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IT BITES

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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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 | 74 ratings
The Big Lad in the Windmill
1986
3.77 | 110 ratings
Once Around The World
1988
3.39 | 76 ratings
Eat Me In St. Louis
1989
3.86 | 180 ratings
The Tall Ships
2008
3.71 | 154 ratings
Map Of The Past
2012

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

4.15 | 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
0.00 | 0 ratings
Whole New World The Virgin Albums 1986-1991
2014

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

IT BITES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Once Around The World by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.77 | 110 ratings

BUY
Once Around The World
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars 𝗣𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗚𝗮𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗹 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗥𝗲𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗱

Is it just me or does Francis Dunnery sound like Peter Gabriel? Anyways, after a bunch of Genesis involvement, Francis Dunnery was originally picked to be the singer for the band. This album was almost a decade before 'Calling All Stations'. Unfortunately for Genesis, this album is much better than 'Calling All Stations'. This album starts with a banger and ends with a banger, Midnight and Once Around The World are both incredible, and staple tracks by the band. Kiss Like Judas is a hit sounding track with a prog spin. Probably the best track on the album, 'Yellow Christian' which has a bunch of odd time signatures, alternating time signatures, and fantastic lyrics. 'Rose Marie' is a Rush type track, fast, catchy, and retro rock influenced. 'Black December' has a great mood, its soft and melodic, less accessible, and much warmer in terms of a writing perspective. 'Old Man and the Angel' is quite long, it's very dynamic, but it's not quite an epic. The song does have its writing changes, and its typical epic structure, but it's more of a Neo-Prog/Crossover Prog typical sound. 'Hunting The Whale' and 'Plastic Dreamer' are both incredible tracks, they are more typical songs by the band but still brilliantly written. However I'm going to go on the record and say that the title track is the best song, it's a brilliant epic. The structure, the lyrics, the songwriting was incredible, the concept, the chord structure, etc, etc. Everything on that song is great, but aside from the songwriting, everyone plays really well and Francis is a great singer.

I'm sorry but this album is just ridiculously amazing, this is a very intriguing, and engaging album. This is It Bites magnum opus, their masterpiece, it's Crossover Prog perfection, and I don't understand why people aren't a fan of this. Either way, It Bites should be more appreciated, this is a very underrated album.

 Map Of The Past by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.71 | 154 ratings

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Map Of The Past
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

4 stars It Bites went with the large concept on this release, it was a bit of a shock for me to see such a band release a concept album (and my I say that this album has a bite to it? Ok... fine).

Anyways, the lack of an epic on this concept album will take away from this a bit. Thankfully this album has some of both John Mitchell's best guitar playing and vocals, and John Beck's best solos. The lyrics are very compelling and of course concept based. It is very hard for me to say that this is their best album but it's a very good album overall. This has a hard hitting opener and equally hard hitting outro piece. For a concept album, the themes of the second World War, and the emotion driven songwriting works. This is a very well realized concept album, it is very well written, great effects, great production, and great playing from all musicians. From 'Man In The Photograph' to 'Exit Song', all the pieces are very emotion driven, and I will stand by this album. I'll be honest though, I think this album should've ended off with 'The Last Escape', it's a very solid song with a hard hitting lyrics, the music is very well written and emotional, but again I feel that this album ended twice. 'The Last Escape' and 'Exit Song' end each other off, but even if that's the case, this album is still very good.

Conclusion: This is probably the second best album by the band, it has everything a concept album should have. It Bites has been growing for a long time and I think that this was the best idea for the band, releasing a large concept album to show they are a top notch Neo-Prog band. Good job It Bites, you guys made a very good album indeed, one of the best in 2012.

 The Tall Ships by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.86 | 180 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
3.77 | 110 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 | 74 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 | 74 ratings

BUY
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 | 154 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 | 154 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
 Map Of The Past by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.71 | 154 ratings

BUY
Map Of The Past
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by arcane-beautiful

5 stars Neo prog bands from the 80s. Some are still talked about even today. There definitely has been a resurgent among the nostalgic prog scene in the past few years. With bands like Twelfth Night, IQ and even the head of the neo prog movement, Marillion being stronger than ever, one of the oddest bands to appear back was It Bites.

Now these guys had success with a song in the 80s called Calling All Heroes. They faded away and had moments, but with there last album, The Tall Ships, they really made a statement, cause the album is amazing.

I really loved the last album and this one needed to be really amazing to have me favour this album over the last. And yea, this is probably going to beat it. But just by a fraction.

I mean it, this album is basically perfect. These guys are spectacular song writers. Also, this being a concept album, makes the songs even more impressive.

