Ja­pan’s new power metal stan­dard­bear­ers up their mo­men­tum

Metal Hammer (UK) - - The Reviews - FRASER LEWRY

“WE ARE LOVEBITES, and we play heavy metaaaaaaaal!” As in­tro­duc­tions go, it’s hardly the most orig­i­nal, but as the taped in­tro of The Awak­en­ing fades and the band launch head­first into the NWOBHM-es­que Don’t Bite The Dust, a mael­strom of du­elling gui­tars and rum­bling bass with a cho­rus that soars into the rafters, no one here tonight doubts its ac­cu­racy.

Like a lot of suc­cess­ful bands, from Kiss to The Spice Girls, there’s a car­toon el­e­ment to Lovebites’ on­stage per­sonas, en­sur­ing that if the mu­sic ever veers to­wards to the mun­dane or the pre­dictable, the band’s per­son­al­i­ties can bridge the short­fall. That they’re able to project this de­spite be­ing dressed near-iden­ti­cally – in wed­ding white – is tes­ta­ment to the strength of their per­son­al­i­ties, or at least to the quirks most vis­i­bly on show. You’ve got bassist Miho, the head­bang­ing ex­tro­vert who swigs from a bot­tle of cider be­tween songs. “She loves al­co­hol!” beams singer Asami, the jovial one. Stage right is gui­tarist Mi­dori, who spends much of the evening with a mile-wide grin on her face, while stage left stands sis­ter gui­tarist Miyako, who dis­tances her­self from her band­mates by not look­ing de­lighted for the du­ra­tion of the set. Drum­mer Haruna’s con­tri­bu­tion to the cast, mean­while, is to ful­fil the ju­nior role, look­ing barely old enough to have left ju­nior school. Boozy Bites, Bouncy Bites, Broody Bites, Bub­bly Bites and Baby Bites. Check.

Lovebites have some­thing to prove. Thrust tri­umphantly into the spot­light at Blood­stock fes­ti­val af­ter be­ing bumped onto the main stage with an hour’s no­tice, they’ve got to show they can per­form night af­ter night on a gru­elling tour, when the halls aren’t full and the adren­a­line isn’t so nat­u­rally spiked. But per­form, they do. Break The Wall is a fran­tic, old-school thrasher that races by in a burst of wild en­ergy. Scream For Me is sim­i­larly charged, gal­lop­ing along with the fe­roc­ity of an an­gry bull and cli­max­ing as Mi­dori and Miyako trade whammy-bar­ring and fin­ger-tap­ping so­los. The pace is mer­ci­less: Scream

For Me, Shad­ow­maker and Ris­ing all race by be­fore the in­tro to Above The Black Sea pro­vides some brief respite from the bed­lam. Only Edge Of The World, a sway­ing bal­lad that slowly builds steam be­fore reach­ing peak ve­loc­ity, pro­vides any kind of proper break from the tu­mult. Lovebites’ set might veer to­wards the one-di­men­sional, but it’s a thrilling di­men­sion to spend time in.

asami: hence­forth known as Bouncy Bites. er, maybe not…

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