Is Stoop Dog a Closet Metalhead?

Not really. Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Metallica are the deepest dives I’ve made into heavy metal. I own no Maiden, Sabbath, Priest or Crüe. For bass players the pickings are pretty slim in the mosh pit. I appreciate the bombast and the over-the-top, Krampuslauf production values but the genre has always struck me as more theater than music, more Wayne’s World than worldly. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Last week during a rehearsal break while surfing Youtube for a young Japanese drummer I happened across a group called LoveBites. Not the soporific Def Leppard song. It’s a Japanese heavy metal band and, hold on — they’re all women?! This I had to hear.

I know women are every bit as musically competent as men. Half the music I’ve written about here are by female artists. There’s no reason why women couldn’t pull this off as well as Anacaona, an all-female band in a male genre who also blew me away. However, and maybe it’s just the circles I’ve traveled in, I’ve always assumed that modern metal was something that mostly only 15 year-old boys and 45 year-old incels listened to. I’ve never met a woman into Motorhead or Napalm Death. So why would women even want to play it?

I clicked Youtube Play Button | Youtube Awards | ITechBrand.  Look at the photo in the banner up top first, then watch this.

Holy shnikeys, that was intense! I think I stopped breathing for the last two minutes of it. Five Japanese women in prom dresses tacitly sending Iron Maiden a message: “Step it up, boys.”  Seriously, besides the obvious — that these women can play and sing their asses off — if there was such a thing as textbook metal perfection, this was it. The look, the sound, the energy, power, arrangement, lighting, the stage attitudes, the confidence — flawless. And, yes, they also look great. I couldn’t spot a weakness. It’s as if Honda got into the heavy metal game, not just because Honda is also Japanese but because the company is renowned for taking risks and getting it right, down to the tiniest detail. Then again, maybe being Japanese has something to do with it after all.

Serious headbangers will take issue with me calling these ladies “heavy metal”. I’m a musician; I know there are nuances and granularities with everything in art. I know there’s nu metal, metalcore, death metal, speed metal, goth metal, thrash, Finnish moosecall metal and about a hundred other variants. I think this strain is referred to as Japanīzu Metaru. These women sent them all packing as far as I’m concerned. And — this is important — these are live performances. These ladies aren’t The Monkees or Milli Vanilli. They’re legitimate musical badasses who know how to put on a show.

Here’s another.

Just wow. What a huge sound. It sounds like the drummer has four feet.

Musicians sometimes ponder the rhetorical question, how did the Beatles find each other? How did random chance put four such incredibly talented, book-matched musicians together at the same time and place and in the same band?  It’s one of those “is there life on other planets?” mysteries. I have kind of the same question about these women. How did five such incredibly strong female players — prodigies possibly — find each other in a musical idiom where, to my knowledge, there’s never been even one before? Yeah, I know about Lez Zeppelin and Vixen. I mean serious, original talents. If you think these ladies don’t have deep chops, check out one of the guitar players on piano at the beginning of this tune. Maybe it’s not a Carnegie Hall debut-worthy performance of Chopin’s Etude, Op. 10 No. 12 but it’s one of the most difficult left-hand piano pieces ever written. And she scored at least a triple with it.

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