Because I believe completely in equality, I have tried never to use the words “female fronted” on this site if I didn’t have to. To be honest, I have always subscribed to the idea that there were only to sorts of music – good and bad – and I couldn’t care less about the gender of the person singing the thing.

But then, I went to a gig last year, at the height of the heat wave, and the singer of the all female band I was watching said something about sweating and a bloke in the crowd thought it was funny to shout out: “take your top off then….” And people laughed. This was 2018 for Christ’s sake.

Which is why the press details for Lovebites second record unfortunately has to make great play about them being all-female. “Described as “Japan’s Iron Maidens” by Classic Rock” says its first line. It also says: “And soon became the first all-female metal act to play the main stage of Bloodstock Open Air in the UK, as well as the first to perform at German heavy metal festival Wacken Open Air.”

And if you still think it shouldn’t make any difference if someone is a woman or man, I looked on Twitter (and let’s face it, if you’re looking on social media for balance then good luck) on a story about the lady that was meant to take over as CEO of the English Premier League changing her mind and the first comment was “that’s what you get for positive discrimination” – and you can only despair for the human race.

So that trailblazing stuff is more important than I understand – albeit I think it is a sad indictment of the world in 2019 that sexism exists enough to make this a “thing” – and if they inspire other girls and women around the world to pick up a guitar then fair enough, but here’s the only thing that (in my book anyway – and no doubt Lovebites too) really matters:

“Clockwork Immortality” is brilliant. Genuinely stunning.  A quite marvellous heavy metal record from the off.

Metal in truest sense – that is to say people who don’t like metal think it all sounds like this – from the acoustic slow burn of “Addicted”, which when it gets going sees the drums absolutely thunder  (haruna, behind the kit is in mighty form throughout) while the chorus is of a soaring variety and probably would make Dragonforce just a little bit jealous. Oh and the solo (and by God, they’ve all got solos) is awesome too.

So, if that all sounds like your bag then strap in for a hell of an hour. Because essentially, “…Immortality” is all built around the same thing.

“Pledge Of The Saviour” adds a bit of classicism, but there is a crushing feel to the guitars here from midori and miyako – and if you’re thinking Murray and Smith when you hear this, you weren’t alone.

“Rising” is full on power metal and it is ashamed of nothing, and the groove on “Empty Daydream” is like ZZ Top in denim and leather (no joke!) while “Mastermind” gets its hi-tops on for something approaching old school thrash.

“M.D.O” gets bonus points for starting with a solo and some machine gun like riffing, “Journey To The Other Side” gets its fists up in the air for a good old Saxon-type romp and “The Final Collision” is one of those metal songs that you thing would sound ace in Game Of Thrones, while “We Are United” sounds like a Judas Priest title and sonically it knows it too.

As if to prove that the ambition here knows no bounds, the collection concludes with its longest thing. “Epilogue” does more than provide a chance to see the credits roll, though, it is an opportunity for Lovebites to prove one last time that they deserve the accolades, of course, but goodness me, more than that, they are one of the finest metal bands around.

But, unfortunately, even at this stage “Clockwork Immortality” means more than just a mere metal record. So, one last time, with feeling. This one is for the sexist morons who suggest a woman singer takes her shirt off and the sexist morons who laugh. Lovebites don’t deserve to be almost dismissed as “Female” anything, but in the context of everything else, this might just be the finest metal album ever recorded by an all-woman group.

Rating 9.5/10