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IT BITES

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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It Bites picture
It Bites biography
Founded in Egremont, UK in 1982 - Disbanded in 1990 - Reformed in 2006

IT BITES was formed in the mid-'80s by vocalist and guitarist Francis DUNNERY, bassist Dick NOLAN, drummer Bob DALTON and keyboard player John BECK. The music is typical of Prog Rock bands that try to go mainstream, like some PENDRAGON stuff. Their ability to blend reggae, pop and new age into a metal foreground is totally mind blowing. Big sound and direct melodies form a cocktail which any fan will appreciate. Anyone who listens to this group for the first time is in for an audible rollercoaster ride. IT BITES should be considered a collector item for all listeners of all British Prog bands (PENDRAGON, BIG BIG TRAIN, MARILLION etc.).

The band matured with "Once Around the World", exerting more traditional rock influence. This release is the most progressive with its 15-minute title track. Fantastic...! Their final release, "Eat Me in St. Louis", was a collection of unreleased and new material. The disc shows that they truly were one of the best bands to successfully merge progressive rock with a more pop-oriented mode. IT BITES is really a great PROG BAND.

Apparently the band has reformed with a new lead singer and guitarist John MITCHELL (Kino, Arena, Frost), as Francis Dunnery is no longer willing to contribute to a new album. The new IT BITES is writing new material and will start recording at the end of 2006 with a tour before and after the release.

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IT BITES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

IT BITES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.86 | 73 ratings
The Big Lad In The Windmill
1986
3.78 | 105 ratings
Once Around The World
1988
3.31 | 76 ratings
Eat Me In St. Louis
1989
3.86 | 178 ratings
The Tall Ships
2008
3.71 | 152 ratings
Map Of The Past
2012

IT BITES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.21 | 20 ratings
Thank You And Goodnight - Live
1991
3.77 | 13 ratings
Live In Montreux
2003
4.00 | 20 ratings
When The Lights Go Down
2007
4.00 | 14 ratings
This Is Japan
2010

IT BITES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 8 ratings
Live in Tokyo
2005
4.40 | 5 ratings
It Happened One Night
2011

IT BITES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 5 ratings
The It Bites Album
1989
3.45 | 10 ratings
Calling all the Heroes : The Best of It Bites
1995

IT BITES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

IT BITES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Map Of The Past by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.71 | 152 ratings

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Map Of The Past
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

4 stars Great release, great concept, great song writing.

This album had everything going for it, the concept, the songwriting, the instrumentation and much more. Of course there are some faults, such as this is more like the previous album. More of a pop influence in the It Bites side of music but with this album, it took the previous albums format and flipped it on its head. The concept is unbelievably interesting and it shows the idea of how to World Wars went in a first person narrative. Other than the concept, the song writing on this album is precise. Every song fits into place nicely, with the consistancy of lyrical content and the meshing of later songs to add to the mood of the album. 'The Big Machine' shows the utmost progressive rock elements with the atmosphere, songwriting and influences from late 70's Genesis. This album is really well put together, smooth intro and a soft outro. Well done It Bites.

 Eat Me In St. Louis by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.31 | 76 ratings

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Eat Me In St. Louis
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

2 stars It bites, a fantastic band... most of the time. This is the only album by the bad that is ... not even close to their original formula. Even their newest albums feature the same formats, but this album shares none of those formats. This album has a weird collage of blue rockin' and hard rockin' songs with limitations in the progsphere. This album suffers from the blues rock side of music and less of an influence of progressive rock such as Genesis like their previous album 'Once Around The World'. Everything about this album had a swing and a mess type situation, nothing flows together. All the songs don't have an intertwining effect like their previous albums did. There is nothing to save this album other than the fact that the album cover is really cool. Roger Dean stuff is a very Yes thing to do and It Bites nailed it here, but they have lost all sense of progressive rock with this album.
 The Tall Ships by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.86 | 178 ratings

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The Tall Ships
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

