Oh, Japan. You never fail to disappoint us. Whether or not you’re into the cute side of Japan’s gifts or the weird side, surely BABYMETAL has fallen into the fine mid-way point of that, for all to enjoy! The trademark kawaii metal band have returned with their second effort, Metal Resistance, and I can’t tell if they’re making metal fight back, or resisting metal themselves.
It’s hard to forget the first time you heard this band. Back at their hype-up period in 2013 and 2014, they released a few singles that had the Internet vocally exclaim, “What the fuck?” Since then, they’ve gained quite a dedicated fanbase and major commercial attention, and for good reason. Despite the obvious gimmick of J-Pop melody over metal instrumentals, it’s actually such a contrast that the result is something close to beautiful. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. Unfortunately, while their self-titled album did what it could with its resources, Metal Resistance falls short.
The album starts off promising with the grand ‘Road To Resistance’, though having triumphant beginnings and ends doesn’t justify the absolute cluster of a track it becomes in the meat of it. Then we have ‘KARATE’, the song that has no sense of tone. I get the purpose of it all, but this song is pushing it. The cute vocals are just so jarring over the instrumental of this track, something the self-titled album managed to avoid. The following track, ‘あわだまフィーバー’ too has a horrific melody vs. instrumental conflict. Other tracks like ‘GJ!’ and ‘Sis. Anger’ have the melodic problem, but that lies in the fact that the vocals are just downright annoying. ‘META!’ sounds like a patriotic salute for a part of it, but then goes into a whole different (albeit, epic) part that makes me question whether they knew what they wanted this song to be.
With all the negatives out of the way, let’s look at the plenty of strong moments this album has. The track ‘ヤバッ!’ is just downright epic, with powerful performances on all ends. The funky verses set up beastly choruses backing by awesome synths (’シンコペーション’ also has some killer synths going on). Similar grooviness can be found in ‘Tales Of The Destinies’, which has a jazzy section before a nice piano conclusion. My personal favorite on the album, ‘NO RAIN, NO RAINBOW’ has an empowering feelings and the girls are backed by a beautiful orchestra that elevates this song to a whole new level. Whether or not it be the title, the song did actually remind me of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, though that, perhaps, may be a fault on my part depending on how you look at it. The album ends huge with ‘THE ONE’, the English version of the album actually featuring an English-sung version of the song, which is pretty cool and refreshing. Big, awesome instrumentation leads this album to a triumphant conclusion.
BABYMETAL both proves that they aren’t a gimmick, yet they are. Some tracks just show lack of direction, while others prove the power this band has. It feels like this is the transition to something bigger, as if with this record, the group is trying to find that perfect balance of sweet melodies and brooding instrumentation. That’s yet to come, though. We’ll see.
Favorite Tracks: NO RAIN, NO RAINBOW; THE ONE
Least Favorite Tracks: KARATE, あわだまフィーバー, GJ!, Sis. Anger