Title: Metal Galaxy
Genre: Kawaii Metal (Metal, J-Pop)
Release Date: 11th October 2019
Label: BMD Fox Records
It was 2014 when three young Japanese girls shook the Metal community. After five years, their fan base has grown enormously as they have toured with artists such as KORN, METALLICA and JUDAS PRIEST. But for one reason or another, many metal fans prefer to avoid the phenomenon of BABYMETAL or keep their distance from it, because it’s not “true metal” in their eyes. But that leaves the girls of BABYMETAL cold. They conquered Japan in no time and now Europe is also on their list! With their new album ‘Metal Galaxy’ they might even succeed. The reason? Their music is addictive.
‘Metal Galaxy’ is the trio’s third album, now duo, after Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal) left the band due to health problems. Now BABYMETAL is led by Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-Metal) and Moa Kikuchi (Moametal). Even though they are two of them now, they know exactly what they are doing and ‘Metal Galaxy’ is the best example. The record is characterized by the 14 songs, which may seem completely separate from each other, but still keep a logical line. The songs never last longer than 3-4 minutes on average, but they contain enough material to make the listener loop the album.
Already the intro ‘Future Metal’ combines distorted guitars, dub step and auto tune elements. Quite a freaky mess, but that’s what people know from the Japanese. But exactly this intro is the perfect transition to the first track ‘Da Da Dance’. As a feature the girls have Tak Matsumoto, who is especially well known in Japan. He contributes his guitar work here, whereby the song, as the title already says, tends more in a danceable direction. But this takes the listener perfectly into the metal world of the girls, which unfolds over the whole length of the album. After the explosive ‘Elevator Girl’, which would be better interpreted in Japanese than in English, follows the oriental ‘Shanti Shanti Shanti’. Oriental? Yes! Bollywood meets Metal with anime charm. Remarkable here is the ability of Su-Metal, who vocally really gives everything and shows what she is able of.
After the oriental journey the listener is on a pirate ship with ‘Oh! Majinai’. Here the deep, ominous sounding voice of SABATON’s Joakim Brodén immediately strikes the listener, underlining the folkloristic elements. But the girls still have some aces up their sleeves. One of them is ‘Brand New Day’ which is amplified by the guitarists Tim Henson and Scott LePage (POLYPHIA), who delight the listener with a strong solo at the end of the song. While the Japanese continue to present the introduction of the elements, which are scorned in metal music, in their own way, one of the absolute highlights of the album follows: ‘Distortion’. Guest musician for this song is none other than ARCH ENEMY’s Alissa White-Gluz, whose voice is the total counterpart to Su’s delicate, sweet voice. Also the following song couldn’t stop the listener to head-bang. Rapper F. Hero supports the girls in ‘Pa Pa Ya!!’ and moves ‘Metal Galaxy’ even more away from the beloved metal tradition. It’s fast and combines rap with growls and vocals. The last song ‘Arkadia’ reminds a little of DRAGONFORCE because of its speed, the driving power metal, the bells and the synth-sounds.
‘Metal Galaxy’ should not be underestimated, just as BABYMETAL should not be. Even if many smile at them and don’t take them seriously, they stay on their path and don’t let themselves be intimidated. If you listen to the album, you expect an hour of fresh, different and unpredictable music that you have never heard before. You rarely find a work that is as multi-faceted and entertaining as this one. The album also builds a certain tension: In the beginning the girls give everything to let the listener take a deep breath afterwards. Then they continue with full power, to show their calmer side towards the end and offer a suitable ending with the last song.
You just have to hear ‘Metal Galaxy’ once and jump over your shadow to get your own picture of the band and give the girls a chance in the metal industry. Because when young people manage to inspire hundreds of thousands of people and fill concert halls, offer surprises in this clichéd society, it means that they are really good and know exactly what they are doing.
01. Future Metal
02. Da Da Dance (feat. Tak Matsumoto)
03. Elevator Girl
04. Shanti Shanti Shanti
05. Oh! Majinai (feat. Joakim Brodén)
06.Brand New Day (feat Tim Henson & Scott LePage)
07. Night Night Burn!
08. In the Name Of
09. Distortion (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)
10. Pa Pa Ya!! (feat. F. Hero)
Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-Metal) – vocals
Moa Kikuchi (Moametal) – vocals
BABYMETAL’s accompanying band for live performances is the Kami Band, which is made up of established session musicians. They mostly perform with corpse paint and white robes. Their current members are:
Takayoshi Ōmura – guitar
Leda Cygnus – guitar
Isao Fujita – guitar
BOH – bass
Hideki Aoyama – drums
Total: 8.5 /10