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Babymetal - Babymetal review

So, in somewhat of a return to normal service, ie. that of sporadic posting due to lack of ideas of anything else to post (except a hearty "lol" in the general direction of AKB's latest shakeup), I've decided to do a review. Instead of doing one on my growing list of albums to review (which currently stands at about 10) I figured I'd do an album that was released yesterday.

My list of things to review for future reference:
AeLL. - with AeLL.
Afilia Saga's album
Cheeky Parade I
C-ute's 8th Album
Denpagumi's newest one
Fruitpochette's debut
nanoCUNE's debut
NMB's Teppen Tottande
Super Girls' third album
Yuikaori's second album

I don't feel like even listening to AKB's newest one so I'll not review that, and SKE's first album is so "best of" style I don't really want to do that either. How many of these reviews will actually get done is debatable. I know I have to review Denpagumi's, because I like it. Cheeky Parade had some good bits, and nanoCUNE's started off well and then I can't remember the rest. Those aside, probably just gonna sit in my head and never be written up. Not enough hours in the day.

Anyway, Babymetal. I've never really hidden how much I like them. I've reviewed their songs that made it onto the Sakugaku CDs, but until now I've never had the chance to gush fully about them on this blog. I did most of the previous gushing on Beat Laments the World, leaving LI slightly lacking in it.


Preamble: One of the CD covers is shit, the other is impossible to find in a resolution exceeding 300x300px so have a poster instead. As ever, keep your mouse handy. Need to sort out link colour at some point.

1. BABYMETAL DEATH. Nice title to start with. We start with choirs and strings, and reverbed to fuck mic-banging instead of drums. I know it's mic banging with reverb to fuck because I did it on a record 7 years ago and subsequently forgot how to do it. Until I remember I can never re-record A Brief Repose Amidst the Screams of Torture with half decent production. But oh well, off topic. When has that ever stopped me? Anyway, metal starts. The mix is brutal: guitars, bass and drums all sort of meld into one percussive instrument of absolute terror. Then deathvox. Much lulz. Then we get riffs. Riffs, glorious riffs. Melodic death metal riffs. Thrash metal riffs. Brutal death metal riffs. And actually more-than-competent versions of all. If In Flames had come up with some of these Melodeath riffs, people might still take them seriously. Lack of vocals from the three girls is slightly disappointing, one day Moa and Yui should actually scream. They are supposedly "scream and dance" after all. Riff in the middle 8 is vaguely Nile, which is cool. Then we have ultimate death metal solo. Completely off the wall and all over the fucking place. Not ashamed to say I jizzed the first time I heard it. And most of the times since. 10/10

2. メギツネ. You hear that? That is the sound of my soul being torn asunder and flung heedless into the eternal void of damnation. Death metal and gagaku. My life is complete. Oh, and techno. Suppose there had to be some trade-off. The little pre-verse bit in this is vaguely reminiscient of Berryz Koubou's Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance. Bloody chikichiki wasshoi. Or whatever. Still, hnnnnnnnnnngh. Then Suzuka. Her vocals are so amazing in this my mind breaks. It's like what happens to me when I hear Wudstik sing. Wudstik, for those who don't know, is a Dutch urban/RnB/rap artist. He's also the greatest prog rock/metal vocalist of the 21st century. Why he raps is a mystery to me. Same with Suzuka. She's capable of being a glorious metal lead singer, why the hell did she even do the idol thing in the first place? Though I am glad she did, otherwise I'd have enjoyed Karen Girl's and Sakugaku a lot less. The breakdown is weird, a little techdeath before it, then Sakura death metal version with screaming over it. All I can say about this song is "damn." 10/10

3. ギミチョコ!! So, a new song for the album. Written by Ueda Takeshi, from the Mad Capsule Markets, this song evinces some of that band's usual level of utter uniqueness, such as blasting through verses and choruses which don't sound like either and back out again in a matter of seconds. He did at least level up the metal side of things, and added a few bits of techno into it. Moa and Yui's verses are amusing, as you'd expect from anything they do. Suzuka's vocals in the chorus aren't at Megitsune level, but that's probably because she's singing about chocolate and it's hard to do a serious vibrato when singing about chocolate. Then the guitar solo. Honestly, when I first heard it, as a really shitty quality radio rip, I thought Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King had randomly decided to do it. Then I remembered that Hanneman died last year. Holy fuck they brought someone back from the dead to do an utterly fucking brutal Slayer solo on a Babymetal song. Dat guitar wailing near the end of it is pure Raining Blood. Still, not the best song, loses a mark for not letting Suzuka shine enough and being too short. 9/10

