Mid-year Review: 2016 in Japanese Music

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We’re in the middle of June (actually heading towards the end of the month), and so I decided to make a recap of the most noticeable music the Japanese Music Industry offered to us in this first half of 2016.

I can’t deny it: these six months were pretty good in terms of new music. For several reasons, including being introduced to certain niches of the Japanese industry, there have been quite a few records that I enjoyed a lot, only framed by a few disappointments here and there. Let’s start with the good side.


The Good

There have been some very interesting surprises in the last six months, and some (predictably) great albums as well. First off, Seiko Oomori‘s relentless, and sometimes genial TOKYO BLACK HOLE, is a great collection of heartfelt and well crafted tracks, who gather an impressive number of influences and puts them under Seiko’s magnifying glass, with an enjoyable and various output as result. With this great piece of work, Seiko ultimately elevated herself as relevant and influential figure of today’s J-pop scene, a status that will become even clearer in the coming months. J-rock outfit Soutaiseiriron brought an equally brilliant record with Tensei Jingle, by far the album I enjoyed the most this year, thanks to a perfect flow and light-hearted vibe that make me come back on these colorful tracks on a daily basis; Definitely one of the most enjoyable and rewarding records of this year and, on a personal level, one of the best ones since I discovered the Japanese scene six years ago.

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Fully deserving a place in my personal ranking, Bokutachi no Iru Tokoro.‘s Gomi is yet another great piece of J-rock that’s worth all your time, with great accessibility and masterfully crafted compositions. Shifting to a completely different genre, Hiromi Uehara’s record SPARK, enriched by the contribute of bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, is another gem not to miss, where the piano singer graces us with Jazz-y and pleasantly melodic tunes that could brighten the darkest of days.

From the Japanese Indie sphere, a niche I’m still very new to, the acts that surprised me the most are Indie-pop/Rock outfits Acidclank and CRUNCH: the first recently released an EP composed by two wonderful tracks that made my mind fly all the way to Tokyo (this is how you conquer me), while the latter released an interesting collaboration with American track-maker Alex Ruby, that led me to the group’s remarkable Blue Blue Blue EP (this one released in 2015).

Deserving a paragraph on its own, the biggest surprise of 2016 so far definitely came from FAMM’IN, a unit composed by Avex artists FEMM, Faky and Yup’in, three acts that I consider mediocre at the best. Still, the newly born unit released what is without a doubt one my most looped tracks right now: circle is a deep, fresh and unpredictable trip through electronic elements, traditional Japanese instruments, enigmatic build-ups, unexpected trap beats, and distant atmospheric vocals. Describing this track with words could never give a proper idea of its nature, so the best way is just to enjoy it on your own.

On the Alternative Idol side of things, there have been quite a few interesting releases as well. Probably the hottest unit of the niche at the moment, BiSH continues to walk the road opened by their predecessors and pioneers BiS, with relentless and pop-ish influences merged with Punk rock/Metal, all packed in Fake Metal Jacket, a solid record filled with enjoyable tracks and live anthems that are making the group more and more popular by the day. In the meantime, Maison Book Girl proved once again their value with summer continue, a festival of acoustic layers and electronic bits that, despite not really bringing anything new to the table, it still manages to stand out as a very enjoyable record. Ultradark Idol Unit Necronomidol didn’t miss the opportunity to shine either, as the EP from chaos born brings back the group on track with well crafted tracks and masterful application of several influences, a needed (and much appreciated) effort following a record that split the fandom into two at the beginning of the year.

The not-that-good

Sadly enough, the two records that partly disappointed me belong to two of my favorite mainstream acts. First off, Perfume, that with COSMIC EXPLORER delivered a wave of mixed feelings to their fandom: It’s a nice record, but at the same time not consistent enough, especially considering the standards they always managed to keep up with in the last ten years: this album features some very good tracks, but suffers from a bad tracklist and rushed (and unnecessary) album mixes, that split the album between new convincing tracks and old singles treated in a not-so-convincing way.

