Metal Resistance review by BABYMETAL

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  • Released: Apr 1, 2016
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 6 (107 votes)
BABYMETAL: Metal Resistance
1

Sound — 10
Babymetal are a group from Japan made up of three teenage girls who sing and dance in addition to a quartet of instrumentalists known as the Kami Band. Their name more or less denotes their musical style: pre-teen J-pop mixed with death/power metal. If a couple of teenaged, vocally talented dancers hooking up with master metal players sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. Babymetal's true origins are buried in the Japanese idol industry, where talent agencies turn skilled, young (primarily) girls into singers/actresses/models in return for control over their careers/lives to such a degree that they may be contractually prohibited from having boyfriends. An article here from the A.V. Club provides a nice introduction to the idol industry, but suffice it to say that, from the standpoint of a music group, it is everything people think about the Disney Channel popstar industry, but on steroids.

With Babymetal though, there is an intriguing exception to this supposition: the backing band gets a lot of focus too, both live and in the studio. The songs usually include guitar solos and long instrumental sections, which would seem odd for, say, a Selena Gomez album. The result is that the many musicians who write songs for Babymetal albums are expert metal musicians from the underground Japanese metal scene who are writing music that does not challenge their abilities, meaning they know exactly what they are doing. The important takeaways from all of this are: (1) Babymetal albums are designed, executed, and polished with the highest degree of professionalism (2) The confluence of songwriters allows for a very diverse collection of music.

On Babymetal's self-titled first album, the songwriters focused on mixing J-pop and metal to the point that the music felt restricted. It felt like an experiment; they were going to an album together to see if the concept would catch on. Evidently, the concept did become popular and everyone regrouped to write this second album. The biggest difference between the two albums is how nuanced the songs on the second one are compared to the pure pop/metal dichotomy of the songs on the first. The eclectic collection of songs is Zeppelin-esque in its diversity. Just as Led Zeppelin explored vast musical terrains with a blues base, so does Babymetal on this album with a death/power metal base. It would be hard to review this album as if it is one body because the songs are so different. For the rest of this section, I will describe songs individually to try to show just how diverse this album is.

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1. "Road of Resistance" - Herman Li and Sam Totman of DragonForce collaborate with the gang to make the album's furthest venture into power metal and its overall best song. The melodies and guitar solos have DragonForce written all over them. Where the song really shines though is with its rhythms. They aren't breathtaking or groundbreaking but they are weaved together very well, surely keeping listeners on their toes yet at the same time not confusing them with complexity. This song accomplishes a lot in five minutes and for that it should be applauded. As a side note, this song was previously released as a bonus track to the secondary, worldwide release of the band's first album.

2. "Karate" - This is the first single released from the album, probably because it is the least ambitious song on the album despite its main riff, which, yes, does djent, and its very catchy chorus. It gives newcomers a solid idea of what Babymetal does.

3. "Awadama Fever" - This song has a lot of electronic sounds and other studio tricks that sometimes show up on other songs of the album. However these oddities are left to dominate their own sections of the song so the very catchy verses and chorus are still able to shine on their own.

4. "Yava!" - More of a niche song than anything else, this song veers toward ska punk to make something that sounds like a very fun, uneasy "Scooby-Doo" chase song. Clean, upstroked guitar parts in the verses are more or less reprised in the heavier chorus, after which a synthesizer, which can be seen as the horn section of a ska band, repeats the song's melody. This song is odd but it is also my personal favorite from the album.

6. "Meta Taro" - A very easy beat, the song sounds like an old war march, the type of thing that is taught to school children once the war that it followed is done, similar to "Yankee Doodle" in the United States. Like "Yava!," this song is more of a novelty than anything else, but it certainly adds diversity to the album.

8. "GJ!" - This is one of two songs where only Yui and Moa, the two sidekicks, sing. The first rhythm is like a clapping rhythm from a sports event (d d d - d d d - d d d d d d d). The song continues into a verse that sounds like a double-dutch, jump rope ditty and the chorus is the standard catchy chord progression.

11. "Tales of the Destinies" - The weirdest and coolest song on the album. The songwriters delve into jazz fusion here, sounding a lot like Dream Theater according to many. Despite the complex time signatures (or just an atypical type of 4/4) and a lot of odd, modal shredding, this song still manages to sound catchy when the girls sing. Also, each time the girls sing the song title in the "chorus," the band plays a short section that sounds like a Deep Purple jam. The song ends with a classical piano piece that reprises the main vocal melody of the song. I would love to see if Babymetal could pull off playing this live.

