Live in Concert

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Chris Greenwood (aka Manafest) is generally billed as a Christian rapper, but on the evidence provided by his first live album, he's as much singer as rapper, and his style owes as much to metal as to hip-hop. The 12-song set finds him jumping back and forth between metallic-flavored hip-hop and rap-flavored metal songs, delving (not very successfully) into swinging 12/8 funk rhythms and (more successfully) power ballads. There are good hooks scattered throughout the album, and his band sounds fantastic: the musical texture offers a consistently satisfying balance of crunchy and chewy. The album's biggest weakness is Greenwood's between-song patter, much of which focuses blandly on putting one's fists in the air, getting this party started, checking as to whether these Canadians came to party tonight, etc. There is one genuinely touching moment of testimony-bearing right around the middle of the set, in which he spends much of his time talking about how he overcame his fear and shyness as a youngster, but most of the album's highlights are strictly musical: the excellent midtempo rocker "Renegade," a brilliant power ballad of spiritual encouragement titled "Every Time You Run," the bouncing rap-metal of "Bounce." "No Plan B" is a great song with an underwhelming lyric (as hooks go, "Gotta stick to the plan" is no "I'm on fire") and "The Chase" matches an awkward verse with a genuinely rousing chorus, to surprisingly good effect. Along with the CD, the package also includes two DVDs: one a video document of the same concert, another a bonus disc of interviews and song videos.

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