review - 25.08.2017 01:01

The first "girls' metal" supergroup keep things nice and heavy with their debut release.

When DESTROSE went on hiatus in 2015, bassist miho was slower out of the gates than her colleagues in starting her next full-time project. However, after a short stint touring with Moth in Lilac, miho re-emerged in July 2016 as the bandleader of LOVEBITES, the first “girls’ metal” supergroup. The band also included ex-DESTROSE drummer haruna, fresh out of retirement after plans to marry fell through; midori, ex-guitarist of proto-“kawaii metal” trio Gekijo★METALicche; and mi-ya, formerly of melodic metalcore unit a DROP of JOKER. Their self-titled debut mini-album was released in Japan on May 24th this year.

THE LOVEBITES EP is a “girls’ metal” first on two counts: it’s the first time such a band has debuted on a major label - namely Victor - and it is also the first record by an all-female act to be mostly sung in English. This is courtesy of vocalist asami, the band’s only previously-unknown member, and while she’s not yet batting in the same league as the likes of Kuroneko and Fuki, English speakers ought to have no trouble understanding (and enjoying) her bilingual vocals.

Naturally enough for a metal release, the main draw here is the music, and the way the record hits the ground running shows THE LOVEBITES EP is the work of professionals with years of experience under their belts. Although guitarist/keyboardist mi-ya is officially considered a support member, listeners can only hope she’s in it for the long haul as she and midori play off each other wonderfully, particularly on Don’t Bite The Dust. She also composed the EP’s heaviest offering, Scream For Me, where melodic riffing is side-lined in favour of chugging power chords and some spontaneous showboating.

Ultimately, the main takeaway from LOVEBITES’ debut release is the devotion it shows to "pure" heavy metal. While recent years have seen many “girls’ metal” acts, including mi-ya and midori’s old bands, following Cyntia’s lead away from orthodox metal, miho and company look set to join Victor labelmates Mary’s Blood as another bulwark against the trend of sacrificing heaviness and metal excess in the name of accessibility.

THE LOVEBITES EP is now available in physical CD format in the UK and Europe via JPU Records (here). The package includes liner notes written by miho, which documents the forming of LOVEBITES and the writing process of each song. A poster is also included, along with song lyrics and a translation for the one song on the EP not sung in English.
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