Babymetal Are About as Metal as Justin Bieber, Journalist Insists

"Don't call it metal when it’s obviously not," the article reads.

Ultimate Guitar

Babymetal are still very much stirring up the metal community, garnering more and more reactions that range from massive praises to full-on bashing.

In that spirit, an interesting article has recently surfaced on Gun Shy Assassin, stressing the need to draw the line between what is metal and what isn't, and therefore place Babymetal outside of the guitar-heavy domain once and for all.

"Certain words are meant to have narrow meanings, but through overuse and lazy application, language loses its value and people with ulterior motives can use the vastly broad terms to do some scary stuff," author Rafael Gallaher kicked off.

Singling out "epic," "awesome," and "beautiful" as prime examples of such words, the author focused on metal, saying, "One culture that seems to have been on crazy pills trying to redefine itself is the metal community. A substantial portion of metal authorities is deeming Babymetal 'metal.'"

"There's really nothing metal about them other than the color black and they have distorted guitars. They aren't sinister (their lyrical content is about chocolate, for Chrissakes) and they aren't rooted in the blues or punk. They are an electronic pop band that uses some instrumentation that has become identified with heavy metal.

"That's like saying Justin Bieber is metal because he wore a Municipal Waste patch on his battle jacket."

"You can't redefine metal because you're bored with metal bands, fellas. If you're bored with metal, don't listen to metal bands. Don't find a quirky electronica group you like and say they are a progressive step for metal and people who don't embrace it are narrow-minded. I might be narrow-minded when it comes to metal, but, s--t, at least I don't think something is metal solely because it has loud guitars in it.

"I'm not saying don’t enjoy it, I’m saying don’t call it metal when it’s obviously not," the article reads.

Pointing at what he considers a more plausible alternative, the author brought up Sockweb, "an insanely talented, insanely fast grindcore band that springs from the mind of a seven year old girl and her multi-instrumentalist dad. Their album 'Werewolf' makes you gnash your teeth. It's really good.

"As opposed to basically getting handed material written by corporate pop song architects who specialize in easy to regurgitate lip-sync material, Joanie writes lyrics about things that actually bother her. Sure, they are presented in childish lingo, but she's seven, dude, she did fantastically. She confronts the primal feelings of isolation, fear, and rage, describing struggles we all go through at one point or another.

The conclusion notes that "Sockweb is very, very metal by definition. Babymetal is not." Check out the clips below and let us know if you agree.