4 stars I think that this album gets bashed a but unfairly, some is warranted but I can't say all the criticisms are fair. John Mitchell's voice is very good, and he does add a fresh feel to It Bites. Sure, he might not be as good as Francis Dunnery in the singing or guitar playing department but he is good at both. This album has some really really good songs on it, and some mediocre songs, all of which are NOT comparable to 'Once Around The World' or 'Big Lad and the Windmill' but it still had some good moments. This album is more pop prog then neo- prog but... it still had those moments with neo-prog influence. The song writing is really good, lyrical content is actually fairly comparable to the previous albums but, this album isn't 5 star worthy.
 Once Around The World by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.78 | 105 ratings

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Once Around The World
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars Francis Dunnery, the closest singer to Peter Gabriel, In a neo-prog band from the late 80's and early 90's. This album has no bad songs, has some old prog sounding songs mixed with The Beatles lyrical content and more of a pop influence... but it still manages to stay in the progressive rock spectrum. With Prog, it is important to keep your mind open and let your ears do the listening. Don't go into this album expecting 70's Progressive Rock, its NOT! But, what it is, is a combination of retro prog, soft rock, psychedelia, and pop, that is It Bites! The best neo-prog band, and come on... listen to Francis Dunnery and 1. Tell me he isn't a very Peter Gabriel sounding singer and 2. Tell me he is a terrible guitar player. Can't? Because they aren't true, he Is a suiting Peter Gabriel sounding singer and a phenomenal guitarist! Loved this album!
 The Tall Ships by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.86 | 178 ratings

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The Tall Ships
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars When it was first announced that there was going to be a new It Bites album in 2008, but that the band wasn't going to involve Francis Dunnery, there was more than one person wondering what on earth was going to happen. True, keyboard player John Beck and drummer Bob Dalton were still going to be there, but who was going to be the new frontman? Step up John Mitchell, who is probably best-known for his incredibly long-running stint in Arena (in the early days the standing joke was that if you wanted to stay in the band then you shouldn't be at one side of the official press photo, as there was a rather fluid line-up back then). Now, John has a wide and varied repertoire and can put his hand to anything (I once saw him, Paul Cook and JJ act as the backing band for a Canadian singer- songwriter), but It Bites? Here is a band that is probably more loved now than in their heyday, so what was going to happen?

The three of them were going to produce an almighty success, that's what. I saw the original line-up support Marillion on the Misplaced Childhood tour sometimes a million years ago, and I remember being distinctly unimpressed (although in fairness, all I knew of theirs at the time was "Calling All The Heroes"), but here I was grabbed right from the off and stayed with it all the way through to the end. This reminds me so much of the days in the early Nineties when I seemed to be in a permanent state of wonderment about how many great bands there were in the scene, and how many stunning albums there were to listen to. This has been a constant returnee to my player since it was released in 2008, and I have only just realised that I never wrote anything about it at the time!! This has everything anyone could want from It Bites, with poptastic melodies and harmonies and the synthed layers of the opening "Oh My God" dares the listener to turn it off ? impossible.

John's singing fits the music perfectly, and in many ways it really does sound as if It Bites have never been away. So many styles, so many flavours to savour, and there is even a thirteen-minute epic to close with. If somehow this album has passed you by, then you should seek it out immediately.

 Once Around The World by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.78 | 105 ratings

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Once Around The World
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album was a pleasant surprise for me to find out about and listen to. I first heard about It Bites a year ago when they released "Map of the Past" and it showed up on my Amazon page. I thought they were some new band but somehow heard that they'd released an album or two before. Then while reading Stephen Lambe's book "Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock", I was surprised to read that It Bites was a band from the 80's! Lambe wrote that their "Once Around the World" album was a surprise piece of prog in the prog parched 80's. I felt that I must check it out and with little more than a glimpse at a video on YouTube I ordered it.

The first two tracks are what I had expected from an 80's album. This is 80's rock that is too synthesizer-swamped for the guitars to make it hard rock, but too rockin' to be just 80's pop. Call it 80's pop rock if you like. Not quite my taste and a little embarrassing to have playing on the car stereo. But not bad songs for what they are.

The third track "Yellow Christian" is in the same vein but more synth and less guitars, making it seem closer to bubblegum pop except that in the middle there's a smart section that turns to prog flavour. The first time I heard this my ears pricked right up after having tuned out of the music. Now I knew that this album might have a few surprised before the big 14-minute-plus finale.

