Babymetal – Metal Resistance

If you go to YouTube and search for ‘Babymetal’, you get an idea just how big this Japanese phenomenon has become. What initially surprised me the most was not so much that there are many video clips from Japanese concerts – because after all, aren’t we used to the Japanese audiences throwing their affection on the oddest things? No, what surprised me the most was the fact that you find videos from both Download and Reading – huge UK festivals, where thousands are not just watching and listening, but also going ape shit over the three teenagers from Tokyo and their backing band.

The most recent issue of Metal Hammer UK had a ten-page (!) feature on the girls, for crying out loud! And they will be playing Wembley Arena the day after the release of this, their second studio album. I mean…what is going on?

Since the new CD by Babymetal, ‘Metal Resistance’, landed in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago, I’ve listened to it a number of times, and the fact that I’ve received it for review has naturally made me listen to it in a different way than I’ve listened to the Babymetal material I ran into on YouTube previously. To be honest, I’ve considered what I saw and heard as a bit of a joke. I realise that what the three girls, Su, Yui, Moa and their backing band, Kami, do is no joke. This is business in the Kiss league. This is a brand in the making.

There is nothing spontaneous about this. It’s all planned minutely, calculated down to the last note and Yen. Riding on a ship laden with pop formulas and  hard pumped modern metal, the three teenagers lift their slightly shrill voices to conquer the world, and they have certainly found a niche.

Is it all as terrible as I have it sound? No, there’s definitely something to some of the tunes on this album, although it is a mixed pleasure. The first three songs, Road of Resistance, KARATE and Awadama Fever, bring ‘Metal Resistance’ off to a strong start with their electronic pop metal charm and, admittedly, heaviness. YAVA! and Amore then bring the listener down on the ground again, simply because the novelty rings off and they stand out as being less interesting and more shrill than the first tunes. Meta Taro reminds me of…well, I know it sounds odd, but one of Mike Oldfield’s albums – one of those where he went folksy. Where Mike did it well, it only works in part for Babymetal.

From Dusk Till Dawn is boring, whereas GJ! has a fine nu-metal groove and a touch of Gwen Stefani. Sis. Anger is the most furious song of the album, bordering on death metal. This is where I have a very, very hard time with the teenage girl vocals.

No Rain, No Rainbow is for those who like musicals. I don’t.

As a contrast, Tales of the Destinies has a lot more life and let’s the Kami band experiment. By far the most interesting song of the album.

THE ONE is also a ballad of sorts. Could have been used for Mulan, I suppose. Not my cup of tea either.

I can’t help feeling that the band behind the three girls could make lots of wonderful music. And I’m actually sure this could be a wonderful band with the girls too, if they tried to cater less for the Idols concept they were conceived from. Anyhoo, I may be laughing at this, but, well, who’s laughing all the way to the bank? Su, Yui, Moa, their parents or at least their manager are. Good for them.

 

Track listing:
01. Road Of Resistance
02. KARATE
03. Awadama Fever
04. YAVA!
05. Amore
06. Meta Taro
07. From Dusk Till Dawn
08. GJ!
09. Sis. Anger
10. No Rain, No Rainbow
11. Tales Of The Destinies
12. THE ONE (English version)

Release date: 1st of April, 2016

Label: e-a-r Music

Website: www.babymetal.jp

Thomas Nielsen
About Thomas Nielsen 1051 Articles
When my old buddy Kenn Jensen asked me if I wanted to contribute to the new site he had created, then called powermetal.dk, I didn't hesitate. My love for metal music was and is great. I wrote my first review during the summer of 2004 (Moonspell's 'Antidote' album). In 2015, I took over the editor-in-chief role, and held that position until January 2017, where I decided to focus only on live reviews.

16 Comments

  1. I don’t really have a comment because I haven’t heard the whole CD. But can I hang out here until the haters show up?

  2. “THE ONE is also a ballad of sorts. Could have been used for Mulan, I suppose.”

    This sentence doesn’t make sense unless you think China is a part of Japan.

    • The point wasn’t if it was Chinese or Japanese, but that it sounds like something from a big cartoon score.

      • Huh. To me “No Rain, No Rainbow” obviously channels the over-the-top power ballads that were so popular with late-80s metal bands like Whitesnake, GnR, and X Japan: http://youtu.be/rEQMaff2cC4

        Whether or not those bands should have been working for Disney is a whole different discussion. Although replacing “Be our Geust” with “Welcome to the Jungle” would have made for a much different and, potentially, more entertaining “Beauty and the Beast”.

        Disclaimer: I’ve only heard the live versions of NR,NR from Budokan: Black Night and Legend 1999. Not the studio version

  3. The fact that this is the worst scored review I’ve yet to see sort of makes me happy, considering it’s written in the factually wrong and ignorant style of the same losers hitting up the Metalsucks comment sections every week.

  4. Ok so 6/10 from someone who is sceptical of this, admittadly strange, babymetal concept is pretty good imho. Thank you for keeping an open mind. I for one am enjoying this album and I am glad that your review will at least make some people curious.

  5. I think the review was well-articulated and fair. There seems to be a growing number of fans who label ‘haters’ anyone who doesn’t share their enthusiasm for a band. To them I say: ‘Grow up people, it doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t agree with your perception of what good music is. The moment we all agree on music will be the moment music dies.’

  6. Babymetal fan here.

    This is the most objective review I’ve seen. Refreshing to read from a different, and realistic, point of view. Not the same boring anti-Babymetal nonsense.

    All of the others reviews I’ve read are a bunch of fawning fan boys.

    You stated your case, and are honest.

    Well done sir.

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