Review by Mark Lloyd
Hair metal, sleaze metal or glam rock, name it what you will, is fighting the curse of grunge every step of the way and more recently has been undergoing a bit of a regeneration with a number of Scandinavian bands refusing to let the flame extinguish.
However, good ol’ Blighty has never really embraced this sub-genre of rock, with home grown talent few and far between.
Birmingham’s LOVEBITE hope to put that to rest with the release of their debut album, Lock n’ Load.
I’ve known the lads in Lovebite for a while now, and they presented me with an eagerly anticipated copy of their debut album which I was keen to get my teeth into. I’m pleased to say these guys have really done their homework in producing the ‘complete’ package with this album – the cd booklet features stunning artwork along with a full set of lyrics – something sorely missing is this world of downloads.
Kicking in with an atmospheric 33 second intro entitled “No turning back” Lock n Load then leads on to unleash the hard hitting “Sin City” – the first of a further 12 tracks of rockin’ sleaziness.
Front man and lyricist Jonny Sparks is the perfect lead for this band. Drawing on personal experiences for his lyrics and effortlessly hitting the high notes, he really makes you sit up and take note. Check out his looks as you listen to “Gonna Love You Anyway” and “Striptease”, and you can picture the mashed-up 21st Century Sunset Strip glamboy from the heart of the industrial Midlands.
Behind every frontman there needs to be a cracking guitarist, and Lovebite’s Tryx could well be their secret weapon. He’s a guitar shredding virtuoso drawing on the spirit of Randy Rhodes and Gary Moore at their peak; whilst bringing to bear all the snarl and swagger you would expect. The technical skill this kid has is immense and you can really hear it on such tracks as “Sin City” and “Can’t fight your Love”.
Backed by solid support from Mikey and KC (who looks like he’s just stepped out of a Pretty Boy Floyd video), the band’s full sound and technical ability is right up there, especially considering none of them will actually remember the hair metal heyday first time around!
There’s not a bad track on this album. Unlike some bands in the past these guys haven’t filled the last few tracks on Lock ‘n’ Load with just anything. Far from it, in fact they finish as strong as they started with “Striptease”, “Mr. Lonely” and the awesome and catchy “Too Much Is Never Enough”, while the obligatory big ballad comes in the form of “Hey Baby” – lighters and mobile phone lights aloft!!
This is a debut album to be proud of and deserves its spot in the limelight. Let’s hope the industry bigwigs realise that the glam sleaze party ain’t over yet.
9 out of 10
Jonny Sparks – Lead vocals and rhythm guitar
Tryx – Lead guitar and backing vocals
KC Valentine – Bass and backing vocals
Mikey Toye – Drums and backing vocals