Daniel Ostrander nearly survives their debut album
If Halloween had a soundtrack it would be a cacophony of pounding, wailing and screaming: in other words, heavy fucking metal! While I may not be the biggest fan of the genre, even I had a metal phase; “And Justice For All” is still one my favorite albums. Fan or not, you’d have to be living in a crypt not to not know of rising stars BABYMETAL, the idol group whose death metal and J-pop blend has garnered them worldwide fandom and millions of YouTube views In the spirit of Halloween I delved into their debut CD with high hopes of rekindling my love for the loudest and scariest of music.
BABYMETAL is made up of Su-metal, Yuimetal, and Moametal; three teenage girls who sing, dance and occasionally roar with their ass-kicking Kami Band. Opening track Babymetal Death is a an homage to symphonic death metal, blending spooky orchestral and choir pieces right before exploding into a head-banging mix of double bass and electric guitar. The band seems perhaps too eager to establish their metal roots, with the only lyrics being a chanting of “death” over and over again, with the girls introducing themselves. Admittedly, it could just be a play on the way the Japanese “desu” sounds like “death”; though I doubt they put too much thought into it.
Though starting loud, it doesn’t take long for the J-pop side of BABYMETAL to take hold. The rest of the album is The Kami Band doing their damndest to be heard over heavy synthesizers and saccharine lyrics of tracks like Doki Doki Morning and iine, which contrary to their titles, are just horrible. And lest you think it’s hyperbole when I say this is the vilest album I’ve ever listened to, they rap at one point and there’s a dubsteb break about halfway through; which was right when I kinda mentally checked out.
There’s a rumor that government agencies use loud and fast music to torture enemy combatants for information. I now believe this to be true, because less than halfway through this album I was ready to sell out my family, my country – anything – just to make it stop. Even the occasional moments of letting the Kami Band off the chain, in tracks like Akumu no Rondo, Ijime, Dame, and Zettai (the latter a treatise against bullying which, ironically, made me want to punch someone smaller than me) couldn’t save this album from a quick death.
Repackaging J-pop in a thin wrapping of heavy cords, pounding drums, choreographed moves and loligoth fashion isn’t heavy metal; it’s a litmus test for pedophilia. But if you can put up with the throngs of sweaty fanboys chanting their inane songs in unison, then you can catch BABYMETAL live this month at Zepp Nagoya. Two shows that will sell out.
BABYMETAL World Tour in Japan 2015