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Of course, BABYMETAL’s METAL RESISTANCE is the second album that didn’t meet my expectations. I gave this record a 6.5, and after almost three months, I hardly see how I could have given this record a higher rating. As a BABYMETAL fan since 2011, I am indeed convinced this album is extremely overrated: Is it bad? No. Is it great? Neither. It’s overall quite nice, very good in a few occasions, and bad in others. The real problem though, lies in the exaggerated will of making this project sound as aggressive as possible, killing part of its nature and desperately pressing the accelerator, until the whole thing unavoidably crashed (Tales of the Destinies). No, this is not evolution: this is losing sight of things and blindly head towards a single direction. I admit it makes me sad to say this, especially because I’d still see them live everyday, and because From Dusk Till Dawn is one of my favorite tracks this year, but seriously, this whole album is not what the world claims. And to those saying I am a “first album elitist” (still laughing), I just can say that I can hear the difference between a masterful record and a mediocre one.

The Bad

Ayami Muto, the best solo Idol in recent years, has retired. Kyary didn’t.

Also, stupid scandals getting in the way.


– Alex

BABYMETAL is now a playable character in Super Mario Maker.

BABYMETAL’s success shows no sign of slowing down. Since the release of the second studio record METAL RESISTANCE, the group is smartly taking advantage of its momentum, appearing on countless magazines, radio shows, popular YouTube channels, and even on Television, with the the recent performance at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as showcase of the group’s rising popularity. Right now, to the eyes of the world, Japanese music equals to BABYMETAL.

But it’s still not enough for the former Sakura Gakuin members. Indeed, SU-METAL, MOA-METAL and YUI-METAL will become playable characters in the popular Wii U videogame Super Mario Maker, as officially announced by Nintendo. Yes, this is real.

After the game’s update scheduled for tomorrow April 28th, players can find a particular mushroom in the “Super Mario Brothers” set that will turn the italian plumber into the three girls, jumping on platforms between a “Dame!” and “Soya!”, words taken from their popular tracks Ijime, Dame, Zettai and Megitsune. The video above shows a brief segment of a level featuring BABYMETAL, and it’s… funny.

This comes at no surprise, as in a recent interview streamed through Twitch, SU-METAL claimed that Super Mario Maker is her favorite videogame. Marketing done right, guys. Marketing done right.

– Alex

BABYMETAL’s METAL RESISTANCE | Alex Shenmue VS. Homicidols

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Most of you who follow my blog already probably read my review of BABYMETAL’s METAL RESISTANCE, a record that kinda divided the fandom for its approach. It is not a perfect album, but it is a nice one, and in the end I gave it a positive score, despite not being an high one.

I was reading some hater’s comment about my review on Reddit when Maniac, the mind behind the Homicidol blog, contacted me, interested on my take on METAL RESISTANCE, offering an exchange of opinions that I gladly accepted. Don’t take me wrong: I didn’t like this dude. How could you trust someone called “Maniac” after all. Then I realized I’m not that better since I watch Ladybaby’s videos only to stare at Rie Kaneko, so I was like, yeah let’s go.

As owner of a blog that analyzes the Alternative Idol scene (and does a great job at that) Maniac obviously reviewed BABYMETAL’s latest studio effort, giving it a positive score, and leaving a generally positive opinion to his readers. And despite being a fool, he gave good reasons and analyzed the album with interesting point of views, so I was glad I wasn’t talking to a  “AAAAH, THIS ALBUM IS PERFECT, PERIOD” kind of person, and I was glad he contacted me for this article.

We had some fun assaulting one another’s opinions. Check it out!


Let’s begin!

Maniac: Alex, thank you so much. Your grace and charm are well-known. Please know that everything I say from here on out is with the utmost respect.

Alex: I appreciate that, Maniac, and thanks for having me.

Maniac: Great. I’ll get this started.


Maniac Point: You have a not good, but bad, opinion of “Tales of the Destinies.”

You wrote, “The biggest problem with METAL RESISTANCE is its attempt at pleasing a way too broad audience, and in adopting the influences to second this illogical purpose, it creates inconsistency” and then you peed all over “Tales” for sounding too much like Dream Theater but not pulling it off.

But please allow me to retort. As you may guess from my hyperbolic reactions to various idols, ridiculous, nightmarish sounds are basically gold to me, and “Tales” sounds like a bad dream Su-metal had while recording in Australia. It’s disjointed and thematically bizarre and has too much happening sometimes and it’s absolutely beautiful when it finally comes together.

Alex: It sounds like a nightmare and that’s it to me. As a long-time Dream Theater fan, the similarities are honestly exaggerated and almost embarrassing. I’m not kidding, and I’m really sorry for that. I’ll give you my address, send me bullets in a white envelope.

Maniac: Well aren’t we a salty one? You may think that Babymetal should never change or adapt, but I personally hope they keep trying to push genre boundaries with the same neophyte’s vigor that birthed them.

