If you could put together a \m/etal band of two guitarists who were not only exceptional and can sync together as one dual run on cue, one incredible bass player who could lay down a lick that pounded your brain to a pulp, a drummer who goes non-stop like a machine and a singer who has a powerful range and sounds like an angel, who would you pick? Too late. Such a group already exists and once you hear them, their entire album will be an ongoing earworm. Although a fairly unassuming name, LOVEBITES will to beat you to a pulp, leave you at the curb and then have you begging for more. Formed in 2016 in Japan, LOVEBITES, in two short years, are making international waves.
Their second album Clockwork Immortality (out now, Arising Empire/Nuclear Blast Records) has hit the world. LOVEBITES is: Asami (vocals), Midori and Miyako (guitars), Miho (bassist) and Haruna (drums). The record is ten songs of insane and melodic heavy \m/etal. Leading the way is “Addicted”. Beginning with tasty acoustic guitar, don’t be lulled to think this will be a smooth ride, because soon you are blasted in the face with heavy drums and guitar, then assaulted with heavy dual solos. “Pledge of the Saviour” pulverizes you and keeps you tenderized with an unending attack of incredibly fast drum and guitar work. If you are exhausted by the end of song No. 2, then leave the Hall as you are not a true \m/etalhead. More please!!
Beginning similar to a symphonic \m/etal tune with incorporated keyboard, “Rising” will give you a taste of how exceptional Haruna is on the double bass drums. Like a robot on steroids, she is perfectly in time and well over 220 bpm consistently over this almost six-minute tune. In fourth position is “Empty Daydream”. A slower, albeit, still a rock and roll melodic tune with nice harmony and a bit different from the rest. An exceptional dual solo from Midori and Miyako included. I really love the essence of this track. “Mastermind 01” is a hard driving masterpiece that if bottled up, could be used as a propellant for that Top Fuel Dragster at the starting line. Flip the switch and just feel those striped lines in your eyeballs as you race down the track.
“M.D.O.” has undertones of early METALLICA, perhaps something along the Ride the Lightning era. The ladies put a definite personal twist to it (wish I knew what M.D.O. stood for) but who the hell cares if your mind is already mush at this point? “Journey to the Otherside” and “Final Collision” slow down the pace to a 100-yard dash as very tasteful numbers that are just fun to listen to. I can’t say enough about the talent of all members. It’s hard to believe that they have only been together for two years. I’ve heard bands that do not sound this tight after 15.
Next up is “We the United”. Although I cannot count as fast as these ladies can play, I swear that within the first two seconds of this song a total of 20 notes are played. It’s so fast, it’s hard for my brain to comprehend. “The Haruna Machine” once again pounds out a fast pace on the skins. All guitars keep up and do incredible side steps including a dual solo that lasts practically two solid minutes together. Never have I heard anything like this. If you don’t have a big smile on your face after this number, you must be dead. Just wow. Ending the album is “Epilogue”. Probably a fitting balad. Featuring Asami and her great vocals, along with being a slow paced and beautiful song, this takes this album to the top of the summit in my opinion.
I only found out about LOVEBITES about one week prior to this album coming out and I’ve since discovered they have a worldwide following. This is undoubtedly my favorite album of the year if not the past several years. Looking down from the top of Mount Fuji, Clockwork Immortality is the one other bands should aspire to rise up to. I feel so honored to review it (and be a fan). Get it or miss out. Salude’
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH