Review Summary: Metal doesn't get any more fun than this.
To say “Gimmie Chocolate” was a shocking introduction to Babymetal is an absolute understatement, but with 108 million views it appears to be how most people discovered the band. The fact of the matter, though, is that no matter how jarring Moa and Yui’s vocals were on that song – their voices are definitely mixed too high – the music was heavy and fun, and the chorus was insanely catchy; a description that extended to their entire debut album. When they released their sophomore album, Babymetal went for a more streamlined approach that didn’t really contain anything as off-the-wall as “Gimmie Chocolate”. While being easier to consume overall, it was also much less diverse while also lacking the huge hooks and fun approach of their debut. Fortunately, Metal Galaxy
returns to what attracted most people to the band in the first place by delivering a collection of diverse, catchy songs that are fun again.
starts with a brief intro track featuring programmed beats, triggered guitar sounds, a ton of synth, and Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-Metal) doing an effects-laden spoken word section in English. It’s not really an ‘actual’ song, but it still kind of sets the tone for what’s to come. Metal Galaxy
is an album that shows the Babymetal organization is finally comfortable with their unique hybrid of syrupy sweet electro pop and metal, and they dive into it with reckless abandon. Over the 53-minute runtime, Metal Galaxy
introduces listeners to a diverse array of influences. “Da Da Dance” kicks things off with a seamless blend of Within the Ruins-style jittery djent and slick J-Pop. It’s the kind of classic Babymetal song the previous release was missing, but done with much more conviction, musical prowess, and stylized songwriting. “Elevator Girl” takes the Babymetal formula and adds a bit of drum & bass to the mix while featuring a fat bass guitar sound and a chorus that will definitely get lodged in your head.
As the album goes on, listeners are going to be treated to the Indian electro vibes of “Shanti Shanti Shanti,” the western dance pop of “Brand New Day,” the djent-goes-salsa of “Night Night Burn!” and even the epic atmospheric metal of “Shine” – and that’s just a few examples. Every one of Metal Galaxy
’s songs have their own quirky approach to the Babymetal sound, and almost all the experimentation works. It’s not just the huge hooks and much-improved songwriting that makes Metal Galaxy
such a success, though. Metal Galaxy
easily features the best sound of their brief ten-year career. The guitar sound is huge featuring a bass sound that simply crushes with bottom end and clarity, the electronics slice right through the metal elements, and the pop components occupy the higher ranges while adeptly intertwining with a multitude of guitar melodies, harmonies, and solos. There is one exception to the quality found throughout Metal Galaxy
, however. “Oh! Majinai” is a car-wreck of a song featuring a mash-up of cheesy pirate metal, sing-along pop, terrible growled metal vocals, and a mind-numbing chorus. Having said that, it’s a car crash that’s hard to look away from – even this song will get stuck in your head if you manage to let it finish.
feels like an album that finally represents what Babymetal wants to be. The metal parts are heavier than ever while also being more ‘musical’. The J-Pop is integrated seamlessly throughout the melodies and choruses, and there are just so many additional influences from song-to-song – from djent to western pop, and even terrible pirate metal. Metal Galaxy
is easily the best and most entertaining release of Babymetal’s career, featuring a diverse array of songs that are all capably carried by Suzuka’s proficient vocals, improved songwriting, and an excellent production.
NOTE: On a personal note, it sucks that “BxMxC” is only on the Japanese version of Metal Galaxy
because it is easily my favorite song on the album, and one any Babymetal fan should hear. It features abrasive electronics, Within the Ruins-style djent, a rapid-fire, processed vocal delivery from Suzuka, and underlying death metal growls. There’s nothing commercial or catchy about it, and it is heavy as hell.