The concept of the album is mainly based around nostalgia, with lyrics dealing with childhood, war, death, family and even some simple fanatical stories. The concept really gives the album a magical skin around the surface, and only makes the album more enjoyable. Lyrically, the album is just amazing and very impressive. John Mitchell's lyrics, and his vocals are just spectacular. I would even like to admit that John Mitchell is one of the best vocalists out at the moment.

The album also sounds very modern. I know this band have been around for a bit, but it sounds like these dudes are only in there 20's, yet they all are in there 30's-50's. For a band to sound so youthful...now that's impressive.

The song arrangements also differ to the songs found on The Tall Ships. The songs are a lot more shorter and compact. Sadly I would have liked to have seen one or 2 epics on the album, but the 2 longest songs (being only 6 minutes) are pretty cool short epics.

Instrumentally, the band is flawless. The songs are pop songs at heart, but have smart intricate moments and some very impressive almost virtuostic moments. The band may be a pack of ugly old todgers, but they really can play and sing their hearts out.

The production of the album is as usual, spectacular. John Mitchell is a producer in his own right, and most albums I've heard him produce have been top notch.

There really isn't a bad moment on this album. Some songs are stronger than others yes, but there really isn't any weak moments. The songwriting on this album is top notch.

1. Man In The Photograph - A beautiful almost harmonium sounding intro. Great start to the album. The radio sounds give the song the added nostalgia. 9/10

2. Wallflower - Can't think of a better way to kick off the album. Definitely one of the catchiest songs on the album. The song also has one of the most mental keyboard solos I've heard in a long time. 10/10

3. Map Of The Past - A great chorus and some amazing songwriting. The song has a very Biffy Clyro feel about it, mixed with some Rush sounding intricacies. 9/10

4. Clocks - A beautiful ballad on the album. Great arrangement and some great vocals on the song. 10/10

5. Flag - One of those songs where the verses have more of an impact than the chorus' do. A very cheerful song. 9/10

6. The Big Machine - One of the most kick ass songs on the album. Has quite a dark tone to it, but still has that It Bites melodic cheeriness. 9/10

7. Cartoon Graveyard - The intro of this song is so suspenseful, with the use of a music box sound (I'm a sucker for music boxes). The rest is really an epic build up of a song. Short and sweet, and amazing. 10/10

8. Send No Flowers - Ok...this song has one of the most epic intros I have heard in a song. The song reminds me of early Genesis, being quite a dramatic song, with build ups and some cool vocal moments. 10/10

9. Meadow & The Stream - The lyrics of this song make me laugh. The song itself is pretty cool, and the instrumental work is pretty impressive. 10/10

10. The Last Song - A beautiful ballad. The vocal arrangements in the song really is amazing, and the song itself is just a very beautiful and moving songs. 10/10

11. Exit Song - A nice little ending to the album. 7/10

CONCLUSION: It's pretty much a flawless album. I knew this was going to be good, and when this album finished, I was surprised at how good it actually was. These songs are now gonna be stuck in my head for a long time, and now these guys have made 2 superb masterpieces, I'm looking forward to whatever they are going to throw at me next.

9.2/10

 Once Around The World by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.77 | 110 ratings

BUY
Once Around The World
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars Nothing short of being a pop/rock/prog masterpiece.

It Bites really takes the cake here. Influence by heavy progrock like Rush, Saga and even the pop-approach of Mike and the Mechanics, Francis and co set the standard for years to come.

No longer, prog had to be about long songs and relentless repetition. The eighties were a game changer for progrock. Sure, I love Camel, Yes, Crimson, Floyd et al, but this is something totally different and needs to be listened to with a totally different ear.

New Wave was the answer to Punkrock, and bands like Tears for Fears, Duran Duran, a-ha and Simple Minds made fair use of synths again. So a lot of bands (Rush, Saga, Twelfth Night and others) took a bit of a synthpop/new wave approach.

It Bites did something different, they just cranked it up. heavy distorted guitars, thunderous drums, heavy soloiing. This was a form of progrock nobody had heard before. The songstructures were pop/rock: verse-chorus-verse-chorus and simple lyrics about everyday life.

Some songs are simple hardrock with heavy synths thrown in: Judas, Midnight, Black December, Rose Marie, but some songs are just pure heavy progrock: Christian, Old Man & the Angel and the titletrack. Some odd time signatures, extended soloiing, you name it.

It Bites was (in my opinion) the heaviest progrock band around. I don't know if Queensryche was around yet, but they were more metal than rock.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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