Metal Clone X - Louder Than Your Mother
In Japan, the most popular form of music is currently a form of Idol Pop that involves a large number of girls in a chorus troop. The phenomenon isn’t new, but of late there are a lot more of them than there used to be. Fueled by the success of AKB48, the number of Idol Groups has proliferated. Older Japanophiles (such as myself) will surely remember Morning Musume, but there are many, many more. The Oricon charts (the equivalent to the Billboard Top 100) are dominated by groups like the previously mentioned AKB48 and Morning Musume as well as newer groups like E-Girls, Tokyo Girls Style, Sakura Gakuin (which, oddly enough, spawned Babymetal as a sub-group), and dozens of sub-units, splinter groups and “extended family members” of existing groups. Now, you may be asking yourself why this brief education on Japanese Idol Groups is necessary, right? The answer to that is because Metal Clone X came about because of this phenomenon. Former Megadeth/Cacophony/Hawaii guitarist (and guitar wanker extraordinaire) Marty Friedman formed this group as a Metal tribute to an Idol Pop unit called Momoiro Clover Z. Anime nerds will know Momoiro Clover Z from their performance of “Moon Pride,” the opening theme to the new Sailor Moon series. Though Louder Than Your Mother isn’t composed entirely of Momoiro Clover Z cover songs, it looks (and sounds) like the bulk of this is Metalized Idol Pop music. It’s essentially Babymetal in reverse. Instead of a bunch of underage girls from an Idol Pop group playing a Metalized version of Idol Pop, it’s a bunch of Metal dudes playing a Metalized version of Idol Pop. The difference is that Babymetal is pretty awesome and Metal Clone X isn’t. As much as I want to hate on this release for being fairly un-Metal, I have to admit that it was somewhat entertaining. It’s a bit on the absurd side so it has the “Dude, you have to check this shit out, it’s fucking terrible” factor going for it. How Friedman got Freddie Lim (Chthonic singer) to do the vocals on this is beyond me, but I hear that Freddie is something of a Japanophile himself. I’ve seen him (and the rest of Chthonic) on stage performing “Megitsune” with Babymetal where he provides backing vocals, so he’s probably quite familiar with Japanese Idol Pop. I think the main reason this fails isn’t because Marty and the gang couldn’t compose the music or properly produce it. It fails because Idol Pop is popular mainly because the singers are female. Had Marty called up Nana Tanimura (whom he’s worked with in the past) or had Avex round up a bunch of sixteen year old girls for vocals, this would have probably sounded 1,000% better. Of course, it might sound almost exactly like Babymetal, but that would be a step up (probably several) from what this is. Marty Friedman may be a great guitarist, but this isn’t exactly his crowning achievement. It’s a curiosity at best, and even die-hard fans of his work will probably want to pass on this. Because this is a Japanese release, I wouldn’t even recommend it as an impulse buy because that “impulse” will probably set you back $45 for the physical version. If you want Metalized Idol Pop music, Babymetal works on many more levels than this does.
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