BABYMETAL – Live at Budokan (Red Night) LIVE ALBUM REVIEW

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BABYMETAL is a group that impressively grown on a global level during the last year, an escalation that started with their viral hitGimme Choko!! that brought the three little girls on several stages around the world where they rocked metal festivals of the likes of Sonisphere and gave support to international acts such as Lady Gaga, other than carrying on their huge success in their homeland in the meantime. And exactly in Japan, right before the girls became the successful worldwide act they are today, BABYMETAL were already rocking the mainstream scene as one of the most revolutionary and interesting acts of the last years, a success culminated in their biggest live performance to date held at the famous Nippon Budokan venue, divided in two shows, the Red Night and the Black Night, with the first being just released as a Live CD along with a DVD/Blu-Ray of both shows, forming a great chance to catch one of the most epic shows of this band that is preparing to go even farther with their upcoming concert at the Saitama Super Arena in the next days.

Budokan on Fire

What we’re going to analyze today is their Live CD LIVE AT BUDOKAN -Red Night-, to hear how these girls rocked the Budokan stage back in March 2014 and to get a glimpse of that epic night that set the historic Japanese venue on fire with the extraordinary performance of SU-METAL, MOA-METAL and YUI-METAL and the Kami Band, the four guys that give life to songs that bring fun and catchiness in the key of brutal metal sonorities. And it’s the combination of these two forces that create the amazing audio experience brought by this Live Album: Playing recorded tracks and lip syncing on them like many J-pop/Idol artists regularly do would have made no sense for a band like this, and indeed the entire show is performed live, from the instrumentals to the girls’ voices, confirming how this release should be seen as a pure Metal live album under every single aspect, not only for its particular nature (at least in the context of the mainstream Japanese Music scenario) but also for how it sounds: This group’s live sound is raw, brutal, a literal punch to your ears, but its quality is crystalline and catches all the atmosphere of the night and the excellent performance of the girls and of their band, built on a strong and well thought setlist and a great interpretation of the tracks: From the greatest successes like Megitsune, Headbanger!!! and Ijime, Dame Zettai to the killer tracks taken from their album such as Rondo of Nightmareand BABYMETAL DEATH, every song brings out the best of each member performing on stage and flows greatly through the different sections of the show.

SU’s performance is brilliant: She reaches all the high notes flawlessly and performs vocal extensions smartly without exceeding her already impressive skills, handling her voice with the mastery of a singer that perfectly knows her limits as well as her strong points, reaching the high peak in Benitsuki -Akatsuki- (a performance to bring tears to the eyes) and in the band’s classic Ijime, Dame, Zettai, where SU unleashes her true potential; For a girl that’s barely 17 years old to hold such a coherent, powerful and emotional performance inside a venue like the Nippon Budokan is something way more than impressive, and this girl’s future as singer simply shines in front of all of this. Same can be said for YUI and MOA, that give their best as core elements of the funny and energetic choreographies of the band, managing to sing their parts live with their adorable voices easily, both when it comes to support SU in precise parts and in their solo tracks 4 no Uta and Onedari Daisakusen, bringing the funniest and more Pop-ish side of the BABYMETAL sound with a good result brought by a great effort from both of them.

And while the performance of the three the girls is flawless, all of this wouldn’t be the same without the Kami Band: These four guys literally rise hell on stage with their top-notch skill made of insanely brutal and solid drumming, killer bass lines and rough guitars weighing like heavy metal in the rythmic part and shining in each melodic section, and it’s no exaggeration in saying that they’re playing a big role in BABYMETAL’s global success thanks to their talent. There’s also space for improvisation in this performance obviously, with nice solos performed by each member before the brutal Catch me if you can and in the interlude brought by the devastating BABYMETAL DEATH, confirming how a BABYMETAL show wouldn’t be the same anymore without these four amazing musicians, making the “Babybones” days a distant memory where probably no one wants to come back again, as this Live release documents how this is the best moment ever to attend a BABYMETAL live show.


Verdict

With an impressive performance by both the girls and their band, LIVE AT BUDOKAN -Red Night-  is a perfect showcase of the talent of SU, MOA and YUI and of the amazing Kami Band, taking the beast of each member’s skill on stage and pack it into a solid release that brings one of the best BABYMETAL concerts in all its audio goodness, with a killer performance and quality music. A must for all the fans of this band who will hardly come back to the studio versions of these songs, and simply to everyone who’s looking for a great Metal Live CD, a nowadays rare breed of release in the Japanese market that has finally found new life with BABYMETAL’s LIVE AT BUDOKAN.

Vote: 9 / 10


 

Tracklist

1. Megitsune
2. Doki Doki Morning
3. Gimme Choko!!
4. Iine!
5. Catch me if you can
6. Uki Uki Midnight
7. Akumu no Rondo
8. Onedari Daisakusen
9. 4 no Uta
10. Benitsuki – Akatsuki
11. BABYMETAL DEATH
12. Headbanger!!
13. Ijime, Dame, Zettai

– Alex

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