Babymetal is evil

If, like me, you got your first taste of kawaii thrash icons Babymetal yesterday on The Late Show, you probably spent a long moment wondering what the heck was going on. And if, like me, you spent a lot of the day humming along to the chorus of “Gimme Chocolate!!”, then everything became clear. If music is supposed to get into your head, then Babymetal works. But make no mistake: this band is evil.

For one, Babymetal is idol pop, and idol pop is intrinsically fascist. And while it is reported the band is under better management than most other idol bands, they still record and perform under a system that exploits the labor and tightly controlled images of minors. Minors who, by the way, didn’t even know what metal was when they started.

For another, Babymetal’s sound is surprisingly uncreative. The fusion of metal and idol pop should sound original by default, but the band’s songs sound as if the creative process didn’t go beyond “metal” + “cute” = $$$. Take the second track “Karate” off their latest album Metal Resistance, which clunkily switches from a Slipknot-like riff and staccato vocals to a soaring chorus fit for the opening credits of your favorite high school anime. It’s really catchy, and it also feels like it’s been glued together.

If you’re a fan of metal, however, you should give credit to the band’s sonic efforts. On Metal Resistance, they’ve employed the help of Herman Li and Sam Totman (of the theatrically bad Dragonforce) who, beyond giving the girls an air of competence, shred their fingers off for the fox god the band claims to worship. There’s no better example of this than on “Road of Resistance,” which paces along beautifully for a minute before we get Suzuka “Su-metal” Nakamoto’s glorious introduction. Whoever arranges their songs obviously knows what they’re doing, and there are plenty of metal icons who have already given their seal of approval. There are a bunch of reasons for metal purists (ugh) to hate Babymetal, but the guitars shouldn’t be one of them.

If you can tolerate the cutesy voices, in fact, you should like this band a lot. Babymetal is at their best when they attack from both angles, as “Awadama Fever” shows with a face-melting riff and ADORABLE vocals. “Gj!” similarly explodes with Metallica speed and rosy cheeks, as does “Yava!”, which sounds like my new favorite DDR track. To be honest, it all sounds pretty sweet, and when the guitars fall a bit short, the girls have enough spunk to keep each song afloat.

Despite my repulsion for Japan’s idol machine, I dig Babymetal. Though not terribly creative, they do rage against metal’s insufferable ethos, and anyone who challenges metal purists with cuteness is good in my book. Above all, however, the songs rock, and I suggest giving Metal Resistance a shot even if your healthy skepticism says otherwise. Babymetal is certainly evil, but since they’re metal, that’s probably the best compliment I can give them.


1 Comment

  1. […] is still fascist, uncreative, and evil, and they also released a solid pop album that I should be tired of but still blast if I need a […]

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