THIS WEEK I'M LISTENING TO...LOVEBITES Electric Pentagram (JPU Records)
Japanese power metal maidens Lovebites return with their third studio album (following on from last year’s ‘Daughters Of The Dawn – Like In Tokyo 2019’ double disc extravaganza), ‘Electric Pentagram’, the title referencing the five members of the band. To be fair, not a lot has happened in the Lovebites camp in term of diversification, but on the strength of the twelve cuts on offer the band – vocalist Asami, guitarists Midori and Miyako, bassist Miho and drummer Haruna – do appear to have grown in confidence and stature given seemingly endless touring and festival appearances. If you’ve heard ‘Electric Pentagram’’s predecessors – 2017’s ‘Awakening From Abyss’ or the following year’s ‘Clockwork Immortality’ – you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect as the band tear their way through their dozen chosen offerings with an infectious enthusiasm and finger-shredding dexterity.
If there is a minor gripe, it’s that in an effort to be metal thrashin’ mad subtlety has been sacrificed for speed as everything but the proverbial kitchen sink is thrown into every song. In fact, the album gallops along at such a pace even the slow songs are fast. ‘A Frozen Serenade’ does buck the trend, true, but even then the acoustic interludes are no more than window-dressing for a song which truly burns its way to its glorious finale. Still, a lack of restraint never did Raven any harm in their early days, and with workouts like ‘Golden Destination’, the glorious 'The Unbroken' and self-explanatory opener ‘Thunder Vengeance’ flying the flag for freneticism all you can do is thrown your head back, throw the horns up, and crank up the volume. Albums like this are born to be played loud.
© John Tucker January 2020