Review Summary: Everything that metal shouldn't be and yet it somehow works. Brilliantly.
Oh, the concept of creativity. Sometimes when bands get extremely creative, the results can be mixed. Some bands are brilliant for the new sound they've mastered, and others just don't make it.
You could say that Babymetal reinvents the word "creativity."
Babymetal is the ultimate mix of everything that shouldn't be mixed. And yet it somehow works.
For people who don't know, Babymetal is a Japanese band composed of three early-teen girls--the older one going by the stage name of Su-Metal, and the younger ones Moametal and Yuimetal. They are run by this system that Japan uses for music (which is very peculiar, so you might be better looking it up then reading my short "explanation"). Essentially, if these girls had been born in America, Babymetal would not exist. It's a project that they did back when they were in school and got extended when some higher Japanese record labels liked it and noticed its popularity--at least, that's my best understanding of what happened anyway.
So what you get is three Japanese girls singing in the apparent typical "J-pop" style (which I have never heard before)--and yes, they have high-pitched voices almost like the Chipmunks--especially the two younger ones--and this is all set to what you could say is heavy metal music. However, there are so many genres incorporated within. "Gimme Chocolate" has an almost pop-punk feel to it in the chorus, while the very odd "Iine" mostly has an EDM-metal feel to it--but also has a brief awkward rap section in it, followed immediately by some *extreme* death metal before going back to EDM.
You get the idea. These people are nuts--in a good way, though.
Other genres explored include a rap-metal of sorts in "Onedari Daisakusen," classic rock in "Akatsuki," ska in "Song 4" (my least favorite genre they explore), and even dubstep in "Uki Uki Midnight." So in other words, you'll hear a little bit of everything on here. "Megitsune," one of their most well-known songs, actually encompasses all their genres pretty much into one song--and it comes off very well.
By the way, there *is* screaming--not from the girls, who are far too high-pitched for that (although Su-Metal does let out something of a scream at the end of "Head Bangya"). Actual heavy metal screams too--and yes, that is what you get in, for example, the death metal interlude in "Iine." Who does these death metal screams? Also, who the heck does the instruments? It's not the girls--they're singers and dancers. No one really knows--those things have been kept under wraps.
Song highlights include the brilliant "Megistune," the thrash-metal feel of "Catch Me If You Can," the unforgettable "Head Bangya," and the more artistic "Rondo of Nightmare." Also, "Gimme Chocolate," and "Iine," despite their flaws ("Gimme Chocolate" is just downright silly), are just flat out irresistible. "Onedari Daisakusen" and "Uki Uki Midnight" are pretty good as well.
"Akatsuki" and "Ijime Dame Zetta" are really the only tracks that fall short. To be honest, classic rock is not their strongest suit--even their ska wonderings in the quirky "Song 4" are saved by the fact that the rest of the song is pretty catchy and has some great guitar riffs. "Akatsuki" is more of a ballad than anything. The best thing about "Ijime Dame Zetta" is its brilliant intro with Su-Metal (whom is actually a brilliant singer, by the way) humming in the background.
Babymetal really is both a stupid idea and a genius idea at the same time. And they are not for everybody. Heavy metal purists will probably toss their cookies when they hear this. For people, though, who enjoy seeing new territory explored in the genre, this is something you need to at least give a shot. For people like that--myself included--this'll be one of the best albums you'll hear all year.