Lyrics — 8
The lead singer (Su), backup duo (Yui and Moa) dynamic from the first album is solidified here. Su has the powerful, precise voice of a lead singer. Her voice can be taken seriously compared to the purposely immature squeaks of Yui and Moa. The stark contrast between Su and Yui/Moa is yet another thing that makes Babymetal stand out. There are also some cookie monster vocals at different points on the album, usually signifying a force of evil that is battling Babymetal's "metal resistance."

Babymetal's first album was initially only released in Japan, so it would make sense that all of the lyrics were Japanese. But upon realizing that Babymetal had worldwide appeal, the powers that be decided that Babymetal songs had to have some English in them. This album features a few English words on almost every song. The album's closer, named "The One," is the group's first song entirely in English, though in Japan a hybrid English-Japanese version was released.

Overall Impression — 9
With this album, Babymetal has gotten a whole lot more interesting as a musical entity. What was once a gimmick is now a serious musical endeavor. Regardless of opinions on the group's circumstances, it is undeniable that the music is diverse, well-written, and above all, fun (as this dancing child displays). Almost all of the choruses are instantly memorable and they are different enough between songs that the idea never feels repetitive. Meanwhile, the guitar solos are melodic and easy to follow, yet they never get boring.

Some have equated these ideas to an album that is disjointed or all over the place. But for this reviewer, the album's variety proves that Babymetal and its kawaii metal brand are a force to be reckoned with. And if playing London's 12,500 seat Wembley Arena is any indication, Babymetal's self-proclaimed metal resistance is quickly gaining troops.

