Only in Japan could anyone think of combining “Death Metal” with little girls singing and dancing. But before you dismiss this completely out of hand, take a moment to consider what it means. In America, Metal is looked down upon. Most
sheep people listen to totally worthless, disposable bullshit, such as whatever is popular at the moment you’re reading this. I don’t even want to type any of their undeserving names. Things are different in Japan. The awesome Animetal recorded Thrash/Power Metal covers of Anime theme songs, and were so popular that a US version of the band now exists, covering that band’s covers. That is how crazy Japan is. So, when I first heard of Babymetal, a couple years ago, I think, I stopped everything to immediately check them out. It helps that I just love Japan, of course. Osamu Tezuka, Go Nagai, Ichiro Mizuki, Leiji Matsumoto, Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda, Stan Sakai, Yoshitaka Amano, Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima are among the greatest artistic geniuses the human race has ever produced. (If you don’t know who they all are, I truly feel sorry for you.) Babymetal released a few singles (and videos to accompany them, of course, as this is a visual band) which are compiled here with several new songs, so I went into this having already been familiar with some of the material. The new single/video, and the album-opener, “Babymetal Death,” is the heaviest thing they’ve ever recorded, along the lines of Dethklok’s most intense moments, with “Death!” chanted over and over comprising the bulk of the lyrics. I don’t make the Dethklok comparison lightly, as both bands are just about as equally fabricated (although both groups consist of actual live musicians when performing on stage), and if you can find any enjoyment in the music of the animated Americans, you might be able to do likewise with the very Japanese Babymetal. The music is generally within the realms of Thrash or modern Death Metal, plus some electronic elements, and of course the currently 16-year-old Su-metal singing with occasional vocal help from the even younger Moametal and Yuimetal. They’re better than you might think, although I don’t believe that any of them are unleashing those sporadic Death-growls. If you listen to any amount of Power Metal I guarantee that you’ve heard lighter-weight singing. The only real problem I even have with this, since I don’t expect it to be “art” any more than I would a PG-13 Hollywood movie to be, is that a few of the songs are written to cover specific musical bases that I don’t like. After about a minute-and-half, the very Pop-Metal “Ii ne!” suddenly becomes a Rap song for 30 seconds, before getting what I can only describe as “brutal” for the next 30, then going back to normal. I think that “Akumu no Rinbukyoku” starts with (and later goes back to) what may be a Djent riff. I avoid that type of supposedly-musical abomination like AIDS-infested Indiana meth/crack whores, so I’m not sure, but it’s an unbelievably terrible riff. Even so, it’s only a small part of the song and Su-metal just completely ignores it and signs a beautiful vocal line over it as if that stupid riff didn’t exist at all. “Uki Uki ★ Midnight” has some Dubstep elements, which I guess I didn’t really mind. I don’t even know how to describe what happens during parts of “4 no Uta.” But I do expect some weirdness. Admittedly, more than a little is lost without the visuals, and I don’t mean that in any perverted way (this time), but if you can get past the fact that this is three little girls and an anonymous (supposedly) backing band, there is actually a lot to like here. I mean, would you prefer that something like this is popular (which it is in Japan!), or… just look at the Billboard Top 10 this week. As with a great many other things, I’m with Japan.
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