Musical Arrangements, Sequencing Save Lovebites’ Latest LP

Courtesy: JPU Records

Up-and-coming power metal outfit Lovebites released its latest album to American audiences this month.  The album, Electric Pentagram, is a presentation that boasts strong musical arrangements and positive sequencing, both of which will be addressed in this review.  For all of the positives that this 12-song record offers, it does suffer from one negative – its vocals.  This will be discussed a little later.  While the issue posed by the album’s vocals pose an unavoidable problem, the musical arrangements and sequencing make up at least slightly for the problems posed by the vocals.  Keeping that in mind, Electric Pentagram is not a total failure of a record, but is worth maybe an occasional listen at best.

Lovebites’ latest album Electric Pentagram is a presentation that is worth at least an occasional listen, but sadly only that at best.  Part of the reason that it is worth that occasional listen is its musical arrangements.  The musical arrangements that make up the body of the 70-minute record ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment in their own right.  From beginning to right, the record’s arrangements are easily comparable to the best works of Dragonforce, Angra and Gamma Ray.  From one song to the next, the guitars shred so precisely and soar just as powerfully.  ‘Set The World On Fire’ is just one of the songs through which this statement is supported.  The timekeeping is machine gun fast, yet so precise from beginning to end of the nearly six-minute song.  The guitars and bass are just as precise and powerful throughout the song.  It could be argued that collectively, the instrumental portions of this song make it one of the album’s best works.  That is especially the case considering that the song is nearly six minutes long yet leaves listeners feeling so fulfilled.  Much the same can be said of ‘Thunder Vengeance’ as was noted of ‘Set The World on Fire’ in terms of its instrumentation.  The shredding guitars present a classic thrash metal sound that, in combination with the song’s power metal elements, makes for a fully engaging experience for metal purists.  The rapid fire drumming and the low-end from the bass adds its own share of interest to the song, too.  The precision of all involved makes the song a strong start for the record.  Its only problem is its vocals, which will be addressed a little later.  ‘When Destinies Align’ is yet another example of why this record’s musical arrangements are so important to its whole.  The guitars and the drums here create such a powerful sonic picture for listeners.  The picture generated is something that can so easily be seen in one’s mind as being performed on stage.  One could see the cameras panning just as fast as the guitars and drums while the shot transitions would be just as precise, fully capturing the song’s energy.  It is just one more of the album’s most notable arrangements.  When it is considered along with the other arrangements noted here and the rest of the album’s arrangements, the musical whole of this record makes it a truly supercharged power metal offering (yes, that awful pun was intended) that audiences will appreciate.  For all that the record’s arrangements for its presentation, the vocals detract from that impact just as much.

The vocal presentations that are exhibited throughout Electric Pentagram is important to address because of how over the top it is throughout so much of the album.  Right from the album’s outset in ‘Thunder Vengeance,’ the vocals are just too much over the top in their operative presentation.  What’s more, the vocals here are so overdone that it certainly sounds like there are some very noticeable sour notes throughout.  Add those sour notes to the way too strong push in the vocal power, and audiences get a song that is more detriment than boon to the song (and album).  Things get a little better in ‘Holy War’ and ‘Golden Destination’ as the vocals seem to come under control.  However as the album makes its way into ‘Raise Some Hell,’ that problem with the vocals becomes noticeable again.  The vocals just seem to forced and over the top here, with way too much vibrato in nearly every note.  It seems a minor thing, but the over use of even something like vibrato can be too much.  The problems continue into ‘Today is the Day’ with that over use of the vibrato becoming an issue again.  It gets to the point that it is used so much that it just becomes annoying.  Things don’t get much better as the band makes its way into ‘When Destinies Align.’  The vocal delivery here couples with the musical arrangement to make the song sound like one of those songs that one might hear in some late 80s anime flick.  Yes, this critic went there.  Things make a slight turn for the better in ‘A Frozen Serenade,’ the album’s seventh track.  There is a bit more balance and control in this song between the vocals and the instruments, but it is only a slight bit more balance and control at best.  There are some moments here that are over the top.  The vocals become balanced again in ‘Dancing with the Devil,’ but immediately become problematic again right after that song in ‘Signs of Deliverance’ with even more anime music sounding vocals and music.  The problems continue as the album nears its end in ‘Set The World on Fire,’ ‘The Unbroken’ and ‘Swan Song.’  Simply put, for all of the rare moments when the vocals and instruments do balance out, there are even more moments in which the vocals seem so over the top that they sound and feel way too operatic and honestly, theatrical.  Again, the impact is not so much that it makes the album not worth hearing, but it is such that one cannot ignore the issue.  Luckily, even as problematic as the album’s vocals are to the whole of the record, they do not make the album unworthy of hearing.  The album’s sequencing keeps the sound and energy stable enough throughout that it makes the album that much more worth hearing.

