Released in Japan and the UK earlier in the year, other territories have had to wait until now to hear the latest album by Japanese power metallers, Lovebites. Every bit as impressive as their previous records, Electric Pentagram (Victor Records) even draws inspiration from the likes of Slayer for their latest release, the appropriately titled opening track, ‘Thunder Vengeance’ having been conceived after watching the legendary thrashers at Download Festival Japan in 2019. Not that you’d be able to tell from the chorus, which carries a hook so beefy you could eat it for Sunday lunch.
‘Holy War’ follows a truly bombastic slab of power metal reminiscent of Italian act Rhapsody of Fire. The guitars of Midori and Miyako propel the song forward, but it’s vocalist Asami who steals the show – a theme oft-repeated throughout the album. ‘Golden Destination’ is pure Eurometal, it’s thunderous gallop comparable to the likes of Beast in Black and Battle Beast, not to mention owing a healthy debt to Iron Maiden.
Aided by the intense rhythm section of drummer Haruna, and bassist Miho, the thrashy riffing and Judas Priest solos of ‘Raise Some Hell’ do exactly that, while the anthemic call to arms, ‘Today is the Day’ adds a touch of neoclassicism. ‘When Destinies Align’ rampages along like Dragonforce before they turned into a bleepy video game, and although not strictly a ballad, the melancholic ‘A Frozen Serenade’ is a powerful deep cut, while ‘Dancing With the Devil’ steals the riff to Dio‘s ‘Overlove’ and messes it around with favourable results.
‘Signs of Deliverance’ features some serious Helloween worship, ‘Set the World on Fire’ is borderline thrash, and ‘The Unbroken’ swings with an uptempo shuffle before the neoclassical, almost balletic conclusion of ‘Swan Song’, Asami going for broke with one of her best performances on the record. Pure, unashamed power metal, Electric Pentagram is a slick, well-produced, dynamic record full of great hooks and interesting twists and turns.
8 / 10