Alex: That’s what I hope too. But again, a lot of METAL RESISTANCE sounds much more standard to me when compared with their older material.

Maniac: /pretends to give Alex the stink-eye

Alex: My turn.


Alex Point: Nothing in this album is better than the previous one

Alex: You wrote:This isn’t a perfect album, but it is a very good one, one the entire Babymetal team should be proud of, often better than the debut but also missing in a few spots.” I honestly think none of these tracks are better than anything that was in BABYMETAL.

Maniac: Bite your tongue.

Alex: First off: I never pretended this album to be like their debut. It’s obviously different, but I couldn’t hear anything that was better. There’s more technique, and the Kami Band truly went into Berserk mode more than once, but again, skills and speed aren’t necessarily synonyms of quality. What’s better here when compared to the first album in your opinion?

Maniac: In almost every sense, the first album is like a time capsule for an idol/band as it grew up, so I feel like I have to strip away the purely fun (“Onedari Daisakusen”) and the Classic Babymetal (“Doki Doki Morning”) from everything “good” to ID what’s more objectively great, and I come away with the no-brainers “Megitsune” (arguably still their best), “IDZ” and “Headbangya!!” I’ll also throw in both Sulos, “Akumu no Rondo” and “Akatsuki,” as personal favorites.

Alex: I can see that. Go on…

Maniac: For this album, the more I listen to it, the more impressed I am with similarly three songs: “Amore,” “Sis.Anger” and “Tales of the Destinies.” I realize that I’m in the vocal minority on “Tales” and I don’t care because its’ better to be right than be popular. But others get it, too – “Amore” is so gorgeous that it might be the literal apotheosis of idol-meets-metal, and “Sis.Anger” is not only peak BLACK BABYMETAL (seriously, read the lyrics), it’s dangerously close to going down as their single most brutal song ever.

Alex: Sis. Anger is undoubtedly their most brutal song to date, it was instant love when I first heard it. Moa and Yui pulled it off greatly. I think it can be at the same level of their previous BLACK BABYMETAL songs. Not better, I still think the old tracks are still more charismatic, but they definitely nailed it here. But again, even “Amore”, one of the most beautiful tracks in METAL RESISTANCE, pales when compared with “Akatsuki”. “Tales of the Destinies”… c’mon bro…

Maniac: You crazy? Those three songs alone beat about half of Babymetal and could be put into any stack-ranking engine with the original Big Three, but then toss in other highlights. “Road of Resistance” has no peer. “The One” might as well become their theme song. “Syncopation” alone trumps almost everything from the original.

Alex: “Syncopation” is life, so I’ll give you that.

Maniac: I’m actually convincing myself more and more: Metal Resistance is a good head taller than Babymetal. Maybe you feel differently because you don’t feel the totality of BLACK BABYMETAL’s presence on the album. So:


Maniac Point: This album is like a coming-out party for BLACK BABYMETAL.

They’re way more involved than they seem. I covered that, anyway, but look: Between the first genuine trio parts since Legend D and big contributions on several other songs, and the fact that they got “Sis.Anger,” easily one of the best songs on the album, I don’t know how BLACK BABYMETAL could have been more included.

Alex: I agree, they rocked the shit out of GJ! and Sis Anger. But otherwise, yes and no. Their vocal contribution was much more relevant before. You know, the “Dame! Dame! Dame!” of Ijime, Dame, Zettai, the “Atatatata zukkyun” of Gimme Choco!!, the genial “Hedoban-ban-ban-ban” of Headbanger: That stuff made those tracks unforgettable and super charismatic, and still fire up the crowd at live shows. It’s the missing ingredient of METAL RESISTANCE. The most relevant thing in here are their chants in KARATE, which work great. They get a lot of space in META TARO, but geez, that track is friggin horrible to me.

Maniac: I agreed with you on META TARO when I reviewed it, and I did until like yesterday. It’s too infectious. It should be inserted into children’s toys and used to indoctrinate the world.

But back to the matter at hand. With what I see as an expanded role and with the really heavy stuff falling to BLACK BABYMETAL, I think this could be heralding a change in the whole idea of what Babymetal’s about.

Alex: Have you been drinking? I can’t imagine what they’re gonna do with their vocals to be honest. I’d just love to hear them more, in a way or another. Some tracks in here barely feature them. Do you mind if I go again?

