Three Japanese teenage girls making heavy metal music, if this scenario sounds weird to you, well, it sounded weird to me when I was first introduced to the band a few months ago.
Just a bit of background on the band: Babymetal is a constructed band, the members are all part of the Sakura Gakuin idol girl group (the topic of idol groups in Japan deserves a whole term paper and is something entrenched in Japanese pop culture).
And now comes the big “However”:
However, the fact the band is constructed does not mean their music is equally constructed, artificial, uninspired, or bland, far from it.
Babymetal (the album) is the perfect fusion of teenage dreams in the cyberpunk age, J-Pop and various varieties of Heavy Metal, from Speed Metal to Death Metal. It is its very own form of Heavy Metal, not seen or heard before and another testament to the fact that Metal continues and is still evolving.
The girls also tackle problems of their age group in their lyrics, thus continuing the tradition of other metal bands who regularly address issues of various sorts in their lyrics (Metallica: One, Skyclad: Still Spinning Shrapnel to name just two examples) and they do it very “kawaii” (for lack of a better term). I am talking of this one:
“Gimme Choko!!” (ギミチョコ！！; Give Me Chocolate!!)
The tune and the chorus just sticks in your ear, doesn’t it? Here’s a partial translation of Gimme Choco!!, just so you know they are really singing about something that is really very important to teenage girls, and they are sending the message: “It is OK to like chocolate, just be yourself and like it!” Freaking excellent!
I guess there are some die-hard metal fans out there who are appalled now by what they are seeing but tastes and opinions differ.
I find Babymetal a thoroughly enjoyable album, tremendous fun to listen to. It also comes with the added bonus of lyrics I can hardly understand (I speak just a little Japanese) so the chance of them wearing out on me due to overrepetition is significantly reduced.
To sum up: Babymetal is fun, enjoyable, innovative and one of a kind. Not recommended for Heavy Metal purists but for everybody who wants something fresh and new to blast out of their speakers. Listening to Babymetal is like being in a ball-moshpit together with Godzilla, a squadron of mecha and a troupe of unicorns.
10 burning, candy-flavoured skulls!
You can listen to some preview snippets here: Babymetal – Babymetal.