By Paris365 on April 03, 2016No comments
For the one or two of you who haven't heard of the Japanese metal band BABYMETAL, they started off in 2010 as a sub-unit of the girl group Sakura Gakuin. The members are young girls (kids, really): Suzuka Nakamoto as "Su-metal", Yui Mizuno as "Yuimetal", and Moa Kikuchi as "Moametal.” Interesting fact: none of them were even familiar with metal music before the formation of their sub-unit.
Of course, nobody thinks of BABYMETAL as a sub-until anymore. They've surpassed the success of Sakura Gakuin a thousand times over. They've gotten so popular that their new album, Metal Resistance, was released on the same date in the U.S. as Japan. To that end, they're about to embark on a U.S. tour and most, if not all, dates are sold out.
Metal Resistance opens with “Road of Resistance,” which is one of the group's heaviest songs to date. Although comparing how heavy one song is to another with BABYMETAL is beside the point. Almost all of them are super heavy. (Heavier than anything Metallica has done in years, in fact.) The styles of metal that are employed do vary though. Some songs are more like traditional heavy metal like the recent single “Karate,” whereas others, like the blazing “Road of Resistance” are more like thrash. Some are even like death metal. Interestingly, there are some electronic elements used on this album, “Karate” and “Awadama Fever” both begin with some programmed beats and the latter has some electronic sounds scattered throughout the insanely fast song.
Things slow down a little bit for “YAVA!,” which reminds me of Momoiro Clover Z, another heavy metal girl group, and one that definitely rivals BABYMETAL. Some of its riffs are slightly in the nu-metal vein, but they're wise enough to avoid that for the most part.
“Amore” is an interesting track because the girls sing it like it's a power ballad, but it has much more power than what is generally considered a power ballad by the metal community. Their vocals on this one are relatively downtempo, but the drums fire at full speed and there are Yngwie Malmsteen-esqe guitar virtuoso parts that are especially impressive and a bit different from other songs on hand accordingly.
Another mid-album track, “Meta Taro,” starts off sounding like it might be a club-ready track then there's a wood instrument employed sporadically that makes it sound like folk metal. Some of the background vocals also remind me of folk metal. But the way it pummels you over the head makes me think of Viking Metal as well (yes, that's a thing, strangely). Whatever its influences are, it scores massive points for originality and helps prove my point about the styles of metal varying from song to song.
“From Dusk Til Dawn” starts off sounding like it's going to be a dubstep song and has elements of that throughout the track, making it another standout on what's basically a flawless album. I would even go so far as to say that it's a dubstep song that just happens to have some metal elements to it. I'm sure some fans will be disappointed with it, but it's not like they did a dubstep album so let it slide already.
Later, “No Rain, No Rainbow” begins with the girls singing over some piano that sounds like it could've been taken from an Elton John song. Ultimately, it's basically an old school heavy metal ballad (more like Motley Crue than a power ballad), and a very good one at that. Fans will definitely put their cell phones' flashlight and lighter apps on and hold 'em high during this one.
The final song before a killer English version of “THE ONE” is “Tales of the Destinies.” It's one of those BABYMETAL songs with death metal style grunting in the background. It makes me wish they'd have the girls sing like that for a verse. If nothing else, it would be hilarious, and I do believe there's supposed to be a certain degree of hilarity to the group anyway. It's not hard to picture fans laughing at the spectacle at their concerts. They're a gimmick and if you can't find humor in that, then it'll probably be lost on you. That said, they're a very good gimmick and I can see them having a lengthy career. Which raises a big question: when the girls get older, will they force them to “graduate” from the band and replace them with younger girls or will they allow them to remain in the group and just shift from the gimmick into being more of a traditional metal band, albeit one with three singers. Of course, there's also the matter of whether or not these girls actually like metal. If they're just doing it because that's the Sakura Gakuin sub-unit they were assigned to then it's possible that when they get older they'll just quit and go do something else. You never know. But I'm sure we'll get at least a few more stellar albums like this one out of them before we have to worry about any of that. -Michael McCarthy