Shred god Toby Knapp returns with his new solo album “Static Warfare” emerging like a blazing phoenix from the ashes of a challenging number of years during which time original Onward vocalist Michael Grant unexpectedly passed away halting any future musical activities under the Onward banner. After relocating in New York in hopes of taking Godless Rising to the next level, the gifted guitarist next turned his focus into creating a new solo album. Taking a look at everything happening around him in the world “Static Warfare” became the most fitting title for the new solo album as the ever present threat of nuclear war continues to dominate the headlines. “Static Warfare” assaults the listener with an all encompassing barrage of heavy six-string artillery. Toby recently took the time from his busy schedule to speak with Metal-Rules.com about “Static Warfare” as he and Shred Guy Records prepare for the album’s much anticipated release.
“Today I have lost a dear and close friend, a band mate, and a heavy metal brother. Michael Grant passed away on May 31, 2012 at Glendale Memorial Hospital in Glendale, CA after a relatively brief but serious illness. He was 39 years old. He was peaceful and surrounded by family at the time of his passing. Michael recorded and toured with several bands throughout his career most notably Onward on Century Media Records and more recently Crescent Shield on Cruz del Sur Music.
Michael’s rich and powerful baritone and clean melodic vocal style made him a distinct voice in heavy metal. He was known for crafting memorable vocal hooks and layered harmonies. He often weaved multiple vocal phrases together creating a complex and striking tapestry of vocal melodies. Perhaps most notable however was the passion Mike sang with. He could evoke the strength and grandiloquence of the mightiest metal warrior or the mournful atmosphere of a passing life.
Mike was more than just a singer though. He was a greatly talented songwriter and lyricist. Although he didn’t play an instrument, he would often write complete songs by humming guitar lines and vocalizing drum beats. His lyrics were profound, evocative and often personal. He was a true lover of heavy metal and would sing its praises with a sense of poetry and grandeur. No matter the topic: journeys into the unknown, the choices we make in life, religious dogma, or a crimson moonrise, Mike always delivered a moving message with unique elegance.
Writing, recording, and performing music with Mike in Crescent Shield was a joy. We were in synch creatively and complimented each other’s abilities very well. We produced music for the love of it. We performed for the love of it. Crescent Shield’s pinnacle performance at Keep It True 08 in Germany was a dream come true for both of us.
Working with Mike was the most creatively rewarding experience of my life. Although the band has been on hiatus for a while, Mike and I still were writing new material and his voice and creative energies were still in top form. Losing him at such a young age is both shocking and tragic. I will miss my musical companion, my metal brother, and my friend.
Memorial plans and gift/donation designations have not yet been arranged. Please check back soon for more information.”
Guitarist Toby Knapp has reactivated the power metal band ONWARD with a new lineup, now including Dean Sternberg (vocals / bass – ex-INTO ETERNITY) and Andy Jones (drums – ex-GODLESS RISING).
In the past, Dean Sternberg was singer at the last Onward live shows and voalist on Toby Knapp’s solo album, Misanthropy Divine (2008, Rock It Up Records). This lineup will record the new studio album, entitled Cauldron Of Regeneration, which will be released in late summer via Rock It Up Records.
Toby states: “Musically this album will return to the sound of Onward’s debut, Evermoving.”
As very special guest Toby’s good friend JOE STUMP will plays some guitar parts on Cauldron Of Regeneration. Further details to follow.
From his early beginnings at Shrapnel Records with his debut offering "Guitar Distortion", through his impressive run as a Century Media recording artist with his power metal outfit Onward; Toby Knapp remains a force to be reckoned wit in the underground metal community. Fresh off an ill fated tour as a session guitarist for the Swedish melodic death metal band Soilwork, Toby is as busy as ever working on music for Godless Rising, continuing his solo legacy and as you will soon learn has become a staunch defender of "American Metal" sure to leave some Swedish counterparts – ahem – pissed off…
Originally planning to meet in San Antonio on his birthday during the Soilwork tour, I received word from Toby himself that he would have to cancel as he left the road after the Canadian dates. Toby did however make time in his hectic schedule for the following chat…