Album Review: Babymetal - Metal Resistance

As soon as I typed out the name ‘Babymetal’ in my word document, I immediately realised the amount of constructive criticism that I was going to receive from my Rockhaq peers. Babymetal are a Japanese pop metal group composed of Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-metal), Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal) & Moa Kikuchi (Moametal). The trio have somewhat grown to become a peculiar phenomenon within the metal community due to their controversial approach to the genre. Metal Resistance is the sophomore album to their self-titled record Babymetal.

Road of Resistance opens the album with an epic harmonising guitar riff that has musical similarities to 1980’s power metal. British speed metal group DragonForce guitarists Herman Li & Sam Totman were responsible for bringing this musical quality to the opener. The song’s ripping tempo and retro-video game sounding guitars will leave you in a relentless moshing frenzy.

Karate is a song you’d expect to be used as an opening theme for a Japanese anime television show because of the grandiose qualities it internalises through its chunky distorted guitars and earth-shattering percussion section. Karate carries a positive message about overcoming the barriers that life presents you with “Still more, seiya soiya, let’s fight on even if we get sad and unable to stand up”.

Awadama Fever contains Babymetal’s signature wacky soundscapes such as the dizzying synthesiser riff which sounds like a buzzing bee on drugs. However if the drum & bass style of Awadama Fever wasn’t weird enough, the song’s theme is equally bizarre as lead vocalist Su-metal sings about eating bubble gum “Bubble ball, bubble fever/Ah yeah! Fly off, chew, chew, chewing gum”.

Meta Taro is the battle cry that Babymetal would sing if they were heading into war with their own army of Viking pirates!

The hyperactive techno groove that’s found in YAVA! perfectly summarises why Babymetal’s musical formula is so unique. The song effortlessly alternates between its different music styles, as the guitar strumming patterns in the verses resembles those found in reggae and ska music. Meta Taro has influences of Scandinavian metal written all over it, which can be heard through the military marching beat, accordion and anthemic chants. Meta Taro is essentially the battle cry that Babymetal would sing if they were heading into war with their own army of Viking pirates!

Monumental power ballad No Rain, No Rainbow allows Metal Resistance to take a breather for a couple of minutes and features such as jagged metal riffs and bombastic soundscapes are absent. No Rain, No Rainbow has glimpses of stadium rock where the influences of Queen’s guitarist Brian May can be heard in the guitar solos. It highlights the huge musical potential that Babymetal can go on to achieve in their future albums. The track also proves Su-metal who, at the age of 19, can vocally stand up alongside the key singers in today’s pop scene.

The One continues the theatrical rock elements from No Rain, No Rainbow, which sends Metal Resistance out on an absolute high. This is the first time lyrics have been sung in English all the way through by the band. The track is dedicated to Babymetal’s fanbase to thank them for their continuous support since the band’s formation in 2010 “This is our song/This is our dream/Please take us to the land of dreams/We are the one/Together we’re the only one.

Metal Resistance displays the beauty of Babymetal’s unpredictable musical nature and how well they balance the contrasting genres in their songs, from heavy metal to Japanese idol pop. The band have also learnt from their predecessor to dial back the crazy soundscapes and as a result of this it sees them build a heavier and cohesive sound. However there are some minor inconsistencies with Metal Resistance. Tracks such as Dusk Till Dawn seem as if they’ve just been added to the album to see how many other genres can be packed onto it, which can sometimes feel off-putting.