Let me ask you a question. When you listen to a band and fall in love with the essence of their first studio effort, the kind that affects your soul, what generally happens by the third recordt? Most of what I’ve seen is that number three is lacking some of that original je ne sais quoi. Well, LOVEBITES has blown past that supposed slump, they take a 2×4 and split your skull wide open with their latest disc Electric Pentagram (out in North America, April 24 on Red River Entertainment/BFD). Nothing here is under five minutes. Yeah really!
I have been chomping at the bit to hear this new one. Electric Pentagram was already released in Japan and Europe and I have been going nuts waiting to get it here in the States. LOVEBITES is not only Asami (vocals), Midori (guitars), Miyako (guitars/keyboards), Miho (bass), and Haruna the monster drummer, but they are quickly becoming the new face of \m/etal worldwide. They won the Best New Band award at Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2018.
This is THE apex for 2020 as far as I’m concerned. Leading the way is “Thunder Vengeance”. Setting the scene with a spiritual thunderstorm tension, the ladies explode in a cyclone of fast speed \m/etal. One thing I loved was the incorporation of harmonic notes in a Q&A between Midori and Miyako in obviously placed positions. How they hit these notes every time as fast as they play is totally impressive. It’s a real ballbuster. With fully packed horses, these \m/etal warriors charge into battle with “Holy War”. A fast paced sortie of signature Haruna double bass kicks, guitar riffs and Asami’s passionate vocals, places this at one of the top tunes on the record.
If that wasn’t enough to make you battle weary, “Golden Destination” continues the forward movement of the crusade with an explosive six minute synchronized galloping rhythm which puts IRON MAIDEN to shame. Don’t stop to catch your breath, because it’s not possible with “Raise Some Hell” in fourth position. The ladies picked it up another notch to what might be the biggest heavy hitter on the entire thing. I have never heard anything like this song. My absolute favorite on the album. Daaaamn!!
“Today Is The Day” detonates in the number five spot. What LOVEBITES does so well is just damn near everything. There are some tunes I try to describe, but some are impossible without sounding redundant. It’s a very fast-paced, dual and synchronized lead and rhythm effort with massive bass and complete insanity from behind the drum kit. Bored with that description? Hell no! The one track which debuted was “When Destinies Align” in December 2019 and currently has over 8K likes on YouTube. It was an interesting choice to introduce fans to the album and the accompanying video is very cool.
“A Frozen Serenade” actually allows us to finally catch our breath. If there is a ballad on the album, it would be this one. Along with “Dancing With the Devil”, they are definitely a break from the previous six. ”Signs of Deliverance”, according to Miyako, was being played on the DRAGONFORCE tour in 2019, but was unnamed. She asks us to listen to the intro where the guitars are piling up and the solo. Might there be some DRAGONFORCE influence? You tell me. “Set the World On Fire”, “The Unbroken” and “Swan Song” will definitely light a fire under your black \m/etal soul.
Those last three are hard driving and the ladies bring us back into the reality that is the intensity of Japanese kick-assery. They will leave you breathless and pumped. After experiencing this album, if you have: a) any facial features remaining, b) have not received a speeding ticket or, c) have not punched a hole in the wall, then you did not partake in this powerful \m/etal rocket ride. I thought that Clockwork Immortality was one of the best albums I had ever heard and it is, but Electric Pentagram, will no doubt put the ladies from Tokyo at the top of the world \m/etal charts. It was a total privilege to give this fantastic work a spin. It will become one of my all time favorites. Perfection as far as I can tell. Salude’.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH