Announcing themselves with both their debut EP and their first album in 2017, Japanese metallers LOVEBITES quickly took the world by storm. They released another EP and album in 2018, with the excellent third album Electric Pentagram arriving in 2020. Such a relentless work ethic hasn’t been slowed down even by a global viral epidemic, as they’re on the cusp of releasing their third EP, Glory, Glory, To The World.
As can be expected by this point, it’s their trademark fusion of classic heavy metal, power metal and overblown, virtuose instrumentation from beginning to end but there’s enough twists and turns along the way to keep things interesting and show the band continuing to progress their sound.
Opening with classical-inspired instrumentation, ‘Glory To The World’ builds until exploding with full force into a gleeful gallop punctuated by flourishes of strings and Midori and Miyako’s squealing guitars. Vocalist Asami is on as fine form as ever as the chorus takes flight, her voice entwining with the guitars. It’s uplifting and gloriously cheesy in parts, but never to the point of being overwrought.
‘No Time To Hesitate’ offers a change of mood, its Iron Maiden-esque intro punctuated by a bass lick that briefly rears up. It’s somewhat darker than its predecessor and more of a mid-paced, traditional speed metal number initially though very soon puts pedal to the metal and it truly does sound like drummer Haruna is hell-bent on battering her kit to pieces.
So far, so full-throttle, but it’s at the midway mark there’s something of a breather with ‘Paranoia’. Tinkling keys sit atop a rolling snare, creating a foreboding atmosphere before the wailing guitars cut in. It has more in common with thrash in its frenetic guitar work and drumming, though culminating in the rousing choruses we’ve come to know from LOVEBITES.
While previous tracks saw them bring in the orchestral elements - such as ‘Glory To The World’s opener, ‘Dystopian Symphony’ sees them fully embraced. It’s a neoclassically inspired, symphonic metal firestorm of guitars conjured by Midori and Miyako with lush strings and orchestral elements. It’s completed by the thundering basslines of Miho that provide a rumbling counterpoint and add their own melodies to the fray.
Final song ‘Winds Of Transylvania’ was written specifically for the anime Vlad Love, and the band lean fully into the cinematic side of their sound, replete with choral elements but never abandoning their unapologetically heavy metal roots. They throw in virtuose solos with wild abandon, packing every minute of the song with action.
It’s impressive to see just how far LOVEBITES have come since that first LOVEBITES EP in 2017. While their core sound arguably hasn’t changed, they’ve experimented with gothic flourishes (‘Paranoia’), neoclassical inspirations (‘Dystopian Symphony’), and others across their ever-growing discography. Glory, Glory, To The World is yet another strong entry for the band that benefits from its shorter run time and tracklist, delivering five cuts of epic heavy metal bombast, experimenting enough to hold interest and without ever overstaying its welcome.
Glory, Glory, To The World will be released on vinyl and CD on JPU Records May 28