85 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The backing band to babymetal sure is metal. Anyone know who it is?
    Jim #4
    Takayoshi Ohmura/ Leda Deluhi Guitars Boh Bass Aoyama Hideki Drums but they keep changing because of the involvements of these dudes in other band. and those guys seriously can shred.
    That's my problem with it. It's a group of talented individuals with a bunch of naive teenage idols taped onto it in order to make it sell (AKA manufactured music).
    The bassist in the band is from Blood Staind Child. You can definitely hear their influence in Babymetal.
    It's ridiculous to care so much about whether they're metal or not if you don't like them. I don't like them. You know what I do? I go listen to some Lamb of God or something. It's that easy. In a related note, I feel like I've been added to a sex offender registry just by watching that Babymetal video.
    "That's like saying Justin Bieber is metal because he wore a Municipal Waste patch on his battle jacket." No it's not. It's like saying Justin Bieber is metal because he has songs with blast beats and 32nd-note tremolo guitar riffs.
    Exactly, that's kind of like saying you're not Metal because you don't have long hair, it's such a ridiculous statement. Stick to the music, not the aesthetics.
    That thumbnail pretty much sums up my thoughts about this; who actually cares if they are metal, pop or country & western for crying out loud.
    Metal Elitists care unfortunately and there is no stopping them. You'll find more open-minded folk in the Westboro Baptist Church. It's a real shame.
    I'm a metal elitist and I don't give a shit what people call them. If I don't think they sound metal, I won't call them metal.
    Eh, I think there's a distinction to be made been elitism and discerning sensibility. Like, I don't really have an issue with people saying that bands like Falling In Reverse aren't metal, because between the rapping, samples, posturing, awful vocals and overproduction, it bears no resemblance to anything metal. Similarly, I think that Babymetal is a gimmick since I don't see any legacy to their music. BUT it's just a laugh, it's fun to put on and just be immmature. That said, technically Ghost is more traditionally 'metal' than bands like Napalm Death or whatever, and it really pisses me off when people start dismissing numetal, metalcore, proggy stuff and even, though it pains me to say it, djent, as being 'not metal'. Because they are.
    Floyd Phoenix
    Literally anyone who isn't really a metalhead starts defining anyone heavier than Metallica as white noise, so getting as angry as this guy has just makes him seem more like the guy in the photo on the page than anything...
    You can't redefine metal because you're bored with metal bands, fellas.
    Okay, how the **** else do you redefine it then, genius?
    You don't.
    Well that's just backwards thinking. If it wasn't meant to be redefined, everyone would still sound like Sabbath and Priest's early stuff. That being said, I don't much care for their annoying voices, though the backing music is alright. I don't really get the hate these guys get, but then I don't get the hate a lot of bands get. If there's one thing metal fans are good at, it's hatred.
    Babymetal and Ghost should tour together. Just for funsies. Just to take the piss out of folks they upset.
    I still don't understand the hate for Ghost. They're a great band, especially live.
    Pick 'n' Finger
    Nope, especially live they suck. A ridiculous costume fest without any energy and repetitive as hell.
    Have you even bothered to watch a live video or something before? They certainly aren't Slipknot or GWAR, but they still bring out a great atmosphere live. I guess its all just up to personal taste.
    Yeah well Metal always had weird lyrics anyway. Why not chocolate ??? Is it better to sing about wizards, the deep sea or mountain energy ? Never thought there was anything violent and agressive with wizards ha ha
    Well it took them long enough...
    This s*** was released in the mid to late eighties, so before Babymetal we had Babyhairmetal.
    The metal community is so toxic when it comes to genre classification. Dont listen to the music if you don't like it. It's like they need to justify their self-worth to the world by being brootulz enough.
    "They aren't sinister (their lyrical content is about chocolate, for Chrissakes) and they aren't rooted in the blues or punk." Kraf Dinner by Annihilator is hereby not metal, not sinister enough. Cacophony is hereby not metal, closer connections to classical music than punk and blues. This paragraph shows that the author doesn't even have an understanding of music history or genres whatsoever. Defining metal by sinister lyrics and clear blues/punk influences rules out so many bands that are considered metal bands (i.e. Cacophony, any power metal band ever, and so on)
    Honestly, who the hell cares? It's three little Japanese girls, if they can cause this many "pure" metalheads to get offended by getting on stage and having fun I say they're an overdue thing. Metal doesn't need to be uber-serious 100% of the time, guys.
    I'm a metalhead and I don't mind them being classified as metal (hell, I consider the Power Rangers theme song to be metal). That being said, the vocals are shit.
    There is one of them in Megitsune who shows some vocal prowess, but other than that a lot of the vocals seem like a kid just talking into the mic. Nonetheless I still strangely like them
    Genres really aren't important. We basically use genres as categories as if there are exact limits to what fits in each category and that it either is in the category or it isn't. The reality of the situation is that music lies on a spectrum. It's not that Babymetal is or isn't metal, it's that it's more or less somewhere in between. It's not as heavy as Meshuggah or Gojira, but it's certainly heavier than many Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin songs (remember heavier doesn't mean better, especially in this case). Also it's a mix of pop as well, so you can argue that it exists on several spectrums. In either case, they're entertaining and I have no real issue with them.
