Love them or hate them, there is no denying that 2016 has been a banner year for BabyMetal. April 2nd 2016 was the first-ever performance by a Japanese artist at Wembley Arena. The fact that it sold out in lighting-quick time makes the feat even more impressive. This album is a release to commemorate the historic event.
If you aren’t familiar with the band and want to know what all of the fuss is about, then this is a logical starting point. The event successfully captures the combination of great musicianship, catchy J-POP melodies, and overblown excess that make up the money-spinning group. The spectacle will almost certainly be better in person, but this is much more than a souvenir release for the fans who were there to witness it first-hand.
The show starts with a bizarre Star Wars spoof. This is exactly the madcap introduction you’d expect from the ludicrous pop-metal superstars. Even if you enjoy BabyMetal purely for the kitsch value, there is no denying the colossal nature of some of their songs. ‘KARATE’ is one of the best singles from any genre released this year and somehow sounds even bigger in an arena. Many more songs like this and they’ll be in venues this size for years to come. ‘Gimme Chocolate!!’ proves that the girls can bring the sing-alongs and stage presence required at this level.
‘THE ONE’ is another highlight, with Su-Metal once again leading the crowd with assured confidence. ‘Road to Resistance’ begins almost as pompously as the opening salvo, but the crowd eat it up, helping to sign off the show in sublime style.
Yes, it is all very contrived and rehearsed, but there is no denying that this show is an absolute blast. Metal isn’t described as fun very often, but with this performance BabyMetal provide a blistering reminder that it can be just that. Just check your brain at the door first.
‘Live At Wembley’ by BabyMetal is released on December 9th on earMUSIC/Edel.
Words by Joe Philpott (@joe_philpott)