Hello Kitty meets metal – BABYMETAL

There comes a moment in music where you can’t help but stop what you’re doing and say to yourself…what the heck was that? I’m not talking about that miss-happening nipple flash or showering your fans in a fountain of your own saliva. Oh no. I’m referring to that moment when you see mainstream rules being shattered by a band that detest stereotypes so much that you have yourself questioning whether or not your eyes are deceiving you. This feeling couldn’t have hit me harder than the first time I saw and heard the band, BABYMETAL on YouTube.

Babymetal in London
Babymetal in London

The Japanese rock trio consists of 17 year old lead singer Su-Metal backed by 15 year old MoaMetal and YuiMetal, who originally started out as a side project known as Sakura Gakuin, entrants on Idol, Japanese’s own take of Pop Idol. What’s more remarkable than thinking there could actually be a Japanese Simon Cowell is that Sakura Gakuin appeared back in 2010, meaning Su-Metal was 12 whilst her other two band mates were just 11.

What has come from the aftermath of their Idol experience is an exhilarating and hard hitting, in-your-face metal record mixed in with a cute, Hello Kitty style edge to it.

During their short existence BABYMETAL have conjured mixed feelings since rising to global fame. The heavy metal influence throughout the album is enough to please some metal heads and nu metal rock fans, whilst others may feel the soft overtones of the band’s vocalists a little off putting to be considered a true metal band.

BABYMETAL is a band the metal fan within me had full intention of disliking. After listening to their debut album a few times, I was slightly set back when I realised I was walking around Tesco singing a mash-up of BABYMETAL tunes I had heard that morning. What’s the worst thing about this? I’m pretty sure none of the Japanese words I was singing to myself were in fact, well, Japanese words.

The stand-out track from the album is one named Gimme Chocolate, the gem that has collected the band over 17 million YouTube views and sparked interest of the band worldwide. The track adopts a catchy pop hook for the chorus and surrounds it with hard riffs to make it less guilty to move your head to as it blares out of your speakers.

Megitsune is a track that perhaps best symbolises what BABYMETAL are all about. The song combines a heavy metal sound along with elements of Japanese culture that lurk eerily throughout the full 4:11 duration. Word of advice: watch the music video and I dare you not to try the dance.

Other notable songs on the album are BABYMETAL Death, Doki Doki Morning and Headbanger!. Doki Doki Morning is arguably their most experimental track on the entire album simply because it’s unlike any of the others. Whilst BABYMETAL Death is an establishing statement of their metal influences, Doki Doki Morning delves into a fast paced dance like beat that most may have held back on in any worry that it didn’t fit the genre they are aiming for. Thank God they decided against sticking to genre generics and added this track.

With the young ages of the BABYMETAL trio it’s quite obvious that the band are a product of a one man and metalhead, Key Kobeyashi a.k.a Kobametal. Unlike a lot of bands created for a profit-gain experience, BABYMETAL surprisingly have a heavyweight of talent to back them up. BABYMETAL are definitely here to stay!

If you don’t find yourself trying your very best to sing a heavy metal song in Japanese then there’s something very seriously wrong with you.

Words by Matthew Rathbone

Photographs from the Babymetal Facebook page.

One comment

  1. A friend recommended this group to me last year after seeing them live at Sonisphere 2014. It’s good to read more about them; this is a really well written and researched article. Thanks for writing it 🙂 I also enjoyed reading about your experience of unknowingly singing J-Rock lyrics in your local Tescos!

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