Babymetal - Metal Galaxy review



Reviewer:
8.2

48 users:
6.12
Band: Babymetal
Album: Metal Galaxy
Release date: October 2019


01. Future Metal
02. Da Da Dance [feat. Tak Matsumoto]
03. Elevator Girl [English version]
04. Shanti Shanti Shanti
05. Oh! Majinai [feat. Joakim Brodén]
06. Brand New Day [feat. Tim Henson and Scott LePage]
07. Night Night Burn!
08. In The Name Of
09. Distortion [feat. Alissa White-Gluz]
10. Pa Pa Ya!! [feat. F. Hero]
11. Kagerou
12. Starlight
13. Shine
14. Arkadia


Just when you thought it was safe to come back to Metal Storm…

Babymetal has of late met with adversity cruelly unbecoming its buoyant novelty. Last year brought the sudden passing of guitarist Mikio Fujioka, who had participated in Babymetal's instrumental anchorage since its solidification as the Kami Band in 2013. Months later, vocalist Yui Mizuno (alias Yuimetal) retired from the band due to unspecified health concerns, which, if you know anything about business in Japan, suggests an awful lot of overwork. Now, these circumstances, while unfortunate, are theoretically unrelated to the success or failure of a new album, compartmentalized as this project is - but the vivacity of Metal Galaxy is nonetheless reassuring, as it suggests that somebody behind the scenes is still invested in Babymetal. The show goes on.

The first thing to notice about Metal Galaxy is the impressive roster of guest musicians, which should turn some heads in the metal world: Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, Polyphia guitarists Tim Henson and Scott LePage, and the man who necessitated this whole review, Sabaton's Joakim Brodén (more on that later). B'z guitarist and Japanese superstar Tak Matsumoto lends his guitar skills to "Da Da Dance," and Thai rapper F. Hero also provides guest vocals on "Pa Pa Ya!" (which I assume is about their least favorite fruit). It's a diverse array that telegraphs the variety of styles conquered on Metal Galaxy and also underscores just how much of a phenomenon Babymetal has become; the band's immense crossover appeal likely means that each of those guests will earn a lot of new fans unfamiliar with their work.

Second is how… different Metal Galaxy sounds. When Babymetal's first single was released eight years ago, Su-metal and Moametal were 13 and 12 years old, respectively, borrowed from a children's idol group to make a cutesy combo of metal and bubblegum. Now they are adults, with stronger voices and more refined technique, as Su-metal demonstrates by tackling some Indian-inspired vocal lines in "Shanti Shanti Shanti." Moreover, the role of the backing vocals has been diminished, possibly to cover the lack of Yuimetal, leaving Su-metal to take control more thoroughly than before, and they sound more like harmonies than hype. All of this is most welcome: with the maturation of the members' voices, their years of experience singing in this niche style, and the band's overall shift away from juvenile pop to a broadly melodic metal sound, Babymetal sounds livelier and more legitimate than ever. I'll state this plainly: I hate listening to children sing. Previous Babymetal albums are usually a rare exception, but that first album especially does not escape unscathed (nothing personal). Having adults sing this material, aside from pushing the band further and further into full-on anime OP territory, makes it a lot more palatable for me (and probably for many skeptics as well). This album is not as carefree and silly; not that it's all that serious, either, but, as I said, Babymetal increasingly falls on the side of simple ultramelodic pop/power metal.

The band's songwriters (some old, some new) continue to enjoy a great amount of freedom. Like Metal Resistance before it, Metal Galaxy dives in and out of various styles as it pleases, not so much bringing metal to J-pop anymore as bringing J-pop to metal. The opening pair of tracks borrows trance-style synths from Blood Stain Child for some very danceable numbers (and I wouldn't be surprised if they head in this direction more frequently from here on). It also seems that they heard Whispered taking the piss and came right back with "Oh! Majinai," their own version of "Ievan Polkka" with blackjack and hookers Joakim Brodén, who sings like a gravel pit filled with punji stakes. That's definitely the guest spot of the year for me (although Matsumoto's glittering scales on "Da Da Dance" are incredible). "Brand New Day" smoothly adjusts the groove to accommodate its mathematical guests, picking up where last album's "Tales Of The Destinies" left off, and the result is easily one of Babymetal's strongest exhibitions of style to date. I'm not sure I could pick a single favorite, but all of the above are in contention, and that subcontinental shuffle on "Shanti Shanti Shanti" makes a pretty strong case as well.

Despite a strong first half, the album loses its energy as it continues. "In The Name Of" has some cool ideas, but they burn out a bit too quickly, and it's not clear how exactly it functions as a Babymetal song; the six-minute "Shine" does the album no favors in terms of pacing. After the exciting single "Pa Pa Ya!", the album begins a downward slide that takes it to a rather forgettable end. These albums always wind up sounding like mere collections of songs as opposed to cohesive albums (which is what happens when you have an entire team of writers behind you), so it comes down to a question of how good each individual song is. Just about every song on Metal Resistance is a winner for me, hence the high rating, but I return to maybe half the songs on Babymetal with any regularity; I sense the same may be in store for Metal Galaxy.