4. いいね! Techno techno techno. Oh, and brutality. Screaming. Syncopation yay. My mind enjoyed this song when it came out. So metal yet so not metal. Progressive though. As I've pointed out before it's the closest a Jpop song has ever come to a rhapsody, featuring 11 consecutive sections of music. The rap bit always makes me laugh. But hell, what doesn't on this song? The breakdown after the rap bit is pure fucking evil. Then the most melodic and sexy death metal riff ever to exist. Then sexy techno. This song is all over the place, but it's the one that made me sit up and think "hold on, they could be on to something here." The ending bit with Suzuka doing the "Yay Yay" gave a hint to her future potential as a metal goddess too. 10/10

5. 紅月-アカツキ-. Suzuka's first solo song, and holy fuck is it omgwtfawesomeballs. The most openly power metal song on this album, it takes you by the balls and then rips them off. After sweetly serenading them at the start. This shows Suzuka at her peak. And shit is it amazing. The music comes across sort of half-Dragonforce, half-Light Bringer, and Suzuka just melds it all together and shows that, though she might not quite be on Fuki's level as a vocalist yet, she's getting there. The solo in this is a nice little dual, and complimented in the stage performance by Suzuka fighting with a body double. It's also a really long solo, which idol music in general needs more of. Overall this is just pure sex. The lyrics are also quite memorable, to the extent that I don't think I've ever seen them written down yet can sing along perfectly well. This one is a highlight. 10/10

6. ド・キ・ド・キ☆モーニング. It's arrived. When I first reviewed this song, quite a long time ago on Sakugaku's first album, I gave it 10/10. For the time, it was ballsy. Mixing double bass drumming with downtuned guitars and Jpop. I did make a slight postscript saying that the 10/10 was for sheer balls though. As a piece of music, and especially preceded by what has been five tracks of twisted genius, it suffers. It is just a generic, bog-standard piece of Jpop, that someone's gone back to, and said "let's replace all those silly synth sounds with a 7string guitar, that'll get attention". It worked, entirely too well. It got the attention, and led to vastly improved songs and structures and, well, everything really. Honestly, I think it's time they retired this song. It feels so out of place now amongst their current songs that it sort of drags down any show they play it. It deserves respect for being the starting line, but no more. Still, some of it is cute. 5/10

7. おねだり大作戦. This song cracks me up so much. It is basically a Limp Bizkit song. I mean that in the least offensive way possible, in that it sounds like a song from their first album, which was actually quite competent compared to their middle and later works and ranks well against their contemporaries in Korn and Disturbed as one of the nu-metal albums I hate the least. Yui and Moa shine at being at the most annoying children can get, trying any means to get their dads to buy them shit. The prechorus with strings and choirs is interesting and utterly random. Then the chorus starts with them saying they're going to marry their dad (apparently that type of thing is seen as cute... I guess people do call it "wincest"...) and then back into the nu-metal groove thingy. The mid-8 breakdown randomly throws in something that goes "One for the money, two for the money, three for the money, money money money money" which doesn't remind me of Nu-metal, but instead of Shane McMahon's old WWE theme music), followed by what I think is actually a full-on guest appearance by Fred Durst to do his "haaaaaa!" thing. And then it just all becomes far too silly. Either way, much as I should hate it on principle, I love it. 9/10

8. 4の歌. This is a Yui and Moa one too, and was also apparently written by them. If that's true, then I applaud them, as it's not half bad, even if they did only write the melodies. Certainly when I was 14 I wasn't writing stuff this good (but then, I didn't have an arranger and these two had tatsuo and KxBxMetal who also arranged Onedari Daisakusen, and I did do something better when I was 15...) but that aside, I applaud them. It's not particularly complex, neither lyrically, melodically nor structurally, but the chorus is quite nice. The breakdown is intriguing, and then wtf reggae. This is blasphemous. But hilarious. Metal needs more random reggae interludes. 8/10

