Released: 2006, Metalbolic Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Toby Knapp is from Wyoming, U.S.A., and could be considered some sort of a multi-instrumentalist. The guy has won his spurs in Onward earlier as a guitarist and producer of the band, so obviously most of us know him about his involvement with Onward, I suppose. Toby has got a quite diverse taste in music in general, naming everything from Jimmy Page to early Black Metal to Rush as his influences and inspirations, so one can only guess what kind of soup he can cook from all those ingredients that have influenced his musical orientation over the years.
POLARIZING LINES is completely an instrumental album, basically introducing what kind of virtuosity Toby Knapp is with his 6-stringer even if he does a whole lot of other things on this album, too. His talent and skills as a pretty phenomenal guitarist are undeniable, no doubts about that – and no one should question his merits as a gifted guitarist at all. Toby can both play killer solos as well as he knows exactly how to shred by storming around the song structures with hammer-heavy guitar riffs and well built-up rhythms. All this seems to be in his control in a great way. The title track, “Polarizing Lines” is a very good sort of tour-de-force about his sheer talent; he makes the song to sound like he becomes one with his guitar and every single piece in the song flows and clicks in so effortlessly and just perfectly. The next song, “Cosmic Conspiracy”, does exactly the same. Toby is a true musician made with big capital letters. He has a very relaxed sounding touch to his songs, like he could be jamming most of the time which is of course a definite plus.
Anyway, in order to like this instrumental album, and sort of have a deeper understanding over the songs Toby has composed and collected for POLARIZING LINES, I guess one either has to be a guitarist or musician in general in order to enjoy and appreciate the songs and certain techniques in the songs more than let´s say, some poor music journalist (just like me, ha!) who may not have enough understanding, or who isn´t enlightened enough to see any deeper into true souls of the song structures what they have actually eaten to become and be what they are, but only managed to scratch some of the surface in them. At least it should help since the fact is all the instrumentation that Toby has brought into POLARIZING LINES, demands a bit more from an average listener than just a couple of healthy pairs of ears. The man knows his skills and isn´t afraid of introducing them a bit to the listeners. POLARIZING LINES is a good instrumental record, so if you dig listening to instrumental stuff from time to time, here may be something for you, too.