Album Review: Babymetal — “Metal Resistance”
By Rob Jones
As a major fan of metal who’s been in love with the genre for over half of my life, even I have to admit that metal, as diverse a genre as it is, has been stuck in a rut for a while now. Not many truly great bands have come out that stand out from the rest. Then you have the great ones who occasionally put out something, good or bad, do the quick cash grab of reunion tours, or play the entirety of albums their fans love from yesteryear. But all in all, not much new and different is being done with metal to push it forward and make it sound fresh.
I think among the many things that can be said about Babymetal is that they will get a reaction out of you. You’re either going to love them or hate them and either way that means they are doing something worth taking notice of. Because the fact is that this band is doing something different, and that is something my favorite genre of music needs.
Babymetal is a Japanese band that blends various genres of metal — speed metal, power metal, black metal, and industrial metal, just to name a few — with Japanese pop and varying other musical influences here and there to create its own genre they call kawaii metal, “kawaii” meaning “cute.” This band can play really well, and if it was fronted by any usual good metal singer or screamer you’d have fewer haters out there. Babymetal, however, is fronted by three teenage girls who were pop stars in Japan. They sing (almost entirely in Japanese), dance, and wear frilly anime-esque dresses. They look like a Norwegian black metal band. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen or heard anything like this before, and you would think that the fusion of J-pop and extreme metal shouldn’t work. But it’s actually flat-out brilliant.
“Metal Resistance,” Babymetal’s second album, starts out with “Road Of Resistance,” which is a driving power metal masterpiece cowritten by Herman Li and Sam Totman of Dragonforce. From there, you have great songs like the charging power anthem, “Karate”; the more industrial-sounding “Awadama Fever” and “Gj”; the ska and dubstep metal of “Yava”; the trip-hop influenced “From Dusk Till Dawn”; and the ‘80s power ballad, “No Rain, No Rainbow.” That really is just scratching the surface of all that is going on in “Metal Resistance.”
Of all these songs, only one song is sung in English, another ‘80s power ballad called “The One.”
What is surprising is that I don’t mind that I don’t know what the songs are about since I don’t speak Japanese. That just goes to show how strong the songs are. The music is really good, and the vocal delivery is great. Babymetal have really upped their game with “Metal Resistance,” and I honestly can’t wait for the next album. Give this band a chance. You might find yourself surprised at how good it is.