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This vehicle for rising guitar talent Toby Knapp is a straight-forward power metal attack that would not have seemed out of place on Metal Blade or Combat Records in the mid ‘80s. The playing of Knapp, who is an alumnus of the similarly influential Shrapnel imprint, is beyond reproach, but there's more to the Wyoming (of all places) native's approach to his instrument than flair and fret-burning. He allows the musicians to create actual songs, and he has no problem giving a good riff ample space instead of forcing in a dozen more. Though Knapp has dabbled in other metallic styles, neo-classical thrash seems to really fit him well, and the musicians that make up Onward, especially vocalist Michael Grant whose pipes simply soar, fit in perfectly. Reawaken will reawaken fans of old Fate's Warning and Queensrÿche's more Maiden moments whether they practice arpeggios or not.

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