After finding worldwide success with their debut release back in 2014, Babymetal are back to unleash their much anticipated follow up Metal Resistance upon the world. With so much riding on the band’s return, 2016 is the year that Babymetal finally earn their chance to prove their worth, and show they’re not just another shoddy gimmick.
1. Road Of Resistance
3. Awadama Fever
6. Meta Toro
7. From Dusk Til Dawn
9. Sis. Anger
10. No Rain, No Rainbow
11. Tale Of The Destinies
12. THE ONE
Straight off the bat, it’s incredibly clear that Babymetal aren’t here to fuck around. Opening with call to arms Road Of Resistance, it’s apparent from the offset that the band have refined their previously haphazard J-Pop infused Metal style into a slickly oiled, well tuned heavy metal powerhouse. Whilst it would be difficult to brand Metal Resistance as a departure from the band’s signature sound, the group dynamic has been toned down to that of a more conventional setup, with Su Metal taking the reigns for a large majority of the vocal duties, rather than the previous efforts of mainly choruses. However, that’s not to say she’s the only star of the show here, as all three vocalists feature heavily throughout the record (as expected… they’re the singers). Vocally, there’s been a significant change from the previous record’s focus on interplay, and more on the strength of the girls’ actual voices, and boy does it pay off, creating some of the catchiest metal I’ve had the pleasure to hear in years. Borrowing more from bands in the symphonic metal genre this time around, the result is a more accessible, less chaotic record.
Musically, however, the girls’ backing band have kept the aggression found on tracks like Gimme Chocolate and Headbanger and brought it forward to the new release. Owing nods to speed metal bands like Dragonforce and Iced Earth, it’s refreshing to see a band refuse to bow to the pressures of creating a more stripped down, westernised approach to heavy metal. Whilst the music may be more straight forward this time around, it is by no means held back or contained. Riffs and wild solos fly throughout the record at breakneck pace, with relentless bass drum sections and tremolo guitars ensuring a non-stop, undeniably ‘metal’ experience. Elements like the brief bass solos found in Amore and the almost ska-reminiscent stick & riffwork of Yava, and the almost techno, Aphex-esque intro Awadama Fever prove that Babymetal might have refined their sound, but there’s no pigeonholing this group. Pirate influences infect the slower, pomp-fuelled Meta Toro, and closing the record with the first English spoken release of their career, The One is a delightfully cheesy oddysee of gratitude and sentimentality, and begs to be played in the biggest arenas the world has to offer.
If there was a criticism to be thrown at Babymetal, it would certainly be that a majority of the tracks found here have a tendency to outstay their welcome somewhat. At regular four, five and on one or two occasions six minutes the band’s overall sound can sometimes grow tiresome as a result of the twelve track album. However, whilst it can be a chore at times, fans of the band will find this to be a huge bonus, so it’s hard to even claim it as an issue. Songs like From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, while inoffensive, could be argued as unnecessary, landing at nearly four minutes of relatively uneventful ambience.
If you were to ask me in 2014 if I believed Babymetal had the staying power to go on to headline a sold-out show at Wembley Arena, I’d have never believed you. Hell, I’d have doubted the band would even reach a follow up. However, I am delighted to report that I am wrong on both counts, and Metal Resistance is every bit as varied, unique and down-right excellent as the band’s self-titled debut. Regardless of some more bulky songs and the fact I don’t speak Japanese, the band have delivered a record worth even the most die-hard metalhead’s time. True heavy metal classics littered throughout the record and not a dull moment in sight, Babymetal are here to stay, and I for one am incredibly glad. Come for the novelty, stay for the talent.
Metal Resistance is released April 1st via Toy’s Factory Records/earMUSIC
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