98 comments sorted by best / new / date

    TCPirate
    So I've actually just listened to this album. I've never heard the first album but I decided to give this a go, considering some of the linked songs are interesting. It's not a 9/10 by far, it's waaay better than a 5. It's probably around 7 or 8 / 10 for me. It's really melodic and well-written. There are some really nice riffs, the biggest issue I have with this album is that it's kind of lacking a distinct style. It feels like a grab from every metal genre. There's some Thrash metal, speed metal, technical death metal, ballad rock, etc. but nothing that is actually consistent. As far as I can tell, the problem is that they have 3 teenaged japanese girls fronting it, who we assume aren't actually writing the lyrics to songs... I don't really know why this is a problem. Plenty of metal singers don't actually write their lyrics, the rest of the band do. If that's what's happening here, is it really that much of an issue?
    Wisthler
    Well totally there is an issue dude, they are japanese and dance on a Metal stage! n0t
    sean.kyoto
    I don't know about anyone else, but when I started getting into metal it wasn't by diving directly into Defeated Sanity and 7h. Target, it was a gradual progression. Grow up on radio music, discover some catchy rock songs from AC/DC, start to understand grooves with some of the nu-metal stuff that came out, drop the "nu" prefix and all of a sudden I'm listening to classic In Flames and other melodic death metal stuff. I don't know why people feel the need to shit all over bands that are accessible like this. I could easily see how their catchy style and very cohesive songwriting can push people to explore the overwhelming world of heavy metal. If you listen to this album and it's your first introduction to some heavier music, awesome. Make yourself at home, all the metalheads I know aren't going to hold that against you. Come to a show some time.
    kevinhlaing
    Metal heads just haven't yet realised that there are actually other music genres outside metal
    RosetaStoned351
    A 9 out of 10? Man, I've got nothing against Babymetal, but this review is going to get shit on!
    vivekjha25
    Yeah, 9/10 does seem like a bit of a reach.
    TCPirate
    It's a 7.5, 8 at best. All things considered, the scoring system here is weird. 10/10 would be considered a great album? 5 as average makes sense, but 10 being "great"? Surely it should be like "Mindblowingly amazing!"
    psycho8
    I wonder how many people here who have voted it so low have actually listened to the album? I haven't yet, but I loved the sound of the first, I just think that it's "cool" for people to hate on these without actually trying them. If you have tried it, and didn't like it, fair play, your choice, but there's no point voting on something if you haven't actually heard it.
    djatmo
    Most of the low votes are just people who think it's cool to hate
    Diseeze
    I like the album. Nothing really new, it's still Babymetal. I kind of view it as basically a different version of their first album. The best song in my opinion is Amore. Road of Resistance is cool too but if I wanted to listen to Dragonforce, I'd listen to Dragonforce. I met Sam and Herman and asked them how they wrote it because the rhythms and everything are not like any Dragonforce song, Sam said they just wrote the solos, and Herman said that they kept asking him for weird noise after weird noise (Pacman sound, etc) so he recorded a bunch of weird noises and sent them all for them to just pick. Not sure if the solos include all the leads though. Shit I just read all those comments. I expected Babymetal to get shit on, but you could at least try to appreciate the backing band, they're all very talented and proficient musicians. I like Babymetal because I like power metal, and they have some really power metalish songs. As you can tell, I've had shit taste in music for years.
    hEadShoVeL
    i cant take this fabricated band seriously
    Rael1975
    Yep, let's not forget that they are underage girls being exposed to the public by some ruthless corporation.
    blooddrunk
    ...who they signed a contract with
    huesudo2
    More like 'their parents signed a contract'. Let's all remember that in almost all parts of the world, minors have no legal way of consenting. And yes, Babymetal was (still is?) part of a bigger idol group which had gigantic restrictions and rules.
    Wakko444
    I love how divided BABYMETAL makes everyone.
    blooddrunk
    you mean it divides the emo leddit kids from the people who really care about metal? Metal is about more than distorted guitars and shredding. BM are a cynical marketing ploy aimed at weeaboos and a frightening amount of people fell for it.
    travislausch
    "Metal is about more than distorted guitars and shredding." And I quote, you from your reply to my comment: "Aldious, Destrose etc can shred like motherfuckers and thus deserve respect." Like, dude, I can respect your opinion, but man, you need to learn a thing or two about consistency!
    blooddrunk
    Its about the fact they bothered to learn it. They didnt just hire backing guitarists for a band of teen girls who didnt even know what metal was beforehand.
    Northernmight
    I like the idea of it. Not my kind of music, but i like it. Don't get all the rage. It's very corporate, sure, but that's the point. The band pretty much came from, as far as i know, what they in Japan call "Idol Schools" or something to that effect. These girls are basically rigerously trained to do this kinda stuff. I think it's pretty cool <.< It's like.. Child-elite-gymnastics of pop-music. Fascinating.
    bloops7
