Album Review: BABYMETAL – “Metal Resistance” (Japan, 2016)

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BABYMETAL delivers an aural assault on their bombastically brilliant album, Metal ResistanceThe Japanese all girl trio is on the precipice of delivering their most emotionally complex album to date, their second full length release after their self titled 2014 debut.

On the 12-track release, the Japanese metal trio transcends their stylistic aura of gothic lolita through a combination of spritely vocals, doom-inspiring growls, and rapid fire klaxon drumming.

Metal Resistance serves as a musical tribute to the mythology behind the group, whose backstory involves their delivery to Earth as emissaries of The Fox God, the ruler of the heavy metal realm. While the young women were dismissed by some as idol ingenues upon the release of their February 2014 self-titled studio album, Metal Resistance exemplifies the maturity gained by worldwide stadium tours and close to two-years of hard earned stage time.

Babymetal lo-res exclsuive image

BABYMETAL has spawned numerous imitators since their viral hit, “Gimme Chocolate!!!,” but gems like “Awadama Fever” and “GJ!” prove that members SU-METAL (Suzuka Nakamoto), MOAMETAL (Moa Kikuchi), and YUIMETAL (Yui Mizuno) are the reigning queens of Japanese heavy metal and hard rock.

The album opens with sweeping, orchestral guitar riffs on “Road to Resistance,” before launching into a dystopian barrage of doom metal screams and powerful drumming. BABYMETAL demonstrates their vocal process within the first minute of the track, as they blaze through an aural assault.

Their kawaii aesthetic is seamlessly weaved into “KARATE,” the second track on Metal Resistance and “YAVA,” a free-wheeling song that ventures into the territory of pop-rock.

On “Awadama Fever,” the triumvirate provide cheerleader-like calls against a relentlessly pounding backbeat that evokes ‘90s drum-and-bass interspersed with jungle. “GJ!” serves up cloyingly saccharine vocals with doom metal growls. “YAVA” is a free-wheeling song that transverses the territories of pop-rock to punk, with its thrash breakdown. Innocent vocals punctuate the start of “Amore” and “Meta Taro,” a militaristic jaunt that tramples midway through the album.

“Sis. Anger” capitalizes on the juxtaposition of delicate, female vocals and blazing guitars, highlighting the fantastic sound that exemplifies their teen angst anthems. “No Rain, No Rainbow” provides a softer, contrast to the bulk of the album, evoking the infectious, soulfulness of ‘80s stadium rock ballads. The well-placed track provides a moment of respite for listeners who may be overwhelmed by the bombastic ditties of Metal Resistance. “Tale of the Destinies” is operatically reminiscent of Dream Theater, with its random classical piano chords and orchestral guitar solos.

The album concludes with the stirring and earnest English-language ballad, “THE ONE,” a track which could aptly top off their live performance set, particularly when backed by The Gods of Metal.

BABYMETAL 2016_Credit Amuse, Inc

On Metal Resistance, BABYMETAL continues their reign over kawaii metal, their unique genre-bending sound that could comfortably serve as the soundtrack for the morbid animated series, Metalocalypse.

Fire the warning signals, as the future of heavy metal and J-Pop, could be delivered through a post-apocalyptical performance served up by BABYMETAL on their latest album, which heartily receives a score of eight and a half for its awesomeness.

Review score: 8.5 out of 10

Metal Resistance will be released in Australia on April 1st in stores and on all digital platforms.

Images courtesy of Amuse Japan