as Reborn was), and that a Kickstarter campaign was in place for the record, I was hopeful that he would be returning to the sound my kids had fallen in love with and which I had a very solid respect for and enjoyed listening to.  But I also had my doubts.  Then I read where Manafest, himself, said that he was writing this album as a full-on rock project, so I decided to take a shot, and backed the project.

I am so very glad that I did.

Not only is Stones a full-on rock record, there is even less rap/hip hop on it than there was on the very good The Chase album.  In fact, there are any number of songs here that belong solidly in the mix on any active rock station or Sirius/XM's Octane channel, as they feature hard (heavy?!), crunchy guitars, some seriously furious (LIVE!) drumming, and the typical hook-laden, catchy songwriting that drew me to Manafest's music in the first place.  There is a darker, edgier vibe to the rock laid down by the numerous musicians listed in the credits above, which gives the deeper, soul-searching lyrics even more punch on Stones.   

The album opens with the title track, "Stones", which features some catchy guitar...and a slightly annoying electronic effect that runs throughout the track...and Manafest comes out with some tight rap-rock vocals that are a bit reminiscent of early TFK or Pillar.  The chorus is snappy and easy to catch onto, and there are a few fist-in-the-air-at-the-show moments, but while it was definitely a step back towards The Chase or Fighter, as far as the rock element was concerned, I wasn't overly blown away by the track.

"House Of Cards" nudged me forward, however, with some urgent, charging guitars leading into the vocals, a really nice breakdown that also features some screaming solo guitar work, and a great, positive message that is delivered with more snarl to the still rappish vocals, although those vocals are becoming more and more rock oriented.

"Firestarter" continues along the same lines as "House Of Cards" with a catchy rhythm guitar, a really nice use of hard-electronic elements, and more biting vocals that are now starting to completely lose their rap phrasing and moving fully into the hard rock style used by many of the active rock bands today.  While I know programming is used in places on this track, there is some solid drum work used here, as well, and the rhythm guitar buzzes along throughout the track, not just in a supporting role, but as a driver for the track.  

"When The Truth Comes Out" slides back to more of a hip hop style, but a catchy chorus of "when the truth comes out its LOUD!", and a decent dose of guitars keeps my interest and prevents me from reaching for the skip button.  Definitely not one of my favorite tracks, but passable.

Things start to get very loud and very aggressive once "Find A Way To Fight" hits.  A combination of crushing guitars and hard-edged electronic elements remind me of the approach Stabbing Westward used to such success in the late 90s/early 2000s.  This is a straight-up hard rocker, with the vocals no longer using the rap phrasing style at all, and a mosh pit is forming at the front of the stage as I visualize what this song would look and sound like in a live setting.  

"You're Gonna Rise" backs off the intensity of the guitars and uses an ambient, almost haunting electronic presence to lead it in, as Manafest sings...yes, sings...the verse sections of this track which I would say serves as the ballad of the record.  Whereas on previous albums Trevor McNeban would have jumped in to support the chorus, Manafest handles this part himself, proving that he has learned some very solid singing lessons from McNeban.  Melodic and emotional, this is the lighter-in-the-air moment for Stones, and I anticipate this song will be all over Christian rock radio very soon.

"Blow You Away" returns to the hard rock, as the title would imply, with more chunky guitars and pounding drums, as Manafest implores, "Save me from myself, pull me out of hell" in the pre-chorus.  There is a rap-rock element utilized in the chorus, but it's darn catchy regardless, and "Blow You Away" finds itself sitting as my third or fourth favorite track here.  

"Coming Back" is a track I have no real use for, as it is an island, reggae-influenced hip hop track that holds no interest for me.  I honestly skip it.

"Merry Go Round" goes right back after things and, depending on my mood, is either my favorite or second favorite track here.  I LOVE the catchiness of the chorus, the electronics that just have me picturing a carnival, the angst-filled vocals, and the crunch of the song.  "Tell me, I'm an Angel or Demon, You hate me, then you love me, 'til you're making me crazy!  Round and round and round we go, can't get off this Merry-Go..."  I just love this song and the message of frustration and disillusionment that I think so many kids today will be able to relate to, but with a positive note of hope and love that the listener can reach for.  Big, pounding drums and churning guitars drive the track throughout, and I find myself repeating this track two or three times whenever I pop this disc in.

"Amplifier" is a more laid back moment on the record, although not a true ballad in my book.  A smooth female co-lead vocal from Alicia Similia helps this dancefloor track along, and I would again expect that this song will find radio airplay yet this summer.  Easy to listen to, "Amplifier" is an okay track, but with the edgy rock that is all over this record, the title is a nasty little tease, as there isn't much rock being amplified here.

The record closes with "Won't Give Up" a combo song of sorts, with some punchy guitars, a dance floor beat, and straight up hip hop vocals, that was likely incorporated to keep the rap fans happy without turning the rock fans off.  Bottom half stuff for me and not overly memorable, but again, not necessarily something I'd hit skip or stop on.  People who are into the rock/rap style used to such success by Family Force 5 (which my kids are) will likely really enjoy this track (which they did).

The production is excellent here, which is often a concern on indie projects.  The packaging is a single-fold, cardboard slipcase, with a large, fold-out poster with writing and musician credits on the backside, as well as an extensive Thank You list, highlighted by a list of people who contributed on Kickstarter.  There are no lyrics included, but Manafest is pretty easy to understand and the vocals are never buried in the mix, so a few listens on even the hardest rocking tracks will allow most listeners to catch the words so they can sing along.

This is the Manafest I was hoping to hear again...for the most part...and I am very glad that I took the chance to back this record and to pick it up.  Already, I have ripped nearly half of the CD and burned it onto a Manafest mix disc featuring my favorites from his previous efforts, so that I have something to throw into the mix for the kids on road trips.  And yes, I throw it in for myself, as well.

Here's hoping Manafest does't stray from his rock roots when he decides to hit the studio again.  Hopefully he will tour close enough to my location that I am able to get my kids to one of his shows sometime soon.  I'd be very interested to see and hear how his music comes across in the live setting.

Do yourself a favor and grab Stones when it is available in late July, and go ahead and track down The Chase, Fighter, and The Moment while you are waiting for Stones to hit your mailbox or music store.

Rating:  Definitely a cranker!  Turn this up to 8!

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