    It's not a school really, that's just the way that "idol groups" work. Basically these are choreographed pop groups that recruit young members and in theory are supposed to have them improve their skills over time, until they get to the point where they "graduate" or leave the group (note that Babymetal has already left the parent group, and is now essentially doing its own thing). The most famous example is AKB48, which demonstrates this system very clearly. The idea is sort of modeled on the concept of a school, but it isn't actually for training purposes - the whole "watching idols develop into stars" narrative that they spin is a big part of how they draw people in and make their money. "Elite gymnastics" would be a bit of a stretch for most idol groups - actually, most Japanese idols are looked down upon in the wider music scene for not being that great at the singing and dancing skills they train in. Korean pop groups have much more of a reputation for being rigorously trained in terms of performance ability, but even they are generally not as good as a typical Western dance team (granted those usually don't sing, but still, what idols do is not all that exceptional overall).
    mkybrat
    I don't understand a thing they're saying other than the occasional word in English, but goddamn, some of their songs are catchy! The chorus to Awadama Fever is ridiculously infectious, and the actual band is much better than I expected. Will I actually buy the album when Amazon removes it from Prime? Probably not, but damn right I'll be listening to it more than I should for a while. 9 out of 10? Yeah, maybe 3 songs into my first listen of the album I would've said that, but by the next day the novelty had worn off. If it wasn't so catchy, I wouldn't have returned for a second listen. Enough of this Metal Resistance, back to listening to the new Deftones album...
    kevinhlaing
    The new Deftones album isn't great I'm afraid. Well...not to their standards
    mkybrat
    I haven't really got a good listen yet; I really like the intro/verse riff to Acid Hologram and (L)mirl is cool, but yeah I'll give it a better listen when I get out of work. I want to say I don't like it much at all, but it did take years for Saturday Night Wrist to grow on me so maybe this album will be the same...
    flexiblemile
    Love this band. It's bringing a whole new generation to the genre. Young people listen to this and in 5 years they'll outgrow it and listen it to more legit metal. As a metal head, I'm very happy this band exists. Saw them live at heavy MTL a few years back and OH BOY do those musicians rock
    LightxGrenade
    I like it. It's just fun, plain and simple. There's some moments that make you laugh or smile and others that make you say "wow that's a cool riff/groove".
    Rael1975
    Sound: 10 Lyrics: 8 Overall Impression: 9 Yeah, someone got paid really well.
    blooddrunk
    Yep exactly. Saddest thing is these freethinking metal fans take this shit seriously.
    travislausch
    Been saying it for years, but y'all fuckers don't know a damn thing about Japanese music. They've been mixing metal/hard rock with girl idols since the early 00s. To people who actually followed Japanese rock and pop, Babymetal is absolutely nothing new. It's just the first time this mix of styles made it over to our part of the world. I mean, it's Japanese music. What else did you expect? Something run-of-the-mill?
    blooddrunk
    But youre wrong. The bands like that now can PLAY their instruments. BM is just teen girl pop music with a fake metal backing track. Aldious, Destrose etc can shred like motherfuckers and thus deserve respect. This BM marketing ploy doesnt.
    Captain Insano
    Takayoshi Ohmura and Yuya Maeta, the guitarist and drummer for BM are also members of Marty Friedman'so touring band. These guys have legit skill.
    travislausch
    So you've listened to BM, and you're absolutely convinced that the band backing them on stage is just standing there looking pretty? Ooooor, you've formed your opinion because that's the popular one and you just want to be liked by your fellow metal peers? I'm gonna go with the latter. The singers may not be to everyone's tastes, but I'm not gonna deny that their backing band is tight as shit.
    blooddrunk
    Trying hard to pigeonhole me arent you? There are tight musicians everywhere. Like the rest of BM they lack soul. and you cant refute that there are idol guitar girl groups out there who could shred your ass and BMs backing bitch guitarists under the table
    Rohlikator
    No, just no. I realy love diversion in music, all kind of colaborations, stylistic clashes and so on, but there are certain things that just dont belong to metal music and which i can´t get over. And one of them are dancing, pointlessly autotelicly cute asian girls. Don´t get me wrong, the musical side (except singing) is very good. But it seems to be just my opinion, seemingly everyone else from metal comunity eat it including fishing rod, but i dont buy it, it is just pathetic, atention seeking pop-act.
    kevinhlaing
    I get what you're saying. I love metal as much as I love grunge, alternative, pop, punk...bloody whatever. If it's good it's good right? Babymetal is like something I've never heard before. It's just great fun, brilliant musicianship and clever song writing. Personally I love it, but really what pop act isn't "attention seeking?". At the end of the day they've got bills to pay
    Rohlikator
    Wow, from +12 in first few hours straight into -2 Seems that metal comunity really needs cute, dancing asian girls in the end of the day. Quite surprising seeing this, than few topics lower reading huge, pointless bash of Justin Bieber (who seems like quite a cool guy) for liking black metal (because hes an cute, dancing guy - and just because he don´t perform our genre, he don´t have right to touch our genre).
    kevinhlaing
    This is the the worst review I've seen online (critically speaking), and yet it's not even that bad. It's a good effort considering how many meat head, ignorant metal heads that have the pre-requisite holier than thou attitude that use this website.
    jasperado
    i like the instrumental parts, but the pop parts ruin it for me, same as dragonforce
    Wrath_Starz