"Rose Marie" sounds to me like mid-eighties Uriah Heep or Blue Oyster Cult. The guitar playing is enjoyable but particularly so because in the YouTube video segment I watched, guitarist Francis Dunnery explained about using a guitar where the strings are higher off the fret-board, making the finger work necessarily more precise. My first guitar also had such high strings and it was not easy to learn how to play a lot of hard rock songs at first. Later when I bought a Gibson Epiphone (a Les Paul would have been nice but...) I at last had an easier time of playing. So, I could appreciate Dunnery's skill and the different quality of sound his guitar solos have on the album.

"Black December" is much like most of the album sounds so far. But things are about to get more interesting.

While on the surface "Old Man and the Angel" sounds like another pop rock track, it soon changes and fits in a wonderful prog section in the middle. At first I was thinking that this is what Yes should have been doing on "Big Generator" but then I thought It Bites were pre- saging the prog revival of the 90's, in particular sounding a bit like The Flower Kings. When the song concludes with its pop rock chorus it maintains an odd drum beat. It Bites came to the dinner party in an appropriate jacket but has now taken it off and is showing a prog T-shirt underneath.

"Hunting the Whale" and "Plastic Dreamer" both take us away from the pop rock factory in different ways. At times I felt the vocals sounded a bit theatrical like Peter Gabriel but "Hunting the Whale" really comes off sounding like what Genesis might have been had the classic line-up held together into the late 80's. It's a bit bizarre with a raucous tavern dinner atmosphere at the beginning and the end, whale sounds, some crusty old salt singing from his boat all blended with an 80's synthesizer as the main music. "Plastic Dreamer" tells the story of someone who gets himself locked in the toy store so he can confirm his belief that the toys come alive at night. Darth Vader dressed in drag is one of the many humorous images conjured up in the lyrics. The whimsy of the song sounds like what some otherwise serious pop rock band would have put on their album and have had it criticized as filler or inconsistency. But I find this song and the previous one showing the band's humour and willingness to go out on a limb.

Of course the song that Stephen Lambe praised was the album closer "Once Around the World". Clocking in a just under fifteen minutes, this song begins very smoothly and appropriately where the music of "Plastic Dreamer" ended off, with very beautiful and delicate synthesizer. The song picks up and goes through some interesting changes not unlike "Supper's Ready" by Genesis with odd clips and snippets of what could have been other songs fitted in smartly. As the music graduated through its atmospheres, tempos, and flavours, I felt it could easily have appeared on any Flower Kings album.

My conclusion thus far is that this album introduces itself as a pop rock album but reveals its secret intention to keep symphonic prog alive in the 80's. Considering that the old guard of the 70's were either split up or recording pop music and the neo-prog movement was by 1988 turning towards the mainstream more and more, finding an album like this one is quite a surprise. Once again I must restate my impressions that It Bites sound like a mixture of how classic Genesis might have sounded in the 80's and The Flowers Kings with a hint of what 80's Yes could have been. Pop rock songs aside, I think this was a very bold and intriguing album for the band to make. It is perhaps due to be rated as one of my favourite prog rock albums of the 80's.

Not quite essential to any prog rock collection but certainly essential for an 80's prog collection. For the effort put toward prog on this album I'll give it four stars.

 The Big Lad In The Windmill by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.86 | 73 ratings

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The Big Lad In The Windmill
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars The only thing I knew about It Bites was that they were a Neo Prog band. I've covered their latest album Map Of The Past (2012) in the News section of my website and that was it.

Then, the other day I was watching VH1 and a weird 80's band was playing. A bunch of geeky/nerd guys playing another 80's kind of Pop. But paying close attention they were different from the other 80's guys, so I was curious and waited to know who they were. It was It Bites.

So, I was curious because I didn't know this guys started in late 80's. Went to Spotify and they were there so I give a try on their debut album The Big Lad In The Windmill (1986).

Well, this isn't really Prog, not even Neo Prog. But it's not your everyday 80's Pop act too. In fact they were something in between, that for sure would grow for something more interesting in the near future. Despite the fact that there's few Prog in here I found it very amusing. Including the single 'Calling All The Heroes' that is unusual for a single in those days.