Maniac: A little bit, you person with weird opinions, but go ahead.


Alex Point: KARATE does the job right, and it’s better than many other tracks in here.

Alex: When KARATE first came out, it was immediately clear that it was a friendly, catchy track to promote the album, and it did the job right. I like Yui and Moa’s chants here, they are relevant and give a proper contribute to the track (same for YAVA!, one of my favorites), something that misses 80% of the times in this record excluding the BLACK BABYMETAL tracks. It’s less technical, less complicated, definitely more “simple”, but it does the job very well and it’s the best track in here when it comes to balance of their voices. It’s nothing outstanding, but clearly one of the few tracks here that screams “BABYMETAL”

Maniac: Is it too late to find another debate partner? I’ll give you that “KARATE” is better than … “Awadama Fever” and “Dusk.” The song honestly bores me. I didn’t care for it when the first fancams popped up after Yokohama, I didn’t like hearing it as the lead single, and while I can concede that the video is boss and the total package in that regard is okay, it’s just so—you say “simple”—I say “safe.” “What’s the most rock radio-friendly song we can get away with?” is basically the formula.

Also, now I know why you have such a bad read on BLACK BABYMETAL; insofar as those two devil children can ever be less than great, “KARATE” is by far my least favorite contribution of theirs pretty much ever. #hottake!

Now I have a good one for you.


Maniac Point: What you dislike about “From Dusk Till Dawn” is one of its few selling points.

I know that I promised in multiple places to treat Metal Resistance as anything other than a Babymetal album, with all of what that entails, but it’s perfectly natural to expect a metal band to have metal in their songs. That being said, if not for those little proto-breakdowns, those little flashes of sonic heaviness, the song wouldn’t have any kind of place on the album. It’s already more at home on a Massive Attack record and—

Alex: I’m not familiar with Massive Attack.

Maniac: How are we talking again? Damn, son. Go look up “Teardrop” and get back to me.

Alex: Maybe later. No, I love this track so much. It seriously gave me the chills when I first heard it. The break could have been fine if it wasn’t for the friggin dubstep. It was so out of place and forced. It was fine in Uki Uki Midnight, but not here. They think it’s trending stuff, but even Skrillex barely makes that stuff anymore.

Maniac: Then we actually have something in common here, I think. Because while, yeah, things are going to happen in the booth, but to digitally alter Su-metal’s voice just for the sake of doing so is a crime against humanity.

Alex: I kinda agree, but it works great with this track. It’s not “that” altered, it’s just adapted to the vibe of the track. Live is gonna be crazy. [Ed. Note: They didn’t play it at Wembley! Probably because it is butt.] [Alex Note: They didn’t play “Tales of the Destinies” either, trollolol]

I think we’re getting to a key point here, and it’s this:


Alex Point: This album really changes according to your perspective

Alex: Despite my review having analyzed several negative aspects, I had no problem in highlighting the good ones, and after all I ended up giving it a positive score, despite not being a high one. Do I think it’s a bad record? Nope. It’s actually a nice one. But I’ve also noticed many different takes on it, with fans loving the fact “they don’t care about genres and try many different things at once” when I just see it as “Ok, there’s a Dragonforce track, a semi-Dream Theater track, a shallow power ballad, and a parody of a Viking march” and so on. From my point of view, it’s sometimes annoyingly sycophantic, like how they are always walking around taking pictures with famous metal people.

Maniac: Wait. You dislike that?

Alex: Not at all, It’s cool until a certain point, but their management brought it too far in my opinion. It’s less “meet your heroes” and more “see, haters, Slayer likes us!” Stop playing to the masses and just play. Of course I’m referring to their management, not the girls.

By the way. BABYMETAL has changed during the last few years, and it’s a natural consequence of the huge global exposure they got and are still getting, which is great. But with the group, the perspective and expectations changed as well, and everyone’s got their own. I personally was expecting an evolution of their sound and identity, something that I found only in “Syncopation” and other two or three tracks. The rest was just standard metal I could hear anywhere else.

Maniac: You know that old saying about giving someone enough rope to hang themselves?

Alex: That’s terrible. So agree to disagree, then?

Maniac: Only if we can agree that “Awadama Fever” is butt.

Alex: I have mixed feelings about it. Everyone keeps telling me it’s way better live. A lot of fans seem to dislike it. It has issues, I think it could have been much better to be honest, but it’s a catchy track overall.

Maniac: Somebody get this man medication.

