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.