#1 BABYMETAL – BABYMETAL
So BABYMETAL is a Japanese band fronted by three teenage girls! So, they dance to choreography routines! So, they don’t write the band’s songs! So, their singing is catchy and melodic and in Japanese! SO, WHAT?
In my book it’s all about the music and the music in their self-titled, debut album is phenomenal. ‘BABYMETAL’ has 13 impeccable METAL songs of rare quality, all of which could easily have been released as singles. These 13 flawless tracks give it the air of a “Greatest Hits” album that any other band might release. This is partly because the songs were not written by one or two members of the band, which is what usually happens in metal bands, but by a team of composers/musicians – some of the most talented, renowned and established musicians in Japan.
In essence BABYMETAL, is the brain-child of self-proclaimed metal fan Kobametal (Key Kobayashi). He found three of the most talented girls in Japan – Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal – who are part of Japan’s ‘Idol’ scene and a part of the Japanese music industry’s future. He then found Japan’s best metal musicians to play as the backing band. They have now become an integral part of BABYMETAL, the so called ‘Kami Band’ (Kami meaning God in Japanese). He even got the most famous Japanese choreographer to create the girl’s dance routines and as mentioned before he recruited some of the crème de la crème of the Japanese music industry’s composers to write the band’s songs. So basically what we have with BABYMETAL is a Japanese super-group! Right from the start of this BABYMETAL “project” every little detail was well thought through and planned for years to come. It has been executed in a way that characterizes the well-known Japanese perfectionist way of doing things.
As the band’s name suggests, BABYMETAL is a new-born metal. A new sub-genre of metal and its name is Kawaii Metal (kawaii meaning cute in Japanese). Four years in the making, the music in their debut album is an insane, out of this world, ingenious and unique blend of Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal, JPop, Power Metal, Symphonic Metal, Nu-Metal, Gothic Metal, Industrial Metal, Djent, Metalcore breakdowns, a touch of Reggae, a touch of Rap and more, that has to be heard to be believed. In this author’s opinion BABYMETAL is the most exciting, original, innovative, talented, ground-breaking, genre defying and genre defining new band since System of a Down and one of the most fascinating live acts in the world right now. Your first reaction when you will listen to this album will be sheer shock and if you are a metal elitist you may also feel revulsion. By the 3rd listen, however, it will have crawled under your skin and will stay there… FOREVER!
BABYMETAL’s self-titled debut album is by far the best metal album of 2014. From album’s opener, ‘BABYMETAL DEATH’- that will make you feel the skin being stripped off your face – to the closing track, ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’ – that will make you look for the nearest mosh-pit to jump into, the music is flawlessly and masterfully done. This is an all-killer-no-filler album and each and every song has inspiration, originality, hooks and passion. ‘BABYMETAL’ is an amazing accomplishment; a landmark in music’s history; a perfect album… a perfect METAL album; make no mistake about that.
The criteria by which I pick the best albums of the year are: song writing, the level of musicianship, creativity, production, how much enjoyment I got from the album and the impact the album had to the world but above all, what I like to call “The Goosebumps Meter”. In other words it is the intensity and number of goosebumps given to me while listening to an album – and let me tell you – ‘BABYMETAL’, from start to finish is one mean, hair-raising, spine-snapping, goosebumps fest! If after listening to this album a few times you still can’t feel that… you should have your pulse checked.
So take my advice metalheads… open the eye of your mind and stop being immature, depressed, angry, narrow-minded metal elitists. Life is too short to waste like that. I also used to be a metal elitist until BABYMETAL came my way and changed me for the best. I wholeheartedly recommend this album to all metalheads and music lovers. It’s an album that has already converted legions of new fans to metal. The ones who didn’t reject BABYMETAL, for not being “true metal” – I have named them ‘BABYMETALHEADS’ – we really had a blast in 2014. Something evident from BABYMETAL groups such as Babymetal International Fan Club, babymetalfanclub.com and BABYMETAL FAN CLUB. It really was an exciting, inspiring, memorable and FUN year for us.
BABYMETAL, in 2014 you have turned our lives from grey to colorful.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for that.