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Babymetal – Babymetal

Babymetal

Sometimes an album comes along which makes you stop dead in your tracks. Blending the darkness of metal with the cuteness of kawaii J-Pop, Babymetal have finally delivered their debut full length album, and it’s equal parts brutal and blissful, with a dash of the bizarre.

Over here in the west, Babymetal has surfaced as something of a fascinating oddity. The fact is that over in their native Japan they have been pretty well known for the last three years, having made a name for themselves on the Japanese version of Pop Idol. The debut album – the eponomously titled Babymetal – has been met with both joy and revulsion from critics and consumers alike. And fair enough, because in all honesty it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste.

But for this reviewer at least, it is a pleasure from start to end. Bonecrunching metal guitars? Check. Ecstatic J-Pop electronics? Check. The production of the record alone makes it stand out amongst the crowd – it’s mixed perfectly and uses hectic europop flourishes alongside the metal shredding to the point of genius.

It’s the earworm melodies on songs like ‘Gimme Choko!’ and ‘Ii ne’ that will have you unsure if you should be punching the air, headbanging, or dancing round your handbag like a teenager. On the former, the saccharine sweetness of the chorus blows away the metal elements like a hyperactive rainbow, leaving only the deep double bass drum plugging away underneath it. On the latter, we’re treated to such a range of styles it’s hard not to feel exhausted by the end, having been dragged through europop, a weird dubsetp/hiphop cutaway, and some of the heaviest shredding to be found on the album. Things get crazier on tracks like ‘Do・Ki・Do・Ki☆MORNING’, sounding like the lovechild of Nyan Cat and Slipknot. Could things get any more exciting at this point in 2014?

Be warned, Babymetal sure isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, and at points it can sound suspiciously like a novelty record. But what the hey, enjoy!

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