BABYMETAL - “METAL GALAXY” Album Review

Story posted October 19, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Connor Trask

For those who are not familiar, BABYMETAL is a Japanese kawaii metal band. Kawaii culture is basically the obsession of all things cute and is prominent in Japan. A famous example of kawaii culture is Hello Kitty.

Probably the last thing that comes to mind when picturing kawaii culture is heavy metal music. But BABYMETAL is exactly that: a fusion of Japanese pop music with heavy metal headbangers.

This is BABYMETAL’s third album released on streaming platforms and the band’s first since one member of the trio, who went by the stage name Yuimetal, left in 2018 due to health concerns.

The group now consists of a duo that go by the stage names of Su-Metal and Moametal, who are just 18 and 16 years old respectively. Yuimetal is 16, as well.

The age of the performers is surprising because of the intensity of the music they play, despite the surprising contrast of their bright vocals. When the band performs its live shows, the instrumentals are performed by a backing band called the Kami Band.

“METAL GALAXY” opens with the introductory song “FUTURE METAL.” The robotic vocals behind the heavy guitar riffs prompt the listener to prepare like they are about to ride a rollercoaster. This is a perfect entrance for the album because the 53-minute runtime is an intense and daunting experience.

“DA DA DANCE” is the second song of the project, and it really highlights the fusion of the two cultures: heavy metal and Japanese pop. “Elevator Girl” is the next song, with both English and Japanese versions making the final cut of the album. The complete project is really a mix of Japanese and English.

“METAL GALAXY” does seem to devolve into chaos a bit at times, as the middle is packed with jams that are in-your-face and can be a bit exhausting to listen to. That’s not to say that the album is not worth a listen because that is not true at all. But it could be more enjoyable if it were broken up a bit better and the listener were given something to try.

BABYMETAL also shows its maturity on some songs down the stretch, which feature skilled, melodic guitar playing and advanced song structure. The transition between “Starlight” and “Shine” is fantastic, followed by the strong closer “Arkadia.”

The album artwork itself features the bands logo centered and bold with an intergalactic background. This makes sense, as the album itself is a bit reminiscent of a soundtrack suitable for the final boss of a combat video game.

BABYMETAL definitely has a niche following, but a new listener with an open mind could find his or herself pleasantly surprised. One thing is for certain about BABYMETAL: it provides a fun and refreshing listen for the metal genre that has been lacking in quality in recent times.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “Starlight,” “DA DA DANCE”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: N/A

 

Connor Trask is a senior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email cst5140@psu.edu.