Babymetal are something of phenomenon within heavy metal, coming out of nowhere to shock purists within the genre & excite those looking for something new. Anyone mentioning Babymetal online is sure to get a whole raft of comments both positive & negative. Their fans see them as a breath of fresh air, combining intense heavy metal riffs with traditional J-pop singing. To say they have a hardcore following is putting it lightly.
Likewise those who despise the band are just as vocal, citing the image, J-pop singing & commercialisation as their reasoning behind the dislike. Each side has valid points & both can act a bit stupid about the whole thing at times.
Regardless Babymetal are huge & it’s with much expectation that their second album arrives. The opening song Road of Resistance is quite a nice surprise for Dragonforce fans as it guest both Herman Li & Sam Totman doing what they do best. Instantly familiar, punchy & fast-paced it’s easy to enjoy with the vocals taking a backseat to the fret-work.
That doesn’t last unfortunately as Karate is a more traditional Babymetal track, a heavy as hell intro before the J-pop singing takes over & dominates the majority of the song. Musically I found its style to be almost Slipknot like but those vocals just grate. It’s catchy as fuck though, you can’t ignore that fact but some of the effects are questionable & out of place.
Metal Resistance is filled with catchy songs & there is no taking away from the abilities of everyone involved. There is a whole host of talent in this band it just feels misused at times.
Far too many effects are used to introduce songs (when you have a talented group of musicians backing up the singers, why would you do this?) or to ‘enhance’ the vocals. This is hard to stomach & far more irritating then it needed to be. Even in the case of a killer breakdown during Awadama Fever effects are used making it a disappointment. It’s worth noting that these effects remind me a lot of Mad Capsule Markets, a comparison that could be seen very favourably by some.
A few songs fall quite flat lacking energy or a memorable hook. Songs like Yava! are so-so J-pop songs with sudden flashes of heaviness that are quite uninspired. Amore with its vocal led intro lacks any kind of impact, more filler then anything. It’s a song about showcasing the vocal abilities of the main singer & you can easily picture a nice choreographed dance to go along with it (yes, that was a bitchy comment but I know I’m not wrong).
How you feel about the vocals is going to effect how much you enjoy this album. It’s the main focus throughout but if I was to point out my reason why it’s a struggle to listen too, it would be because of the irritating effects, the techno sounds, the stuff that was created on a computer & showcases fuck all talent.
From Dusk Till Dawn is a perfect example of this, it’s possibly the most over-produced, piss-poor song on the entire album. For those claiming Babymetal aren’t a metal band, this song is pretty good evidence. Effects have their place, I’m not suggesting they don’t & I like many bands that utilise them but here they are used so much & to the detriment of the actual instruments. Coming at just over the half way point it’s an odd placement too sounding like an album closer.
The rest of the album doesn’t really improve unfortunately, it’s a mish-mash of songs seeming more like individual singles jammed together to make an album. Again this is an unusual practice, we’re lucky if we get 2 or 3 singles off a metal album throughout its release cycle but Metal Resistance sounds ready-made to release most of these as singles.
A lot is said about the backing band making up for the J-pop singing but a lot of what they do here is pretty uninspired & not very exciting at all. They throw out plenty of riffs, plenty of break-downs & heavy as hell moments but it often feels out of context. Almost like they know they have to slightly cater towards a metal crowd.
The album stutters to a halt as No Rain, No Rainbow is a ballad combining a string section & boring piano melody. I adore pianos & there are so many talented players who can do amazing things with the instrument so to hear such bland noises coming out of it here is downright awful. The song picks up thanks to a great guitar solo that reminded me of Slash’s solo in the Guns ‘N Roses song November Rain.
The final two songs (Tales of the Destinies & The One (English Version) have flashes of brilliance with the former having one of the albums best opening moments as well as really listenable chorus but are undone by just how mediocre the overall songs are. The latter’s English singing sounds out of place & doesn’t fit well with the vocal stylings.
Metal Resistance is not going to win Babymetal any new fans but will please long-term followers. It’s a mish-mash of music combing heavy riffs, J-pop vocals & techno/dub-step/trance effects…if that is your thing than this album is perfect for you.
1. Road of Resistance
3. Awadama Fever
6. Meta Taro
7. From Dusk Till Dawn
9. Sis. Anger
10. No Rain, No Rainbow
11. Tales of the Destinies
12. The One (English Version)
Babymetal - Metal Resistance (Amuse Inc.)