    ... The kind of mentality that this article reflects is why rock n roll is frickin' dead. It's all about "WUTS METULZ?!" and "DAT IS NOT REALZ ROCK". Frickin' bickering ****s, arguing semantics. The metal community is becoming increasingly like the Indie community, totally self-importance, and the self-importance of the fans is what makes sure no bands from the genre can properly break the mainstream anymore, and not lose it's audience. It's fairly ironic. The reason shitty pop acts are ruling the damn world is because real artists are being forced into the position of staying "True" to some silly target audience or another. Sure, my personal opinion is that that Babymetal stuff is almost unlistenable, horrid to my ears.. But so ****in' what? That doesn't mean that suddenly it doesn't belong. Guess what.. PEOPLE define music genres. If we collectively decide tomorrow that Kesha is metal as balls, then it is so, why? Because we own the damn label of metal. Wether you like it or not, the majority does define things.
    Who the hell cares if it's metal or not!? If you like it, you like. If you don't like it, you don't like it... Plane and simple
    Agreed... people need to chill the **** out, especially Rafael Gallaher. 3 japanese girls gets on your nerves? get off the internet and find something else to care about, seriously
    The music is pretty good, but when they start to sing is when I have to turn it off. This band will die out and be forgotten before next year.
    "The music is pretty good, but when they start to sing is when I have to turn it off." Many people have felt like that about Overkill, and they've managed to stick around for over 30 years now. (I love EVERYTHING about Overkill, BTW, but I realize that Blitz' voice isn't for everyone.)
    The difference is that one is a thrash metal vocalist that suits the music, the other are a bunch of mid-teen Japanese pop singers who never knew what metal was before they're agency formed this idea.
    It's like Bullet for My Valentine, but heavier and in a language other than English.
    Yes, gimme choco is about chocolate. It has a lot of pop influence. It has lots of hits on youtube, and is pretty much the go-to video to post by anyone who says they aren't metal. Not that I dislike the song, but you could at least not strawman the argument and use ijime dame zettai, headbanger or megitsune. Or you could take the sidekick girls out of it and post akatsuki or akumu no rondo. Akumu no rondo isn't about chocolate or sleepovers or first concerts or other happy thoughts like most of their other songs- it's about being stalked in a nightmare that keeps repeating and you can't wake up from. They have a range of material.
    So since the lyrics are not about santing killing and all that fun "metal" lyrics is not metal???? That make no sence I swred metal seem to be the only genra of music that has rules.... Whynot do??? So a metal not allowed to write about loved just heat. No wonder metal dying because the fan base are idoit who made up a bunch of rules for what metal supposed to sound like and to top it no one can agreed to any rule
    Oh Lord Jesus! What the hell did I just see??? This is so weird and ridiculously amazing at the same time. What's next? I tell you what's next. Next we are gonna have old people, like grandparents kind of old, playing metal and headbanging!!! Oh wait, now that I think about it we already have that... Well, I guess going to the other extreme is not so weird after all.
    I disagree with this guy. What defines metal really is the sound (ie distorted guitars, double bass drum, more aggressive riffs and generally forceful vocals of some sort(eg shouting, screaming, death growls but also operatic power metal singing and I realize this doesn't cover all bands but I think it covers most of them). Metal music doesn't need to be sinister as shown by power metal bands(I mean not only them, there are a ton but this is one subgenre that really goes outside of that image). Also being rooted in blues or punk also isn't something necesarry to be metal(especially as metal becomes an older genre and new metal bands are being influenced by older metal bands as opposed to earlier genres (You could probably trace through influence baby metal or any modern metal band to punk or blues but maybe not directly (also blues is kind of an earlier heavy metal thing, more modern bands don't tend to use it as much in riff writing but again it varies. Really, for anything to be deemed metal it's just the sound. You can take any song and if you play it on heavily distorted guitar and add double bass drum to it and harsher vocals you could deem it a "metal version" of that song.
    A lot of lost people on here. This is metal. Stop trying to be right by arguing. Metal is metal.
    Velcro Man
    That picture is so ****ing accurate, too many people based their egos on being "metal" and when something comes along that doesn't make them feel all "br00tul und kvlt" it makes them feel uncomfortable, so they have to reinforce their sexuality to themselves. If you consider Poison metal and refuse to accept Babymetal, you're a ****ing idiot.
    can you get any more metal then this ? headbanging to the extreme Marshall stacks excellent guitar work ? and i have no idea what rammstein are singing about
    The funny part is Babymetal is a subgroup of Sakura Gakuin, which is kind of an idol art school. This sub group is called Juuonbu (Juu=Heavy on=sound bu=group) and experiments the fusion between idol and heavy metal. So what Babymetal is doing was aimed at the japanese idol fans. Babymetal was an ok group in Japan. But somehow they're music video Gimme Choco went viral because it was exotic, catchy, cute and totally unexpected. From Gimme Choco, listeners started listening to their other songs. Specially Megitsune and Ijime, Damme, Zettai. Then they found their live videos, and then their live presentations in Europe and North America. And during the process they became more and more famous for having such powerful live performances. And along came the hatred for being pointed by the western media and many fans as a metal band. Even for the japanese Babymetal is like a phenomenon recently discovered, they knew about Babymetal but they are mesmerized at the western reaction to this idol group. So although haters point at their vocalists for being too cute and young and not knowing about metal and the fact that is manufactured, the point is Babymetal is not your regular metal band, there's no point in comparing them with your favorite metal band or your usual growling vocal with their most putrid violent lyrics or painful souls. Because it's idol pure and simply. It's just foolish. Just understand Babymetal is an idol group, but is successful in the metal scene for being an idol pop group of girls with a BADASS HEAVY live show.
