1. BABYMETAL – Metal Resistance
Genre: Kawaii Metal
Listen To: Sis. Anger, Karate
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, they are singing pop vocals and in Japanese! SO, WHAT?
In my book it’s all about the music and the music in their sophomore album ‘Metal Resistance’ is phenomenal! ‘Metal Resistance’ is comprised of impeccable METAL songs of rare quality, most of which could easily have been released as singles. Each and every song has inspiration, originality, hooks and passion, and they are so excellent that they give ‘Metal Resistance’ 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 were 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 or Divine 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). Their music is an insane, out of this world, ingenious and unique blend of Power Metal, JPop, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal, Metalcore, Punk, Symphonic Metal, Folk Metal, Nu-Metal, Gothic Metal, Industrial Metal, 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!
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 – ‘Metal Resistance’ 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 are really having a blast since 2014, when the band’s self-titled debut was released. Something evident from BABYMETAL FAN CLUB babymetalfanclub.com that has 32,000 passionate BABYMETALHEADS from all over the world!
BABYMETAL, you have turned our lives from grey to colorful.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for that.
~ Mr Metalised (Arnold Metallo)
Listen To: Dystopia, Bullet to the Brain
Genre: Rap Metal/Nu-Metal
Listen To: Charles Bronson, The Business of Hate
Genre: Progressive/Sludge Metal
Listen To: Following the Voice, Worshipper
Genre: Progressive/Groove Metal
Listen To: Silvera, Stranded
Listen To: Symphony of the Ego, To Be Tolerated
Listen To: Paralyzed, For We Are Forever
Genre: Progressive Metal
Listen To: The Architect, The Endless Knot
Listen To: Embrace The Journey…Upraised, Strength of the Mind
10. Hail Spirit Noir – Mayhem in Blue
Genre: Psychedelic/Progressive/Black Metal
Listen To: Riders to Utopia, I Mean You Harm
Genre: Power/Progressive Metal
Listen To: Paper Tiger, Wishing Well
Genre: Progressive Metal
Listen To: Seven Stars, The Ghosts of Home
Genre: Gothic Metal
Listen To: The House of Shame, Delirium
Listen To: The Electric Cell, Lost
Genre: Avant- Garde/Progressive/Black Metal
Listen To: Celestial Violence, Frail
Genre: Death Metal
Listen To: Sovereign Hate, This Endless War
Genre: Progressive/Symphonic Metal
Listen To: Failure, Offer Your Light
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Listen To: Belie The Machine, Again
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Listen To: All Hail Science, Proponent For Sentience III
Genre: Power Metal
Listen To: Master of the Pendulum, The Haunting
Honorable Mentions: InnerWish – InnerWish, Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, Deftones – Gore, Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake, Borknagar – Winter Thrice, Alcest – Kodama, Cult of Luna – Mariner, Dark Tranquility – Atoma, Kvelertak – Nattesferd, SUICIDAL ANGELS – Division of Blood