From their beginning in Sakura Gakuin’s ‘Heavy Music Club’ to the globally renown gothic Lolita’s of today Babymetal have come a long way. Their unique fusion of metal and J-Pop orchestrated by producer Kobayashi has both delighted and confused ‘traditional’ metalheads for almost a decade. Uniquely charming, immediately recognisable and vivacious, it has not been an easy ride (for further details, check out our article Can Babymetal Win Fans Back After Tumultuous 2018? )
Effectively now appearing as the duo of Su-Metal (vocals and dance) and Moametal (scream and dance) with a rotating live third dancer, Metal Galaxy is their third album and arrives three years after their last offering to the Fox God Kitsune (Metal Resistance). Apparently the album is based on the concept of ‘The Odyssey of Metal Galaxy’ and incorporates elements of the different countries through which they have journeyed on this ongoing voyage with their music ‘painting the metal galaxy in different colours.’
Additional vibrancy is added by the presence of guest artists in the form of vocalists and guitarists.
Metal Galaxy commences with the sci-fi orientated introduction Future Metal and its super kawaii robotic narration ‘This ain’t heavy metal, welcome to the world of Babymetal’. The frenetically upbeat Da Da Dance featuring Tak Matsumoto of B’z (as featured on Asian Sky, Steve Vai’s Beyond the Ultraworld ) has a 90’s rave/ crusty/ grebo feel with vocoders and shredding! It’s an arcade game come to life.
Elevator Girl (English version) initially received a mixed audience reception due to English being the format in which it was released. Much darker in tone, with strong EDM influences, easy listening jazz elements and a hint of the Communards Never Can Say Goodbye!
Shanti Shanti Shanti brings J-rock via a Bollywood makeover to bring inner peace through the medium of dance. European power metal, with a sea-shanty feel defines Oh! MAJINAI. Strings, whistles and the vocal talents of Joakim Brodén (Sabaton) combine seamlessly with the strong vocals of Su-Metal for a metal jig of great proportions. With the presence of Tim Henson and Scott LePlage (Polyphia), I was expecting a heavier and djentier, prog direction. How naive of me, It’s an incredibly mature vocal line, with tremendous skilful musicianship. Night Night Burn! incorporates a funky Latino taste, the bass-line alone is worthy of commendation. Whirling euphorically, like some metal dervish I would love actually attend a dance class if a partner could keep up with this.
IN THE NAME OF opens dramatically, symphonically, respectfully before building into a darkly atmospheric industrial rave. Guttural vocals, primal beats and a haunting melody forma a sublime intermission. The pace changes somewhat for the heavier, speedier and cleverly syncopated Distortion. The interplay between the brutal melodies and vocals of Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) and the ‘cute’ is truly inspired. Now, for something completely different once more: PA PA YA!! Which features the Thai rapper F.HERO which adds a nu-metal hint to a bouncy feelgood summer tune; that could have quite easily slotted onto a Gwen Stefani album. Kagerou has a deliciously heavy, southern rock/ stoner groove, the vocals glide ethereally creating an incredibly pleasant contrast.
The release of Starlight almost a year ago, was somewhat overshadowed by the accompanying statement that Yui-Metal had indeed departed the band. From a mid-tempo nod to full djent attack via an angelic chorus, it is most impressive.
Shine as the longest track on the album, certainly does not feel that way with its haunting and somewhat disconcerting vocal melodies. The track segues into the ecstatic choir of Arkadia before the guitars go hell for leather. Climaxing in a glorious crescendo, Metal Galaxy is truly out of this world.
Babymetal is growing up into a magnificent beast. It’s easy to simply focus on the focal points of Su-Metal and Moametal, but there is far more to the act than the frontwomen. They are women, depicting the personas of the chosen ones while delivering exceptional vocals and choreography that would make a pop star weep. As to be expected, the musicianship is on another level and the production is wonderful. This is not a gimmick, this is bloody marvellous music, delivered with charm and exuberance.
Babymetal released their new album Metal Galaxy on October 11th. You can order it via Amazon.
Metal Galaxy Track Listing
01. FUTURE METAL
02. DA DA DANCE (feat. Tak Matsumoto)
03. Elevator Girl – English ver. –
04. Shanti Shanti Shanti
05. Oh! MAJINAI (feat. Joakim Brodén)
06. Brand New Day (feat. Tim Henson and Scott LePage)
07. Night Night Burn!
08. IN THE NAME OF
09. Distortion (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)
10. PA PA YA!! (feat. F.HERO)
In 2020, BABYMETAL will also embark on their first ever full European headline tour which kicks off in Stockholm, Sweden on 3rd February 2020:
METAL GALAXY TOUR IN EUROPE 2020:
03/02 – Fryshyset, Stockholm (Sweden)
04/02 – Sentrum Scene, Oslo (Norway)
05/02 – VEGA Main Hall, Copenhagen (Denmark)
08/02 – Große Freiheit, Hamburg (Germany)
09/02 – Elysee Monmatre, Paris (France)
11/02 – Gasometer, Vienna (Austria)
13/02 – Carlswerk Victoria, Cologne (Germany)
14/02 – Huxleys, Berlin (Germany)
16/02 – AB, Brussels (Belgium)
17/02 – O13, Tilburg (Netherlands)
19/02 – Barrowland, Glasgow (UK)
20/02 – Great Hall, Cardiff (UK)
22/02 – Apollo, Manchester (UK)
23/02 – Hammersmith Apollo, London (UK)
26/02 – House of Culture, Helsinki (Finland)
28/02 – M1, St. Petersburg (Russia)
01/03 – Adrenaline Stadium, Moscow (Russia)
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