Album Review: Babymetal – Babymetal

Musical marmite, Babymetal’s incendiary debut presents a Japanese pop-metal hybrid at its most contagious.

Like it or not, self-explanatory Babymetal are the most controversial act to hit the metal scene for many years. Divisive at best, their self-titled debut packs a punch whatever your view on the Japanese pop-metal hybrid. As amusing as it is inaccessible, the introduction to the young trio, Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal, explores the phenomenon spread by viral videos and the power of social media to alter the course of metal history.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK3NMZAUKGw&w=100&h=420]

Opening on the surreal atmosphere of ‘Babymetal Death’, it’s clear Babymetal are hell-bent on combining youthful, vibrant vocals with brutal guitar accompaniments. The unrelenting vitality of ‘Megitsune’ presents heartfelt lyrical content amid traditional Japanese undertones to a catchy anthem.

Merging the contagion of J-pop with the boundless energy of metal riffs, album highlight and winner of the least metal song title award, ‘Gimme Chocolate!!’ is a high-octane thrill ride complete with show-stopping shredding. Albeit repetitive and saccharine, it’s catchy as hell.

The diabetic charm of Babymetal’s high-pitched vocals clashes cleverly with guttural screams throughout ‘line!’, while ‘Akatsuki’, rounded by a punishing solo, meets the techy opening to ‘Doki Doki ☆ Morning’. Leaving no metal stone unturned, it’s hard to fault their determination and versatility, regardless of their obscure lyrics to the Western audience.

While ‘Song 4’ breaks free of its ethereal surface into a reggae beat, ‘Catch Me If You Can’ maintains its promise with an unstoppable pace, as the reflective ‘Rondo Of Nightmare’ contrasts the remorseless and aptly named ‘Head Bangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!’. With melancholic instrumentals materialising amidst a beautifully chaotic riff, ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’ is characteristic of Babymetal themselves – larger than life and so far unstoppable.

Perhaps the record’s saving grace, however, lies in the guest spots from Dragonforce’s legendary shredders Herman Li and Sam Totman, adding phenomenal solos and contemplative facets to ‘Road Of Resistance’. Closing on a bonus live performance of ‘Gimme Chocolate!!’ recorded at the Brixton O2 Academy, the portrayal of Babymetal’s live personality remains at the forefront of the debut’s priorities, featuring copious crowd interaction and an indomitable energy from the loveable trio.

Love them or hate them, Babymetal have achieved the near impossible in the metal realm, reaching well beyond their niche audience to global acclaim in a matter of months, and their debut album successfully brings their electric live performance into your front room.

2/5

’Babymetal’ by Babymetal is out now on earMusic.

Babymetal links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)

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