Lovebites – Clockwork Immortality Review

Japan’s Lovebites’ second album doesn’t quite hit the mark 6/10

Lovebites Clockwork Immortality

Have you ever wanted to like an album but there’s just something that doesn’t click? That’s where I find myself with Lovebites‘ second album Clockwork Immortality.

Lovebites have had a phenomenal run since their formation in 2016, winning the Metal Hammer Golden Gods award for Best New Band and being the first all female Japanese band to play Bloodstock and Wacken. They’ve been compared to The Iron Maidens which is a bit unfair – Lovebites are heavily influenced by Iron Maiden and the only comparison to the Maidens is that both groups are women.

In Clockwork Immortality we have a very good album and it’s not hard to see why Lovebites are making waves. The band are very talented and aren’t reliant on a gimmick like fellow Japanese ladies Band Maid who dress as French Maids or Japanese supremos Babymetal with their little girls and Kami Band. This album drifts between very solid Iron Maiden territory into more symphonic waters, which isn’t really surprising considering¬†Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila worked on the production of the album and both have worked with Nightwish and Amorphis.

Opener Addicted sets the pace early with that Iron Maiden ‘gallop’ and typical Japanese symphonic type chorus but it’s the second song, Pledge of the Saviour that really cements the Iron Maiden sound. Rising was released as a single and is a very accessible song, but it is Empty Daydream that really stands out on the album as it is almost as good as anything Maiden have released in a long time.

The pace suddenly turns frantic and almost Anthrax-ish for the next couple of songs before returning to the big chorus format with Journey to the Other Side. The Final Collision is a really good song but it’s starting to get a bit samey with two more songs to go.

Clockwork Immortality seems to have two problems – the production makes everything sound somewhat flat and nothing really stands out, especially as singer Asami‘s voice is fairly low in the mix. The other problem is Asami’s voice doesn’t seem to have the power, range or passion that Lovebites needs; her voice is very ‘sweet’ and doesn’t vary a lot – it never shifts up a gear. To her credit, it’s very hard to be passionate singing in a language that you’re not fluent in, so she and Lovebites need to be given a lot of credit for not only writing decent lyrics in English but performing them too.

Lovebites have a hell of a lot of talent and comparisons with Iron Maiden are inevitable, so it feels fitting to end with one more – Clockwork Immortality is the band’s Killers – a good album but they haven’t found their Bruce Dickinson yet. 6/10

You can buy Clockwork Immortality on Amazon.