My name’s Andy, and I love Power Metal.
There. Said it.
You know it’s weird. Last week I went to three gigs. All in the same venue. On Sunday I went to watch Palaye Royale and no one quite knows what they are. They revel in the margins. A couple of days later it was Katatonia and Solastifir, who revelled in the shadows, and on Saturday it was a proper denim clad hard rock night.
The point I am making is that this thing we all love – this rock n roll, heavy metal, call it what you like – is a broad church, yet when it comes to power metal, the most OTT thing out there, you sort of shuffle about like you’re asking the love of your life out at a school disco, nervously fumbling for the words, that yes. You love it.
Which is odd, given the nature of the music is that it gets in your face and stays there, there’s nothing demure about this at all.
Even allowing for that, mind you, Lovebites are incongruous. I once went to watch a band called Freedom Call in a little pub – I am not saying it was rough but the barmaid’s Facebook profile was named “Little Miss C***ty” – that’s not a joke), and there wasn’t a woman in the crowd (there was a bloke dressed in a Viking head gear waving a wooden sword – that’s not a joke either). No one told the Japanese, though and they are here, with new bassist Fami, standing out alone. And brilliant. We should mention that bit.
See, Lovebites are a brilliant metal band. Right up there in the top draw, but reviewing these types of albums is essentially pointless, because you’ll take one listen to “We Are The Resurrection” and know. You’ll make your mind up. Its all here, from the overture, to the soaring chorus, to the gallop and thunderous drums.
Never mind less is more. This is much more. All the time. Full on, full throttle, full pelt.
“Judgement Day” which at least has the decency to brood for 30 seconds, adds some orchestral touches, and “The Spirit Lives On” is so 80s it might as well be wearing shoulder pads.
Yet, as the thunderous highlight “Wicked Witch” proves with its turbo-charged Saxon like stylings, they are without peer, not really. Dragonforce maybe? Well yeah, but there’s always something a bit tongue in cheek about Sam Trotman’s boys. Lovebites, mean it. Every note.
Fami announces herself on “Stand And Deliver (Shoot ‘Em Down)” which is essentially all about her bass, and “Victim Of Time” is so utterly, gloriously pompous that you can’t deny it. Singer Asami has a mighty voice for this sort of thing, too and they can chuck riffs out at will.
“My Orion” is a little more crunchy. Not a million miles from The Raven Age and the likes but they can’t resist about 47 lead breaks and a hook that’s straight out of Eurovision.
That’s the shortest one here too at just about four and a half minutes, they immediately follow it with “Lost In The Garden”- the longest of the tracks. The drums of Haruna are sensational on this one, never mind anything else.
By and large, lets be honest about this, these are the same song ten times, but there are subtle differences in amongst that. “Dissonance” is comfortably the heaviest, moshpit ready, almost thrash, and gratifyingly there are no ballads. Instead, “Soldier Stands Solidarity” merely goes again and ramps up the shredding.
If you’re the type of wanker that thinks “female fronted” is a genre, then Lovebites don’t want to know you (and I’d prefer you didn’t read my stuff). If, however, you love heavy metal, but especially the type of metal that people who don’t like it think it all sounds like, then “Judgement Day” is all yours.
There will not be a better record of this type in 2023. There never is when this band releases one. Lovebites are the Queens of Power metal at this point. Consider this your proof.