Alex: If you really feel that strongly, why not say what you did like? What’s your top five?

Maniac: In no particular order, “Amore,” “Syncopation,” “Sis.Anger,” “Tales of the Destinies” and “The One.”

Alex: Not bad. You know I’ll take “From Dusk Till Dawn” all day, and I agree on “Syncopation” and “Amore.” But my BLACK BABYMETAL song is actually “GJ!”, and I’ll take “YAVA!” too, great example of the BABYMETAL sound.

Maniac: Well, at least your opinion there isn’t completely bad.

Alex: If I’ll ever get to write for Metal Hammer, I swear my opinions will be much more positive.

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In conclusion…

Maniac: So what did you think? Yes, Alex is very wrong in his view of Metal Resistance, but that’s okay! We played this little game together specifically because one of us (Maniac) had one set of (good) ideas and one of us (Alex) had (bad) ideas that conflicted with them. Yeah, it’s always me!

Alex: Jokes aside, what are your ideas? Did we give you something to think about? Comment below here, or head on over to Homicidol Maniac’s site and leave your comment there.

Maniac: But the best thing will be how we’ll all get a sense for how a collection of really unique music can be viewed, and we’ll probably all be able to appreciate it more.

Well, except for Alex.

Alex: STAHP IT!

BABYMETAL – METAL RESISTANCE | ALBUM REVIEW

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Release Date: April 1st
Format: CD
Number of Editions (4): Regular Edition (CD only – Japanese and Worldwide), Limited Edition (CD +DVD | Japan only), THE ONE Limited Edition (Fan Club only)


Less BABY, more METAL

They say the second album is always the most difficult one for an artist: The pressure following the success of the original work represents a considerable weight, the audience becomes larger, and there’s a lot of expectations to meet, but most of all, it’s the moment where to set the aim in the right direction and conquer the crowd. In the case of BABYMETAL, this saying is particularly spot-on: The trio that twisted the Idol scene back in 2010 with their blend of Metal and Idol pop, shaking the Japanese market first and the global audience later, is now at the moment of truth, and the world is keeping the eyes on them.

In case you’re wondering, yes, METAL RESISTANCE is a different album from the previous self-titled record, and the direction BABYMETAL took in terms of sound is clear: This album hits hard. It’s relentless, chaotic, monstrously heavy at times, and it does everything possible to please the Metal and mainstream scenes by adopting several trending influences from both worlds.

This drastic measure comes at a price though, and the album is heavily influenced by this approach both in good and bad ways: The positive side, as you would expect, is represented by the impressive musicianship behind it and the great showcase of SU-METAL’s admirable vocal skills. The bad side, is that sometimes this album pushes its pursuit of meeting certain standards too far, leaving behind some elements that made the core sound of BABYMETAL unique and entertaining: Where at first it was pure fun, now it’s almost dead serious. And this unavoidably comes into conflict with their identity in several occasions throughout the album.

The purest Metal tracks in this record like the Dragonforce collaboration Road of Resistance and the epic THE ONE are well done compositions that showcase great technical skills from both the top-notch musicians of the project and SU-METAL’s vocals, and the result is genuinely good, with the celebrative atmosphere of the closing track particularly worth of mention. Still, it’s fair to admit that at the same time these tracks – while enjoyable – are also nothing more than standard Metal compositions, cause they lack that entertaining and enjoyable ingredient that made the band special.

It’s a shadow that lurks permanently in this album, that desperately presses the accelerator ninety percent of the time to show the world out there that this group is no joke, a brutal approach that works well exclusively when put in contrast with the voices of MOA-METAL and YUI-METAL (known as BLACK BABYMETAL) in the tracks GJ! and Sis. Anger, the first featuring distorted guitars and catchy singing, and the latter being the heaviest BABYMETAL track to date, with furious drumming and relentless guitar riffs. In these numbers, the two young girls bring out part of that funny approach that made their pre-global debut tracks entertaining, making the personality the world loved so much briefly stand out again. Excluding these two tracks though, this could almost be considered a solo SU-METAL album, as the role of the two little girls shifted from relevant vocalists (their influence was decisive in memorable tracks like Headbanger, Ijime, Dame, Zettai and Megitsune) to almost non-existent back singers. Skills and powerful sounds are what amuse a metal fan the most, and this album shamelessly seconds that need by leaving behind the fundamental role of “the girls with the cutesy voices”, which is one of the most noticeable issues with this record.

