Toby Knapp - The Campaign

  | CD

Toby Knapp-The Campaign Former Onward guitar virtuoso Toby Knapp manages to absolutely tear the nickel off of his guitar strings with his fourth release The Campaign. While his other releases have been terrific in and of themselves, especially 2005's Polarizing Lines, this latest one sweeps out over the room with all of the ease of an August storm over the rural smaller towns.

There is a host of vocal contributors in everyone from Jeff Gruslin of Godless Rising to Onward singer Dean Sternberg into Atilla Csihar of Mayhem on The Campaign; it's a musical expressway of spot-on metal guitar playing, especially amazing in "Telekinesis", a virtual high-speed entry into the musical mind's eye. Rounding out such a mix-and-match album is the very late Seventies-sounding "Wicked", which features vocals by Tom Cline from Noise Auction, that sounds like it could have been on AM radio way back when. It's a fun song to have on to just relax. "Reanimation" features Atilla of Mayhem, and fails to let me down; it kicks up the mood in the black metal aura Knapp sets under Csihar's delivery that is not quite Mayhem but far from AOR. It's a very subtle, yet high velocity effort just overflowing with technical substance.

A bassist by trade, it always excites me to hear a guitar album like this. After growing up hearing Blackmore, Iommi, Tipton and Downing, Malmsteen, Satriani and the like I'm ever ready to have some guitar-driven albums hit my system. The work by Knapp on The Campaign is really a top effort, showing some of the style that made Onward heralded.

"Plutonian Race" is one of the better instrumental tracks I've heard in a while, giving off the feeling of a high-speed journey in a series of circles, only to be thrust out into a vast empty as the acceleration increases accordingly. By the time the second solo hits your entire frame is a bit tight, your head possibly wrapping around the music so intently that the chaotic drumming is a welcome respite. When it fades its akin to cooling down from a rigorous exercise session; your body literally settles into a calmness, only to be kicked up again with "Lack of Inspiration." It's a great experience, even a bit exhausting.

To be honest the one drawback for me is Dean Sternberg's vocals; I realize he was Onward's singer, but his style just wasn't doing much for me, but in a near-perfect record one can overlook the little things. Some fans of Onward won't mind Sternberg's effort, which is fine; it's Toby Knapp's vision we're here for anyway.

I can highly recommend The Campaign simply due to its structurally sound music throughout and abundance of roller-coaster time changes under power chords from hell and sweeping notes of solid intricacy. Toby Knapp hits the mark.

[ Discography ] 
Label: Shredguy | Item Code: Various | Country: United States | Year: 2010 | Genre: Progressive Metal

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