The sequencing of Electric Pentagram is key to the record because it takes into account the emotion and energy exhibited in the album’s arrangements.  The record starts off strong an with plenty of fire in ‘Thunder Vengeance.’  This full-on thrash opus is a strong start for the record, even despite the severely troubling vocals.  The  record’s energy is maintained as it progresses into ‘Holy War,’ with more hard-driving guitars and time keeping.  The band doesn’t truly let up from there until the very early bars of ‘Today Is The Day.’  That respite is very short-lived, with the band wasting little time launching back into its full on aural assault as the song progresses.  As the album enters its second half, the band does give listeners another slight break in ‘Frozen Serenade.’  There is a certain energy here, but it is not the full on power metal and thrash approach that makes up the bulk of the record’s first half.  To that end, the album does let up, allowing listeners to relax a bit, but at the same time, that pull back is only slight at best.  Of course the band doesn’t keep the album’s energy pulled back for too long, as it picks things right back up in ‘Dancing With The Devil.’  What is interesting here is that while the arrangement at this song’s core is not that thrash/power metal hybrid from the first half, but it still does increase the album’s energy from its predecessor.  The band does gradually return to that point as the album makes its way into ‘Signs of Deliverance’ and continues right into the album’s finale, ‘Swan Song.’  Simply put, the sequencing utilized in Electric Pentagram keeps the record (and listeners) electrified.  That is because the album’s arrangements and their energies are kept solid throughout.  Even when the record’s energy does pull back, it’s just long enough to listeners to collect themselves in preparation for that next crest, so to speak.  In other words, plenty of time and thought was put into the album’s sequencing, and it paid off.  Together with the arrangements themselves, the album proves to be a presentation that hard rock and metal purists will agree is worth at least one listen, even despite the problems raised through the issue of the record’s vocals.

Lovebites’ third full-length studio recording Electric Pentagram is a work that will get listeners charged up in their own right as they listen through the 70-minute presentation.  That is thanks in part to the arrangements, which feature some impressive power metal and even thrash arrangements throughout the record.  The sequencing of those songs adds even more engagement and enjoyment to the record’s whole.  The only downside to the whole of the album is the presentation of the vocal delivery throughout.  Given, there are some good points, but there are just as many moments in which they are either uncontrolled or simply way too theatrical and operatic in their presentation.  That imbalanced presentation does detract from the album’s overall presentation, but does not make the album something that is not worth hearing.  Even with this matter in mind, the album is still a work that any hard rock and metal purist will welcome hearing at least once.  Electric Pentagram is available now.  More information on the album is available online along with the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://lovebites.jp

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LovebitesTheBand

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lovebites_jp

 

 

 

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Anthrax Unveils For All Kings’ Cover Art

The time is near. Anthrax’s new album is coming.

On Friday, February 26th Anthrax will release its long-awaited eleventh full-length studio recording. First came its lead single ‘Evil Twin.’ Fans can hear the song online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPmLkF3e6Fc&feature=youtu.be. Then came the announcement of the title: For All Kings and the release date, noted above. Now the next step has been taken. The band has officially unveiled the cover art for its upcoming album. The artwork, developed by Charlie Benante–the band’s long time drummer–and Alex Ross is presented below.

Courtesy:  Nuclear Blast Records

Courtesy: Megaforce Records/Nuclear Blast Records

Along with the official unveiling, the band has also released a video featuring Benante in which he discusses how the album’s art came to life. It can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd7WVZcPEZc&feature=youtu.be.

Courtesy:  Megaforce Records/Nuclear Blast Records

Courtesy: Megaforce Records/Nuclear Blast Records

The video also includes the album’s lead single accompanied by its socio-politically-charged lyrics. In regards to Benante’s discussion, fans will love the note of the kings featured on the cover and the tie-in to the band’s previous album Worship Music via the cover art. There is even a tribute to the victims of the recent tragedy in Paris in the video’s closing moments.

Anthrax will take to the road beginning January 15th for a tour in support of For All Kings. The tour kicks off in Pittsburgh, PA and currently runs through February 12th at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

JANUARY
15   Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
16   Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
17   The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD
19   Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
22   Constant Convocation Center, Norfolk, VA
23   Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
24   Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT
28   Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, MI
29   Egyptian Room at Old National Center, Indianapolis, IN
30   Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
31   Orbit Room, Grand Rapids, MI
FEBRUARY
 2   Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland, Kansas City, MO
 4   Revention Music Center, Houston, TX
 5   Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX
 6   Concrete Street Pavilion, Corpus Christi, TX
 8   ACL Live at the Moody Theatre, Austin, TX
 9   Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City, OK
11  Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas, NV
12  Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA

More information on For All Kings is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://anthrax.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anthrax

Twitter: http://twitter.com/anthrax

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.