After the undeniable success of their debut self-titled record it was interesting to see just how Babymetal could validate their impressive rise to fame. The elephant in the room when discussing a band like Babymetal is always whether they are simply a gimmick aiming for short time success or an actual long term prospect in the metal scene. Fortunately, upon hearing their second release, entitled Metal Resistance, it appears Babymetal are here to stay. If anything the band have vastly improved upon their debut record and any doubters have surely been silenced. One listen to the records lead single Karate and its main riff will blast away any thoughts about the group not cutting it.
The album opens with the masterful fret work and intense shredding skills of Dragonforce guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman as it launches head first into a ferocious blast beat rhythm. Setting the tempo early this song certainly does a great job in initiated you into the world of Babymetal. Full of riffs that would make metals best guitarists jealous and overwhelmingly rapturous melodies. For anyone already well aware of the band you will know just how infectiously catchy some of their choruses are. Despite the lyrics being almost exclusively in Japanese you still find yourself singing, or at least attempting to, every word back to yourself even after the first listen. The influence of the Dragonforce boys is clearly obvious with some of the vocal delivery as multiple woahs ring out towards the end of the song. Moments like this are all over the record and make it extremely exciting just to imagine what this is going to be like in a live environment. The sing along parts of tracks like the previously mentioned Karate are sure to have audiences losing their voices on multiple occasions.
With such a unique sound already Babymetal seem to have added yet more musical diversity into the mix. You have songs like Yava, a track which combines a ska style bounce with their modern metal sound. After hearing their debut record, which features everything from Hip Hop to electro to dance music , you’d think you would have heard all Babymetal have to offer but Metal Resistance does an incredible job of being just unpredictably brilliant. This pure amalgamation of genres would initially make you think that Metal Resistance would be somewhat of a mess however, it has to be said this album still sounds cohesive and undeniably Babymetal. This is also without even mentioning just how amazing the bands core metal sound is. There are riffs on this album that can go toe to toe with any of metals finest riff craftsmen. The song Sis. Anger opens with a brutally pummelling riff which wouldn’t sound amiss on a death metal record. Metal Resistance also features some of the best beatdowns of any metal and hard-core record released this year showing how the band has amped up the metal along with just about everything else.
Everything considered this is almost a perfect record if not for a few minor complaints. One of these complaints being that the album really doesn’t need to be 12 tracks long as towards the end it really begins to drag. If just a couple of songs would have been left off Metal Resistance then it would undoubtedly be in the running for one of the best metal records of this year. Closing track entitled The One is a song that seriously wouldn’t be missed. There’s no issue with Babymetal doing slower songs as No Rain, No Rainbow proves perfectly, showcasing the group’s ability to write an actually credible rock ballad. However, The One feels bloated and just a tad too heavy on the cheese featuring guitar lines straight out of an eighties shred guitar album. This exemplifies the main issue many people have with Babymetal, despite how incredible the three girl’s voices are, after hearing these bubble-gum pop melodies over the course of 12 tracks they really start to become a little grating. Listening to a Babymetal album is comparable to eating a giant bag of sweets, undeniably enjoyable and sweet but towards the end you really have to know when to stop. Its often said that you can have too much of a good thing and despite however good that thing may be there comes a point where you have to tell yourself no.
In summation Metal Resistance is a truly magnificent metal record, or whatever you want to classify it as, showing that Babymetal simply aren’t just a one off. This record is certainly an improvement over the band’s first release featuring better riffs, songs and just about everything else. As said at the start of the review any doubt over Babymetal becoming a mainstay in the metal scene has surely been eradicated by Metal Resistance. Overall this album shows that metal as a genre doesn’t need to be tied down to one specific audience, it can still be fun and enjoyable without having to be deadly serious. Anyone still finding themselves hating Babymetal really need to re-evaluate their life choices and listen to this record, it won’t be too long until everyone else is bowing to the fox god too.