Hard rock infused with pop idol music isn’t exactly unheard of, but it’s never been done in the same way BabyMetal has done, as their brand of music has successfully stood out in an industry where nearly every music genre has become saturated with clones. For that reason alone BabyMetal deserves serious props for being a one of a kind Kawaii Metal band.
Anyone listening to BabyMetal for the first time will most likely have been introduced to that one song, and I am of course talking about Gimme Chocolate!! There is certainly a shock value about it for sure, it’s a cutesy Pop Idol song with little kids backed by scary near-death metal music blaring in the background. Their synchronised dancing perfectly in synch with the relentless fury of the metal band. This particular song and music video has become the subject of far too many reaction videos on YouTube, with each reaction video being more annoying and unnatural than the last.
That being said, Gimme Chocolate!! certainly succeeds at grabbing your attention, but it isn’t the song that makes you stay. See, BabyMetal would have faded into obscurity if it was just a weird shocking internet meme… but that didn’t happen. BabyMetal persisted in popularity, in their native country of Japan and all over the world. You don’t persist if you’re a one hit Shock Master fluke, you persist when you’re the real deal and that’s really what BabyMetal is.
I’ll admit I was sceptical, and Gimme Chocolate!! was an interesting distraction and nothing more, and I haven’t really followed the band until just last week honestly, but I did pay attention to how it was taking off. See the heavy metal community, especially in the UK and US, don’t exactly welcome any or all bands, as they’re pretty uptight and will chew out any posers or pretenders. And yet, against all expectations they welcomed BabyMetal and celebrated the unique brand of Kawaii Metal music. BabyMetal started appearing on the covers of heavy metal music publications like Kerrang and Metal Hammer, with their music being applauded. Soon they would start headlining hard rock and metal festivals, being accepted by the same audience that listens to the likes of Metallica.
What does it all mean? It means BabyMetal is legitimately good metal music. The upbeat vocals harmonise with roaring and relentless instrumentals of the backing band, a band that deserves as much praise and credit as the lead singers and dancers. Baby Metal is different, it’s refreshing, and above all the music is no fluke as it is consistent with its approach and constantly improving. That’s what makes BabyMetal the real deal and the furthest thing from an accident.
Now being accepted by the Western heavy metal fanbase is no small feat, but heavy metal is still a niche in of itself and so success in that tight-knit community doesn’t exactly translate to success across mainstream media… except in the case of BabyMetal it was able to do exactly just that.
While the first BabyMetal album primarily stayed in Japan with a limited release in other countries much later, the latest album called Metal Resistance received a much more consistent release all over the world, including here in Australia. It’s not every day that music by a Japanese band ends up on the shelves of your local JB Hi-Fi, and so seeing Metal Resistance on store shelves was a pretty cool sight… a sight that many took notice of it seems as the album peaked at #7 in the Australian music charts, and performed well in other English speaking countries too. A Kawaai Metal album which has just one English song was able to make it into the top 10 of the Australian music charts. Let that sink in for a moment.
So I picked up Metal Resistance with no real expectations other than my brief encounter with Gimme Chocolate!! and so I wasn’t sure if I was going to hear something weird… or if I was going to hear something amazing… and fortunately it was the latter. If I could describe the sound and style very loosely in a nutshell… it’s like Dragon Force meets AKB48.
The album starts off in epic fashion with Road of Resistance… before going into KARATE where I had my first HOLY S*%$^ moment because of how truly epic and amazing the song was. That song did it for me… holy wow it’s a brilliant song. One day later Triple H announces KARATE as the official theme song for NXT TakeOver: The End, which I wrote about just yesterday.
The next song after KARATE is called Awadama Fever and it is about a confectionery, this time about chewing gum instead of chocolate. Meta Taro is like a military superhero anthem of sorts, and my favourite songs after KARATE are the final three numbers: the ballad esque No Rain, No Rainbow, the very layered and dramatic Tales of The Destinies, and finally THE ONE which closes the album in spectacular fashion with an impressive English vocal. What’s neat about Metal Resistance in general is that each song is distinct and different, which is what makes BabyMetal cool and endearing.
Honestly, I loved Metal Resistance, I think it is a fantastic disc with some really great music that overcomes the language barrier that most foreign bands simply can’t. It doesn’t matter that you can’t understand any of the lyrics (except for THE ONE) because the instrument work is amazing here, the backing band may not get the spotlight but they’re every bit essential to the BabyMetal sound. Of the three vocalists you have to give praise to Su-Metal, she’s a brilliant vocalist who may someday launch a successful solo career. There are songs where she really showcases her gift and range, especially in songs like No Rain, No Rainbow and From Dusk Till Dawn.
BabyMetal is really no fluke, and as live performers they’re even more amazing as they put on one hell of a theatrical performance… complete with a statue of Jesus and a live crucifixion on stage… now that’s as metal as it gets. They haven’t toured Australia yet… but when the Fox God permits it, you can bet I’ll be there and bring the SnapThirty guys along with me.
Head to your local JB Hi-Fi, spend the 15 or so dollars on Metal Resistance and keep an open mind, because you’re in for something that’s truly one of a kind and is deserving of all the success and attention. Above all, BabyMetal is breaking down pop culture barriers in a way very few Japanese bands have.