    I didn't consider Metallica to be heavy metal the very first time I heard them because they had a different vibe and I just considered them to be in a different category like speed or thrash metal at one point. It's just that their name had the word "metal" in it and this seems to have exerted a strong influence in the way the younger generation associates or defines what heavy metal is these days. Typical or classic heavy metal has some roots in blues and rock n' roll and incorporates screaming guitars. Retrace the Sabbath, Scorpions, Priest, Ratt, Alice Cooper era up to the present and you'll know what I mean.
    Step one: Create controversial label for band Step two: Create articles and post songs of said band, inevitably creating arguments between tr00 metallers and other music enthusiasts. Step three: Post different songs of said band, different articles and create publicity. Step four: Reap the benefits. However you see them, it is what it is. I didn't mind the one riff, but really the song gets boring and the vocals are awful. I personally do not like the electronic sound mixed with metal anyway. This band will not get played in my cd player.
    I don't mind Babymetal. I think their funny! Are they suppost to be? Are they a comody music act like Tenacious D?
    Babymetal IS a metal band, whether you like it or not. And yes, definitions change (or expand) over time - again whether you like it or not. "Rock & Roll" is a perfect example. From a 2014+ vantage point, the entire panoply of early-rock (from the 1950s - back when it was calving off from R&B) could hardly be called "Rock" by today's standards, but it definitely WAS Rock - it was the foundational and original Rock. So if you tried to argue that Chuck Berry’s "Maybellene" or most of Elvis' work "weren't Rock" because they (fill in the blank) "weren't enough like Led Zeppelin", "used an overly-simple trap set for the drums", "refrained from pyrotechnics", or "needed more cowbell", you'd be laughed from the room. The simple certainty is that musical genres really are democratically-decided, for all the horribly messy vagueness that entails, and that's a good thing - again, "whether you like it or not". So Babymetal is metal. Because the fans say it is, because a great many of the masters of metal music production say they are, and because they claim to be. You can have your opinion, but who are you to gainsay Babymetal's claim? Recent history alone is proving you wrong. So let go of your purist "Metal only means this___" attitude, and relax. Artistic dogmatism is rarely attractive.
    There's nothing metal about them really, except for the back musicians, but even so, the 3 girls don't write the lyrics nor the music, and their singin is nothing but J-pop with a loud music track in the background.If you like Babymetal you should understand that they're not metal, saying "it's a new type of experimental metal" is just a lie, this band is as produced as any musical act from the west, other than that, there is nothing genuine about this band, it's essentially a product, and you should be able to like it without the need of calling them a metal band just because you're uncomfortable with the fact that you like 3 cute japanese girls singin cute songs.Personally, I hate Babymetal, though I can see why people like it, there's still nothing metal about them besides their back up band.I'm not saying that you can't listen to them, I'm just saying that people have to accept that they're not metal.In the end, you ARE allowed to listen to other things besides metal and rock music...
    I just realized I didn't address the "Justin Bieber" angle. When reading this comment, please keep in mind that I am sane and have taste so you can safely assume that I loathe and abhor Bieber. Let's paint a nightmare scenario: Bieber takes a clue from Babymetal, and hires a group of truly top-flight technical metal virtuosos (and pays them enough they won't mind being shunned by the rest of the metal community for rest of forever for the crime they're about to commit), and releases an album that hits all the metal-isms. Hell, let's say he even hits them "formulaically", and is SO PLEASED WITH HIMSELF that he decides he's created a "new genre of metal" he initially called "Formula Metal", but now refers to it simply as "F-METAL", completely (and not very ironically) tone-deaf to the fact that "F-Metal" is pretty much exactly the message received by the rest of the metal community. That's our nightmare scenario, OK? Now comes the dreaded question: Is it (or is he) "metal"? Not "do you love it?" - of course you don't love it! Neither does much of anyone else! It's a bomb (in the old, non-complimentary sense of that term). A marketing failure! You and I would join in lock-step opposition to him taking the act on tour! But is it metal? The truly frightening thing here is that the answer is "yes". I'm certain it would be awful, wretched, terrible, etc., but it would also be "metal". You'd have reason to cry in your beer. BUT here's something to consider - given all of the above, isn't it a near-certainty that you already know of an indisputably metal band (current or former) that's undeniably worse? I certainly do! 30 years ago I was the lead singer for one! I think the emotional scars have almost healed...
    I agree. Im now going to go grid my axe with my beard shavings and then maybe later forge a a giant dildo to sit on with my own appendage because thats just how metal I am.
    Can't we just categorize it as Electropop-Metal and call it a day? Its obviously got the pounding drums and thrashing guitar hooks traditionally associated with metal, while combining it with pop vocals and electronic music. So no, they are not purely a metal band in metal's purest form, but you can't deny that their style has been strongly influenced by the metal music genre. This is regardless of the lyrics coming from corporate writers and marketers or the hearts of the musicians themselves.
    I love the hate. I know Satan loves the hate too... That's why he's giving the metal community something to despise
    I think the real question is: if Bieber suddenly came out with a metal backing band, would that make him metal too? Whatever the answer to that question, is also the answer to the question, should Babymetal be considered metal?
    "Certain words are meant to have narrow meanings..." ...and "metal" isn't one of them, given how many different metal genres exist.
    Why does it matter if they are considered Metal or not? Why do they, or anything else for that matter have to be justified as Metal or become the object of hatred? Seriously, I watched someone try to justify Micheal Jackson as Metal just so his friends wouldn't call him a pussy. What's the point? If you don't like them, good for you. Get over it and move on.