9. ウ・キ・ウ・キ★ミッドナイト. More techno metal, following on from Ii Ne. This has some sexy guitars in the intro and also some dubstep breaks that don't suck too much. Suzuka's vocals are good as ever, and the prechorus amuses me. Those metalcore chords with the back-and-forth between Suzuka and the deathvox guy. Then chorus again and breakdown. But instead of metal breakdown, dubstep breakdown. This is actually a good one, it sounds in line with the sound and doesn't do a stupid version of it. This is basically what Narasaki was going for when he did Momoclo's BIRTH Ø BIRTH, but failed spectacularly at it. The last prechorus is somehow cute as hell and awesome at the same time. The lyrics to this song make me laugh too, all this random gyaru and kid-slang in metal lyrics. I'd never even heard agepoyo used outside of gyaru culture before this, now I just try and imagine Suzuka as a gyaru and die laughing. 9/10

10. Catch Me If You Can. Honestly, at first I thought that if any song on this album was written by a guy from Mad Capsule Markets, this would be the one. But it's actually a Narasaki song. Weird, because it sounds so Mad Capsule Markets it's nearly a joke. The crazy drumming sound very digital hardcore, as do the guitars constantly distorted out of any sense of normality and the stupidly high compression levels on the mastering. Still, the chorus is catchy as a really catchy thing, Moa and Yui do some good vocals, and it's all just pretty fun. Random clapping before the last chorus is also intriguing. The riffs are pretty brutal when you can make any sense of them under all the distortion. Still, far too short. 9/10

11. 悪夢の輪舞曲. And it's Meshuggah time. Another Suzuka solo, they decided to let it all out and go as ridiculous as possible. And how! This is brutal, as djent as it comes whilst not becoming a parody of itself. And Suzuka somehow manages to sing over it. I thought Djent at least was safe from the onset of clean vocals. Obviously not. Idol Djent should be a thing. And Suzuka has powered up again. The chorus is gloriously minor key, brutal and hauntingly grim in equal measures. That piano does the latter bit. The mid-8 goes full on crazy with a djenting breakdown and Suzuka pulling off a half decent vibrato through the beginning, and then singing gloriously over a piano near the end. Dammit Suzuka, how can you win so much? 10/10

12. ヘドバンギャー!! Only my favourite Babymetal song. Hello again sexy harpsichords and strings. Hello sexy and brutal riffs. One day I will finish tabbing this song. But not today. After Dokidoki Morning gave them an idea, and Ii Ne sort of gave them a direction, Headbanger basically became their first proper metal song. And holy shit, it's awesome. Narasaki may have failed Momoclo, but he has succeeded Babymetal most assuredly. The verse, chorus, and everything all just sort of work, are metal as fuck yet function as maintaining idolness. The guitar solo is a clusterfuck of amazingness. But yea, the harpsichords push this above and beyond. I fucking love... LOVE... moist towelettes harpsichords. 10/10

13. イジメ、ダメ、ゼッタイ. And it's time for amazingness. I really hope I can get to a Babymetal concert at some point, just so I can show people how to headbang properly. But in this song, there's also a wall of death. Considering Japanese people are about the same height as me (as opposed to 90% of metal gigs I go to where everyone is 6'3" and made of solid steel) I might actually survive it. These riffs are power metal and thrash metal but also just fucking pure win. Suzuka's scream isn't half bad. And then the dual guitars. Shwing. Suzuka owns this. The guitars also own this. The whole song is fucking pure gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. And then, a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now... Sorry, went all Clockwork Orange on it. The duelling guitar solo is also a notable point of absolute epic.  10/10

Overall: Obviously, I'm taking marks off for laziness. Out of thirteen songs only three are new. Also, Dokidoki Morning premiered in like 2011, so that's a while back. However, it's still a coherent, stable and glorious album. It also gains marks back for being what it is, an album that spans metal and idols and doesn't actually give a shit, makes fans of both happy, and also makes tempers flare. It's amazing. Definitely something that doesn't happen often.

9.1/10

Also, because I can, I'm linking my band's tribute to Moametal, simply because she is the most metal being in the world.






3 comments:

  1. Great review. It's nice that someone can put more words to it than my simple but honest "fuck yeah!" Anyway, thanks for your commentary.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great review of a stunning album...oh, and I've added your sweet tribute to Moa on my youtube channel...
    cold6001 for all your BABYMETAL needs \m/
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnnusr33xt_fNaWG5sXziSg

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is a video out there where MOA takes the Mic during Headbangya and she rocks the hell out of it. Lower pitched and less yelling than her BLACK BABYMETAL tracks.

    ReplyDelete