BABYMETAL – ‘Metal Galaxy’ review: power-pop anthems for the 23rd Century

The J-pop-metal sensations' third album continues their voyage from the sublime to the ridiculous – and back again – and will prove as divisive as ever

J-pop-meets-hard-rock sensations BABYMETAL, who lace sugar-sweet hooks with speed-metal and rave rhythms, have proven divisive among the rock community.

Yet the pure hedonism of their sound, and the theatrical rush of their highly-choreographed, pyro-driven live shows, have seen them sell-out Wembley Arena and found them fans among the likes of Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bring Me The Horizon – all of whom have invited the band on the road.

That divisiveness drives their third album, ‘Metal Galaxy’. “We’re on an odyssey to the Metal Galaxy,” chimes a robotic voice on  ‘Future Metal’, before you’re encouraged to strap in for the sci-fi journey that follows. ‘Da Da Dance’ blends thrash with Euro-pop and a sick solo by Japanese guitar legend Tak Matsumoto. And then we’re off.

After the hook-laden speedball of ‘Elevator Girl’, ‘Shanti Shanti Shanti’ adds an intoxicating Bollywood twist to the mix, and ‘Oh! MAJINA’ brings Sabaton’s Joakim Broden on board for some jaunty Scandi-folk metal. Then, just when you thought the the axis of the album was thrown far into the ridiculous, it’s brought a little closer to the sublime with the EDM and R&B-inflected, chart friendly ‘Brand New Day’.

From the brief flamenco break in the pummelling ‘Night Night Burn’ and the doomy guttural rumblings of ‘In The Name Of’ to the horns-up thrash anthemics of ‘Distortion’, ‘Metal Galaxy’ is a wild ride that, through its sheer energy, is somehow infectiously accessible.

‘Pa Pa Ya!!’ has that nu-rave-meets-nu-metal knack of latter day Bring Me The Horizon, but far more out-there, while ‘Kagerou’s riff sounds like a Muse jam but with a dizzying neon glow. Closers of ‘Starlight’, ‘Shine’ and ‘Arkadia’ all feel like fist-clenching power-pop anthems updated for the 23rd Century.

Scoff if you will – or just enjoy the shamelessly unpredictable and giddy joy that lay within this record.

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