Still, for the most part, Metal Galaxy is yet another collection of fun, upbeat singles that, for its flaws, will likely find itself among my favorite albums of the year. It also sparks some intrigue about what the future of Babymetal might sound like… but that, obviously, will be the topic of the next review.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 22.10.2019 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 18   Visited by: 200 users
22.10.2019 - 05:59
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
UwU
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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22.10.2019 - 08:05
silenius
More like a 2.8
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22.10.2019 - 08:24
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by silenius on 22.10.2019 at 08:05

More like a 2.8

No
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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22.10.2019 - 14:26
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Haven't listened yet, but judging by this review it should be a blast
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2016 - 2017
2018 - 2019
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22.10.2019 - 17:58
Coconut Racecar
Thank you for a real review. I enjoy this band and I'm tired of all the people flooding them with negative scores. Maybe I misunderstand but, people shouldn't be using scores as upvotes or downvotes, no? It shouldn't matter if they like a band or not, they should be basing their score in the same way you, and other reviewers do - by actually analyzing each aspect of the sound and the effort that went in to creating it.

Maybe this band doesn't require an immense amount of effort to create their songs because so many people are collaborating to make them, but they certainly are fun to listen to. And I think just like movies, music is entertainment. Something Babymetal are wonderfully gifted at being.
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22.10.2019 - 18:46
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Way too sugary for me, despite my sweet tooth. I respect giving it an honest write-up though; the easy thing to do would be to make jokes and bash it relentlessly for most people.

I'd probably give this a 4.5 if only for related ptsd flashbacks from Blood Stain Child and Asking Alexandria. Some of the hate is well-earned, but they take more punishment from metalheads than is warranted.
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I have no memory of this place.
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22.10.2019 - 20:04
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
Like their previous, this is horrendous. Cheese and sugar don't mix.
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Checkout my band here!
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23.10.2019 - 00:31
The sad part is that this band is better than the guest's respective bands, or at least less cheesy.
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23.10.2019 - 03:04
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
I guess I'm a little more ambivalent about it because while I do find Babymetal to be way over the top and not something I'd normally listen to, I definitely enjoy it when I'm in the mood for some cheese. It's fun stuff that I don't think is ultimately meant to be taken too seriously, and the way they've been salting metal elitists on the Internet lately is quite amusing to boot.
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Life was a commercial for itself, endlessly replayed.
Nothing changed, it just spread out farther and farther in the form of neon ooze.
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25.10.2019 - 02:58
Ilham
Giant robot
Y u be like that ShriekingShrimpUS

I listened to a few songs from this album, and I still don't like the metal part of it. All their songs would sound better with techno beats. Then we'd shorten their name to Baby, which honestly is a good name on its own, the shortness of it feels trendy.
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25.10.2019 - 03:03
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Ilham on 25.10.2019 at 02:58

Y u be like that ShriekingShrimpUS

I listened to a few songs from this album, and I still don't like the metal part of it. All their songs would sound better with techno beats. Then we'd shorten their name to Baby, which honestly is a good name on its own, the shortness of it feels trendy.

I was bitten by a radioactive baby and now I can't stop, KillhamWithFire.

I'm afraid that actual idol pop is outside my area of expertise, aside from that one SKE48 album I bought a couple of years ago, so I can't give you any recs along the lines of Baby, but I'm sure the world is safer that way.
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Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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25.10.2019 - 03:18
Ilham
Giant robot
I done write SKE48 in the gogle and i aint only find internet web-sites written in foriegn ?? ? how is brandon say hello for me xoxo granma

No seriously I found a couple of cool videos, thanks. This might be how I get more into J-pop and you'd be to blame for that, thank you.
Also you strike gold every time with those names. MS feels safe again.
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27.10.2019 - 04:15
BitterCOld
waltrsobchakheit
To me, Babymetal are like a bag of Spice Drops.



Super sweet/sugary. Can handle a handful, but too mcuh and sick to my stomach.

That said, through six songs the album bounced all over the place making it far more interesting that so many of the other sugar-coated power bands that don't feature teenage Japanese girls (and thus don't get the same hate for producing less interesting works) ... Probably pop a song or two on the treadmill mix for random burst of energy when burning off cervezas of doom.

nice work on the review.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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29.10.2019 - 11:34
Andrew_Deer
Oh god I love it so much! It's funny how so many people still consider it to be some kind of troll but they have always been a solid project. And I actually love the second part more, from BxMxC (which is by far my no. 1) to the end.
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29.10.2019 - 13:12
TarannonFalastur
This band is awfully cheesy and cringy, but unlike the vast majority of power metal bands who take themselves so seriously despite writing kiddie la-di-da sing-along stuff, they do not seem to take their metal shtick too seriously. I think one of the reasons why this project is hated, more so than most saccharine melodic power metal bands is because they are very unpretentious. You want cheesy metallized bubblegum pop shit instead of a proper metal album? Here you go. 90% pop, 10% metal. Sugar, spice and everything nice.

If among the haters of this band there are power metal lovers, then you realize how hypocritical they are. How is this more cheesy, cringy and ridiculous than Gloryhammer for example?
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31.10.2019 - 15:24
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by BitterCOld on 27.10.2019 at 04:15

To me, Babymetal are like a bag of Spice Drops.
Super sweet/sugary. Can handle a handful, but too mcuh and sick to my stomach.

Exactly. Some of their songs are quite solid quality-wise, no to mention how varied the songs are. It's the thick crust of glucose that makes them nauseating in higher doses.
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31.10.2019 - 15:26
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Boxcar Willy on 22.10.2019 at 20:04

Like their previous, this is horrendous. Cheese and sugar don't mix.

Cottage cheese does.
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31.10.2019 - 18:26
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
Written by Daniell on 31.10.2019 at 15:26

Cottage cheese does.

You've got me there.
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Checkout my band here!
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