The Big Lad In The Windmill (1986) is an album that should be checked to understand the band later on Once Around The World (1988).

 The Big Lad In The Windmill by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.86 | 73 ratings

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The Big Lad In The Windmill
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Some years ago, this band was featured under the "Neo Prog" category and then shifted to the "X-over one).

Still, when I listen to their first release, I can hardly find anything prog in here. The worst being achieved with a soul type of song la Motown: "Whole New World". Press next is the best attitude you can handle here.

The next "Wanna Shout" reminds me more of "Duran Duran" than anything prog at all. I can't say that the following "Turn Me Loose" is of great inspiration. Some flat pop song with no emotion at all. I am afraid that the press next exercise needs to be implemented here as well (but that's valid from track one unfortunately). This one is a real bad song indeed.

To find a great track here is like the search of the Holy Graal: impossible. Not even talking about prog of course. "Cold, Tired and Hungry" belongs to these even if a great guitar break is a kind of a highlight ion the midst of misery.

The disco and unbearable to my ears "Calling All The Heroes" just confirm my feeling. As far as I am concerned, this is a complete waste of an album. The type of "press next" all the way. When you reach "You''ll Never Go To Heaven", you might think that at last, a good prog moment is reached. But the feeling only lasts for 90 seconds. Even if to be honest, the closing guitar section is rather pleasant.

One star is my intimate and honest feel.

 Map Of The Past by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.71 | 152 ratings

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Map Of The Past
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars It Bites goes conceptual

Upon hearing the news that It Bites was releasing a concept album, I was naturally intrigued. Especially so as their previous album, The Tall Ships, the first album by the re-formed band, had been such a strong one. Map Of The Past was released earlier this year and I got it shortly after its release date. I gave it about one and a half listen at the time, concluding that it was rather disappointing. I let it rest for a while. Hearing it again now my impression is slightly more positive, but it is clear that it does fall far behind the excellent The Tall Ships.

While there is nothing bad as such about this album, it just fails to impress me. The songs are generally short and catchy, and the conceptual nature of the album does not manage to push it much beyond good quality, sophisticated Pop Rock music. It might be objected that this is what It Bites is all about. In a way it is, of course, but previous albums where musically somewhat more ambitious to my ears. There is no doubt that the current line-up consist of highly talented musicians, and they have written a decent set of tunes, but the end result is not an album that demands or even deserves many listens. It is an enjoyable listen while it lasts, but I have no desire to return to it and most probably won't.

There are some good moments, but nothing too special. It is not their worst album, but certainly not the best.

Good, but far from essential.

 Map Of The Past by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.71 | 152 ratings

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Map Of The Past
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by devox

5 stars The second album from the reinvigorated It Bites is not as immediate as its predecessor, the brilliant Tall Ships, but repeated plays really show this as an album of rare brilliance. The haunting opening of Man in the Photograph segues into the punchy Wallflower with some keyboard acrobatics from Beck underpinned with solid bass and guitar. Map of the Past is the band in Bombastic overload with its big chorus and chunky riffs. Mitchells Guitar truly soars here. It also contains the best lyric of the album "what seperates from Chimpanzees is finite sense of Dignity". Clocks is the big ballad of the album with its swaying rhythm and beautifully understated musicianship from the entire band. Mitchells vocal style suits this type of song like a velvet glove. Flag is old school it bites, poppy, bright keyboards and singalong chorus ensure this is going to be a live favourite. A change of pace with Big Machine, a Progtastic little gem allowing beck and , in particular, Bob Dalton to shine. Theres also a trademark Mitchell piece of Guitar genius thrown in for good measure. Cartoon Graveyard fizzes and tumbles, briefly shakes hand with Genesis, and runs into Send No Flowers which limps along like a wounded animal and should have been put out of its misery on the cutting room floor.Standout track, Meadow and the Stream, is beautiful,chilling and nigh on perfect. We end with the emotional, heartbreaking Last Escape with one of those wonderfully stirring Mitchell solos and a final acoustic farewell. The whole album is held together by Daltons' superb drumming and Pomeroys understated bass. Just missing out on album of the year so far due to freak genius and clockwork angels
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