Saturday, April 2, 2016
Babymetal - Metal Resistance (2016)
This weird mix of J-pop and blast beats is certainly unique, I'll give you that, but it is also about as mind fucking as following a anime series. In one side, we have this backing band that literally slays everything in its path. These guys can play almost everything, from Dream Theater and Korn, to Scar Symmetry and Fleshgod Apocalypse, the band delivers a range that is extremely impressive. But on the other side, we have three girls who sings like they are still in pre-school (even if they do sing good). It takes a while to get used to it, but it will still feel awkward. And if you happen to see this band live, you will also witness a choreographed dance routine. Hopefully they throw in some headbanging here and there.
I previously mentioned the backing band's extreme range, and that range is heavily displayed in this album. Every song in here is its own creation, none being like the other. The albums opens up in pure DragonForce style in "Road of Resistance" (mostly because the two guitarists from the band, Herman Li and Sam Totman, helps out on the track), with insane speed, crazy solos, and a classic oh-oh-o-oh part. Besides from power metal, we also have industrial ("Awadama Fever"), death ("Sis.Anger"), atmospheric ("From Dusk Till Dawn"), progressive ("Tales of Destinies"), and even folk metal (Meta Taro). While it is cool that they can be like a musical chameleon, it ultimately feels like they do not have a own sound, they just copy other stuff. The album is extremely divided, making it really hard to get a sense of cohesion.
This means that it is crucial that this album must have kick ass songs, and it is here the girls are used to the band's advantage. This trio of charming little girls sings in a way that makes the hooks sweeter than sugar, and stickier than gum. Just take the lead single "Karate" for example, we have this stupid "se-ya se-se-se-seya" section that is extremely catchy in an equally annoying way. Fortunately, it has a chorus that is catchy in a better way, not forcing itself into your skull. It is those sugar sweet parts that makes me hate this band, because it just does not fit in with the rest of the stuff. I still think the girls use their voices in the best way possible in most parts, but I would love it if they completely got rid of those sections.
We also have two pure ballads in this album, the first one being "No Rain, No Rainbow", which sounds like it could have come straight from a Disney film (I was about to write Mulan, but remembered that it takes place in China). Since I am not 8 years old, I did not care for this song at all. The other one is "The One", and that is the only song in the entire record that is fully sung in English. Okay that the pronunciation is slightly off, but it is not bad, and the song itself works as a epic closer of the album, playing in almost classic Dream Theater style. However, this is when I notice the lyrics for the first time (since I know very little Japanese), and it is straight up about love, and all that cheesy shit. This makes me wonder what the rest of the songs are about, but frankly, I do not wanna know, ignorance is bliss here.
I love when an album has diversity, but this is pure overkill. Babymetal goes from one genre to another to search for an identity, but cannot seem to find it. "Metal Resistance" is an okay album with a couple of good songs (none as good as last album's highlight, "Megitsune", though), but it stands clear that this is more of an experiment than a full fledged band. For god's sake, the girls have even admitted that they have never even heard of metal before getting thrown into this monster, it is all for the show and for the shock value. This is basically Slipknot, only with three little girls fronting instead of Corey Taylor, and it certainly has a place in this world, and that place is called Japan. It is crazy, ridiculous, mind boggling, and (at times) fun. All I can really say is Domo Arigato for the show, but I would rather take something less cutesy, thank you very much.
Songs worthy of recognition: From Dusk Till Dawn, Road of Resistance, Yava!
Rating: 6/10 Awadama Fevers