Tokyo teen metal sensations Babymetal have arrived once again for that difficult second album kick starting this April. & Remarkably, it’s a belter which will definitely do no damage to shrink their massive fanbase. After all it’s always the second album that proves the debut was never a fluke. It’s a trial that many bands are measured and by all accounts Babymetal have more than surpassed all expectations.
Kerrang Magazine, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer all giving top marks for this one respectively, one reviewer even asking if he could go beyond the 10/10 and notch it up to 11?
So what is it about these Japenese baby metallers that have captured such noteworthy media attention?
Well, for sure it’s seems that all the rock press are stating the fact that its a refreshing change, by delivering their brand of cute & catchy pop heaviness being termed as ‘Kawaii metal’. The teeny tiny trio & kitsune wavers-(a symbol of the Japanese Shape-shifting Fox)- Su-metal (Suzuka Nakamoto), Moametal (Moa Kikuchi), and Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno) are carving themselves a niche they can solely dominate, their own blend of pop metal and spectacular live shows are scaled up to be bigger and better then anyone else.
One could easily argue that it’s a odd change in a stagnate musical climate where only the boundaries of extremity are being pushed into just extreme measures. Here Babymetal are offering something multi demensional and stretching out to wider & weirder places you’ve never been. And I know this is not going to be everybody’s cup of cha, because the japanese culture is going to be a head spinner. Imagine a metallic Sega video game or Pokemon gone goth, but then nowhere close, In fact, nowhere near close. Like an 80’s arcade amusement hall mashed up with blazing solo’s and Anime sublimely mixed with crushing riffs. Got that?!?!… Yep, you really need to listen to see what I mean…
Stand outs on this 12 track offering are Road Of Resistance, the albums opener penned by Herman Li & Sam Totman of Dragonforce. It’s a blistering showcase of melodic speed. Next we have Karate that sounds like the girls just had a studio invite with Fear Factory. Then it’s into breakbeats meets Bubble gum Metal with Awadama Fever, with the wrecking ball pendulum breakdown so callossal it could give Parkway Drive a run for their money. & it works so well here. Next up there’s the Ska flavoured Yava! with a undercurrent of gargantuan guitars infused with heady dance festival spirit. Other pleasers are the military tattoo of Meta Taro which sounds like Viking Metal on a marching parade. The album closes with the only English spoken song The One. This one will get it’s hooks deep into you and leave it’s anthem chorus lingering in your head long after you’ve stopped listening
If you were imagine the pace of Tokyo, with it’s assault on the senses from hyper illuminated advertisements all vying for attention then you can understand where Babymetal are coming from. With a 100 mile an hour culture this is a product heard through western ears might seem a trifle unsettling. So alien and Intoxicating to us it my take some adjustment.
Cleverly mixing Nu metal stomp this is perhaps how Enter Shikari would sound like if they were teenage girls with a mix of wub wub trip hop coming together in a sonic kaleidoscope of Japanese Culture, or to some, this could be like a very sickly Las Vegas metal show. That being said, Babymetal’s theatrical live presence can match anything that slipknot has, and amazingly the circle pits are just as big and fierce. Just check out the vid.
Power metal fans may like this one, there’s plenty of Dragonforce melodic speed here, same as the crushing stomp to go with songs that deal with the subject matter of young people with body image and the pressures to stay slim.
Babymetal are pioneers in the art of choreographed dancing in front of a wall of Marshall stacks. In their shows, they are hoisted in a triangular prism that floats aloft a crowd of horn throwers. The symbolic legacy the late Ronnie James Dio introduced into heavy metal culture The Metal Horns, now brought into the 21st century by three Japanese exports as a symbol of the kitsune, the Fox God in Japanese Culture. Their music really is down to a matter of personal taste, & like chocolate, it can be dark as well as fun, but the culture shock might make you feel a bit sickly.
The mini metal maidens are set to roll out their shows while showing no signs of losing momentum. Currently off the back off major European festivals they play London’s Wembley Arena tomorrow.
Metal Resistance is released today worldwide on Fox Day April the 1st.