Released: 2015, Moribund Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Where Evil Follows is comprised of the virtuoso facemelting shred of guitarist and Onward mastermind Toby Knapp (who also handles percussion on this release) and the considerable range of vocalist/bassist Dean Sternberg (Ex- Into Eternity).
PORTABLE DARKNESS opens with "Reborn". Is this a statement? Keep in mind that shortly prior to the passing of original Onward vocalist Michael Grant there was talks of eventually reuniting Onward. Strangely enough, Where Evil Follows is actually the name of a song off of Onward's "Reawaken" album, where as PORTABLE DARKNESS might be an Aleister Crowley reference. Coincidence? Either way, "Reborn" finds axeman Toby Knapp doing what he does best, scorching the fretboard like a possessed melodic-metal madman at hyper blasting speed.
"Symbiotic" has some catchy vocal phrasing somewhat reminiscent of vintage Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) and riff after riff of Knapptastic melodic metal victory. The percussion is all engineered by Toby Knapp, much like his recent solo albums. The computerized drums don't really hinder the listening experience as Toby's guitar is always the primary focus but it would be great to hear him perform with a real drummer again at some point. "Lifting The Veil" features some guttural vocals come chorus time complementing the harmonized verses of Dean Sternberg, putting the "evil" sound in the band's branded "Evil True Metal" as emphasized on the back of the CD.
"A World Away" grabs you by the neck and shakes you unmercifully on this unholy power metal barnstormer. Dean Sternberg's vocals really soar on the choruses and aptly compliment Toby's shred wizardry. "Oppresive Grey" has that classic Onward feel and sound and to me at least really takes us down the path of what the next Onward album might have sounded like. A definite album highlight.
Maniacal laughter opens the blasphemic call-to-arms that is "Disturbing The Priest" featuring a dramatic vocal performance from vocalist Dean Sternberg and plenty of dark hypnotic atmosphere. PORTABLE DARKNESS closes with the title track of the same name, a chaotic hell-raising anthem that features both clean vocals along side gruffer, harsh vocals plus more face-melting shred. Every heavy metal guitar aficionado would do well to pick up a copy of this album for countless future air guitar noodling.
The booklet is a simple two-panel foldout with lyrics and one photo of the two-man metallic assault. Moribund Records is known for releasing some of the underground's finest and Where Evil Follows have delivered an excellent debut here. One can only hope that we'll hear more from the Knapp/Sternberg camp in the future.