Arising Empire/Nuclear Blast Records (2018)
If you manage to look past the gimmicky appearance, you’ll find these girls have a lot to offer in terms of quality arrangements, lots of shredding and an overall outstanding performance.
There’s no doubt that a lot of people will be comparing Lovebites to the worldwide sensation Babymetal. After all, Lovebites is a band of young, sweet Japanese girls with the intent to conquer the metal world. But their common country of origin is where all comparisons stop.
If you were dreading to give these girls a try, shun your prejudice away. There are no forays into J-Pop, rap or other genres here. In fact, “Clockwork Immortality” is one of the finest heavy metal albums you are going to hear this year. Don’t trust me? Read along!
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the place women hold in metal. In spite of many incredible bands like Burning Witches, Nervosa, Myrkur, even our own Jenner and of course, Lovebites, people still judge the band by its gender rather than its quality.
I could easily take a political turn with this review and describe it through that prism. However, I’m not going to delve more into that, even if it means losing a lot of views or likes. Why? I believe this album deserves more.
The truth is, good traditional heavy metal albums are a commodity these days, especially coming from up-and-coming bands. That is why “Clockwork Immortality” had me at a very first listen. From the first notes of the opener “Addicted” down to the cheesy power ballad in “Epilogue”, the album invokes the glory days of power metal, but with a fresh take.
Nostalgic like me will surely pick up on the influences carefully picked across the genre such as Helloween, Stratovarius or Angra. However, the biggest influence on these girls has to be their legendary country mates in X Japan. Lovebites are closely following the early progressive/power metal formula X Japan cooked up way back in the ’80s.
The atmospheric keys and distinctive vocals give definitely remind me of the golden days of growing up watching cartoons like “Robotech” or “Digimon”. All of the songs on this album have this distinctive theme song feel to them, making all of them easily recognizable and extremely catchy. At the risk of being accused of stereotyping (it’s difficult to be a journalist in 2018), the Japanese nurture a very distinctive take on rock and metal and you can definitely hear this in “Clockwork Immortality”. In fact, it’s what gives the album its charm.
The standouts on the album are the furious “The Final Collision” and the first single off of the album, “Rising”, demonstrating the full scope of these girls’ musical capabilities. The girls’ musical prowess has been masterfully captured by acclaimed Finnish duo of Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila, famous for producing the likes of Nightwish, Edguy, Sonata Arctica, and many others.
To sum up, “Clockwork Immortality” is an album I’d recommend to any power metal fan out there who, like me, gladly reminisces about the early 2000s. If you manage to look past the gimmicky appearance, you’ll find these girls have a lot to offer in terms of quality arrangements, lots of shredding and an overall outstanding performance. “Clockwork Immortality” is certainly not for everyone and not a contender for the album of the year. However, it is a solid step on this band’s rise to fame bound to bring these Japanese girls more recognition and acclaim.
Lovebites new album invokes the glory days of power metal and gives this soon-to-be-forgotten genre a fresh take.