Thankfully, due to the Internet’s instant arms reach to the whole world within a few clicks, bands from any corner of the planet can extend their exposure wider than before, and in recent years Japan have made quite the impression within metal.
With a fair few appearances in the UK already been and gone, including a set at last year’s Download Festival, power metal outfit Lovebites seek to take it to the next level with third full-length effort, ‘Electric Pentagram’.
Beginning with an ominous operatic opening before launching with swift speed and intensity, opener ‘Thunder Vengeance’ is an energetic and frantic start that’s underpinned with a solid core of rhythms from drummer Haruna, who holds the ship steady with impact and accuracy.
Taking on a battle metal ethos, ‘Holy War’ verges on the cheesy side with introductions of operatic choirs and instruments that have echoes of DragonForce, but doesn’t quite verge on the side of the ludicrous that they often accomplish.
The following four tracks try to inject some dexterity with variations of power metal riffs and synths, but lack any guile or inspiration to ignite any euphoric moments of excitement or inspiration. Even with ‘Dancing With The Devil’ having a retrospective element, things slip back from an intense forefront to a wandering background of purposeless.
Traversing thrash metal, ‘Set The World On Fire’ finally introduces some darker forces into the frame, with riotous elements from guitarist Midori, who pulls off complex and rapid successions of riffs that could’ve been included earlier to add in extra dynamism.
Concluding in an enigmatic culmination blending of power and operatic metal, ‘Swan Song’ brings home the true core of the band’s sound that erupts with layers of vocals and rampaging riffs that ensure no stone is left upturned.
While there are momentary pieces of euphoria and drama, ‘Electric Pentagram’ becomes watered down with the consistent barrage of power and battle metal stylings. Being metal doesn’t always mean you have to keep your pedal to it either, speed and intensity can move both ways.