    They are a fuckin joke. There are way more bands that deserve to be getting the attention they get. They are not even a band. I hate to say but if they they weren't Japanese girls then they would be nothing.
    kevinhlaing
    Calm down, sweetheart
    Wrath_Starz
    You people just cant accept the truth. Its not good music. Its all an act. They are theatrical which is why people want them live at festivals and such. But the music sucks soooo bad. Its a fad. It will be dead real quick here. Im right your wrong. I won. U lost. Dislike it all u want.
    kevinhlaing
    Wow, it sounds like your ignorance is as bad as your grammar. You're a peanut.
    Wrath_Starz
    The whole grammar thing is so old dude. It's the internet. No one gives a fuck. Were not taking a test here bud. And you have no clue about music so shut up.
    kevinhlaing
    Well you clearly don't know how to articulate the English language properly and it sounds like you didn't go to school. The fact that you have no clue what I like musically further personifies your stupidity. Any further argument against you is wasted.
    Wrath_Starz
    All your arguments are wasted becaause im right
    Jezmic
    Wrath Starz you arrogant fuck, there are other people in the world beside you and guess what? We don't all share your opinion, you arsehole. Throw your pathetic weight around someplace where people are interested in your mundane arguments.
    Wrath_Starz
    Jezmic you fuckin fuck. My opinion is correct. Yours is wrong. Conversation done.
    Jezmic
    You utterly pathetic, snivelling little person. Shut the hell up before you get hurt.
    qrEE
    babyMetal are like anime - pretty weak overall and mediocre, not really noteworthy, but they hit a specific nerve for people that polarizes them towards either hatred or absolute adoration. Also like anime, I'm very indifferent. They exist. I don't listen to them. It's funny because I listen to Jpop and I listen to Metal, and yet babyMetal has zero appeal to me. The reason why I like Jpop is because it has no Metal elements, and vice versa, so the combination is nonsense to me.
    Emenius Sleepus
    Jesus fucking christ, this was a pile of shit. Every current metal genre trope shoehorned into one, with absolutely zero creativity or depth, mixed with every typical J-Pop trope mixed into it. The only reason they're at all popular is because it's three Japanese chicks playing. Else this would never have gotten the time of day. This is besides mentioning that most of the metal styles they borrowed from are atrocious drivel in their own right, "djent" in particular. This is about as enjoyable as being stabbed with a dildo made of sugar.
    walter.curley
    I would be a lot more impressed if the kids played the instruments. This is just an extremely awkward clash of genres. Literally unlistenable
    uberpenguin
    Wait...this album was released on April 1st you guys. Now of course the date of the review was 7 days later, but let's examine the possibilities here; either UG has created a glowing, almost perfect review of Babymetal, or they're treating the album as an April Fools joke. I'm going with the latter. Hell, when I first came here I saw the release date and was going to call you guys out for not realizing this was a joke, but now I'm on the fence. For my own sanity I'm going to assume this was a joke. So uh...April Fools? Right UG? Right?
    christpanda
    A lot of people just want to see 5 white bearded mans playing his instrument while they're bleeding in the "metal world", and for them is hard to accept what Babymetal is. I was very esceptical about BM at the begining, but lets face it, this album is amazing and what BM is doing for the metal world is maybe one of the besst things in the las 20 years and a lot of mussicians know that and you could take it as a joke but if you don't realize soon what is happening then the most ortodoxes bands will be forgoten. I hate it but the thing is that babymetal is a big wave in the metal sea and if you don't climb on it you will be drag for it.
    Emenius Sleepus
    Lol I actually could not give less of a fuck who plays music, be it Hitler, Gandhi, Sophia Loren or three underage Japanese femmes - as long as it was well composed music with heart and atmosphere. This is none of those things. They're a diarrhea splash in a sea of shit, taking all the generic elements of their genres and fusing them into a marketable entertainment product. Anyone who claims this is doing metal a favour, has zero idea of what metal is. Cheers.
    Teehee10
    Personally I love Babymetal and this is my favourite album on par with 'true metal' artists. It's well written, lyrics on songs such as Road of Resistance and The One look at bringing listeners together, where as songs such as Sis. Anger (my absolute favourite) have very powerful themes e.g. the repetition of 'kirai da' - 'I dislike', not to mention it's the heaviest song on the album. Some riffs are basic but catchy such as Karate where other songs are far more complex such as Tales of the Destinies but every song has its own story so to speak and it's meshed together really well so based on my own experience with the album I give it a solid 8.5
    jsr20det
    Am I the only who thinks that band is a big pile of shit.. I guess they are ''original'' but Comon..
    belceabarbara
    I can never decide what I think of this band. It's instrumentally excellent and the singing isn't bad but it's so damn cheesey that I can't take it seriously... and this comes from someone who has a near obsessive love of Dream Theater.
    asterzero
    Do the effort to listen instead of doing morons, so you are good at hack, right?
    jamielowery1
    All the elitists hating on this are kinda pathetic. I personally don't listen to this type of music, but if people like it, it can't be that bad. I have listened to a bit and i have to say it is quite catchy. The guitar riffs are also pretty sick. Metal or not, you have to admit they are quite good.
    dylanckleinh
    I didn't mind the sound of karate until they started singing, then it was a no from me ffrom there for sure, just doesnt blend well.