Lovebites – Electric Pentagram

Lovebites - Electric PentagramIt’s power metal March with Japan’s Lovebites dropping their excellent third album. Get ready to headbang.

The entire premise of an “all-girl band” tends to lead to scepticism and the prejudice that said band is just about the looks and the publicity instead of being serious about the music. Of course, it’s a nonsense description description to begin with. You never hear people talk about an all-male band after all. Have you ever heard someone call Iron Maiden an all-sexagenarian metal band? Neither have I. Be that as it may, there will be people who might be quick to dismiss Japan’s Lovebites as a novelty act existing solely on the all-girl gimmick alone. These people are of course wrong and will deprive themselves of some bloody excellent power metal in the process. The band has just dropped its third album Electric Pentagram and though it’s a bit long in the tooth at an exact seventy minutes, it’s an absolute triumph.

Rising from the ashes of Destrose, Miho and Haruna formed Lovebites back in 2015 and the band has been working hard ever since to get where they’re at now, releasing two EP’s and two full-length albums in the last three years alone and culminating in their first live release Daughters of the Dawn – Live in Tokyo in 2019. Having just released their third album Electric Pentagram, the band’s star is sure to shine even brighter from here on, because this is easily their best work yet. What these ladies bring to the table is some pure Iron Maiden worship (the fantastic Golden Destination), neoclassical power metal (Holy War, When Destinies Align) and brutal, old-school thrash (Set the World on Fire). 

Lovebites

From the off, the playing is insanely tight. The riffing and the rhythm section on opener Thunder Vengeance deliver a machine-gun paced barrage of in-your-face heavy metal, and that basically keeps going for the next seventy minutes, with only A Frozen Serenade offering a moment’s respite with a more power ballad like approach. The rest of the album rumbles along at a frantic pace, interspersing heavier songs like Raise Some Hell and Set the World on Fire with more traditional power metal fair like Signs of Deliverance or Holy War. Sometimes Lovebites slows down to a Maiden-like gallop, but overall these girls move along at top speed. The highlight during all of these is undoubtedly the guitar work by Midori and Miyako. Their soaring twin leads turn every song into a delight, from the powerful riffing (Raise Some Hell!) to the melodic solo spots and the Malmsteen-esque, neoclassical noodling, it’s all glorious. The only thing on Electric Pentagram that might be an acquired taste are Asami’s vocals, which can take some getting used to and might be off-putting to some people. It’s not that she can’t hold a tune, but she does veer on the shrill side now and then, and her thick Japanese accent makes it hard to figure out what she’s singing from time to time. It definitely took me a while to get used to but I can see how people might pass on the band altogether because of it.

In the end, Electric Pentagram is an immensely enjoyable record by a band that really knows what it’s doing. It’s a really varied platter that feels like it could have been shorter and does drag a little near the end. Not because the material isn’t good, but more because we’ve been pummeled with grade-A power metal for over an hour already. If you can get over the vocals, there is some sublime stuff on this album and it’s been getting a lot of spins over here for the past month. Highly recommended stuff and I for one can’t wait to see Lovebites live when they ever hit the country (and coronavirus permitting, of course).

Label: Victor Entertainment, 2020

Track listing:

  1. Thunder Vengeance 5:33
  2. Holy War 5:57
  3. Golden Destination 6:03
  4. Raise Some Hell 5:21
  5. Today Is The Day 5:51
  6. When Destinies Align 6:06
  7. A Frozen Serenade 6:48
  8. Dancing With The Devil 5:09
  9. Signs Of Deliverance 5:09
  10. Set The World On Fire 5:47
  11. The Unbroken 6:31
  12. Swan Song 6:27

Line-up:

  • Asami – vocals
  • Midori – guitars
  • Miyako – guitars, keyboards
  • Miho – bass
  • Haruna – drums

Further surfing:

Review by Ralph Plug

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