Lovebites – “Clockwork Immortality” (Arising Empire)
Battle Helm Rating
Wow, talk about beasts from the east! Forming part of the burgeoning wave of all female metal outfits comes Lovebites from Japan, who are currently taking Europe by a storm, having already performed at Wacken, Bloodstock and this year winning the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards for Best New Band! Despite a fashion catwalk model look that belies the pure metal fury running through the veins of this talented 5 piece, Lovebites certainly live up to their name in being a heavy power metal band to be reckoned with. Made up of respected names from the Japanese circuit and having become underground icons to other women metallers there, the band started working on their first EP at the end of 2016, joined by the amazing engineering team of Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila from Finland who are known for their work with Nightwish, Children Of Bodom and Amorphis, before debuting with “Awakening From Abyss” in 2017. Since then things have sky rocketed for Lovebites and now comes “Clockwork Immortality” – and to say these ladies can play is something of an understatement! Clearly the clincher here is that while being Japanese, the band have grown up on the western gods of metal be it Crüe, Priest, Maiden, Helloween and Rage but moreover, individual musicians like Yngwie Malmsteen and Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth, Angra), making this a very European sounding band indeed. So, with a very wide range of influences fuelling each band member, coupled with the fact that crystal clear vocalist Asami (Vamps, Uverworld) sings in perfect english, makes Lovebites one helluva package! Driven by the fast but hugely melodic twin guitars of Midori (Gekijo★METALicche) and Mi-Ya (A Drop Of Joker, 21g), Asami brings in her bountiful soul through her angelic voice, making the material not just massively melodic, but hugely catchy whether delivered at hyper speed or at lesser, if no less exciting tempos. With Mi-Ya’s added keyboard talents adding both emotion and atmosphere during more delicate moments like on the closing ballad ‘Epilogue’, the 10 tracks on this impressive sophomore show nothing less than a band heading to the top. From the pure power metal heaven of ‘Addicted’ with its grand tones, the heavy rhythm of founders Miha (bassist bandleader influenced by Steve Harris) and drummer Haruna (Destrose) forms the driving platform for the crunching riffola of the twin guitarists, overlaid spectacularly by their possessing melodies (not to mention their incredible twin and individual soloing!) leaving Asami to power her own soulful highs to send you to heaven on this massive opener. With no letting up on the epic ‘Pledge Of The Saviour’, the rich melodies form the basis for a rock out groove that keeps the energy level stoked to the top as the unbelievable chorus laced by Mi-Ya’s orchestral keys adds even more catchy harmonies before that lethal twin axe attack starts the samurai sword frenzy on this glorious Maiden meets Helloween inspired track – excellent! Speeding up even more on ‘M.D.O’ while adding a thrash beat and more punky vocals, the arrangements of the song are brilliant to also incorporate slower heavier passages and power melodies before the shouted out chorus really works a treat thanks to the 5 female voices – and yes, the twin guitars are there once again slashing and soothing all over this pretty bruising number clearly showing where the ‘bite’ is. This outfit have definitely upped the ante, not in the least in Japan, where they put many male counterparts to shame as well as challenging social stereotypes through this impressive sophomore. As for me, I’ll just prepare for immortality!