Still, the biggest problem with METAL RESISTANCE is its attempt at pleasing a way too broad audience, and in adopting the influences to second this illogical purpose, it creates inconsistency, and while it successfully satisfies the mainstream scene with the heavy riffs and catchy chants of KARATE, the utterly repetitive Viking-inspired march META TARO tries to imitate the concept of the North European bands that invaded the metal scene with horns and odes to Odin in the last two decades. Again, the record tries to copycat – literally – progressive metal pioneers Dream Theater in Tales of the Destinies: Comparisons between groups are hardly ever good, and it’s undoubtedly natural to be influenced by relevant bands, but hearing the exact same tone of Petrucci’s guitar and the identical synths used by Jordan Rudess on unusual  – for the BABYMETAL standards – endless instrumental sections can’t help but raise a few eyebrows, other than failing at the attempt with an overall messy execution. The totally shallow and forgettable power ballad No Rain, No Rainbow too lacks inspiration and makes no justice to Suzuka’s great vocal skills.

On the other hand, the song that puts the spotlight on SU-METAL, Amore, is one of the high peaks of the record: The singer’s outstanding interpretation flies on a furious but contained base made of melodic riffs, and features what is undoubtedly the most inspired and valid instrumental of the record, with impressive solos by both guitar and bass nestled in a captivating structure. Again, the frontwoman reaches great emotional levels in the electronic-oriented From Dusk Till Dawn, a beautiful atmospheric piece that summons fresh and touching vibes framed by distant high notes, that sadly gets polluted by an unnecessary Metal/Dubstep break that shows once again how this album forcedly tries to be heavy and appealing in any way; Despite this overall minor issue, the track still remains one of the most accomplished works on the record, and a very enjoyable one.

Electronic influences are also the main core of the few tracks that somehow try to summon the classic BABYMETAL sound, but the formula works solely for the Ska-influenced YAVA!, the only number that resembles the former sound of the group with high-pitched synths and punching instrumental breaks despite the still too marginal influence of YUI and MOA, while the relentless Awadama Fever, although bringing intriguing riffs and catchiness, leans too much on the electronic side with a completely lazy structure and overall repetitiveness, failing to create the sufficient appeal to stand out, a misstep not to be taken lightly as it’s based on a formula the group should be familiar with.

All in all, METAL RESISTANCE is an album with few highs, several lows and some average moments, and it suffers from a clear identity crisis: Is it an Idol Metal album? Or a Metal album with a few funny back vocals? Or again, a parody of the Metal/mainstream scene? The group successfully implemented various musical influences in the past, but with this new effort, the impression is that instead of being balanced, these inputs are all thrown together with no logical sense and coupled by a voluntarily exaggerated heaviness that makes this album an almost stressful experience when taken in its entirety. While Amore and From Dusk Till Dawn are outstanding compositions, and the BLACK BABYMETAL tracks along with a few more numbers do the job fine, it’s safe to say that the rest goes from low to barely average quality.

Instead of enhancing the girls’ potential that made the original formula unique, METAL RESISTANCE shamelessly follows the many standards of the Metal and mainstream scenes at the cost of the group’s musical identity, with the disappointing lack of contribute by YUI and MOA and the overly heaviness as the main cause of this misstep. And the fact these girls are now grown-ups with a global success on their shoulders is no excuse to let such an important part of their identity fade away. It’s undeniable that newcomers will find this album enjoyable, that these songs will be a blast to see live at the Wembley Arena thanks to the unquestionable talent of these performers, and that the musicianship behind it is top-notch. Yet, the magic that made BABYMETAL the group it is, partly disappeared in this album to favor standard patterns of music. And considering the unique charisma of this band, it’s a real shame.

Vote: 6.5 / 10


Tracklist

01. Road Of Resistance
02. KARATE
03. Awadama Fever
04. YAVA!
05. Amore
06. Meta Taro
07. From Dusk Till Dawn (“Out of Japan” exclusive)
08. GJ!
09. Sis. Anger
10. No Rain, No Rainbow
11. Tales Of The Destinies
12. THE ONE (English version)

– Alex

BABYMETAL’s kickass Music Video for “KARATE” is exactly what the world needed

Promoting their long awaited second studio album METAL RESISTANCE out on April 1st, Idol Metal trio BABYMETAL released today the Music Video for KARATE, the group’s newest track released just a few weeks ago as digital single. As the first original (non-live) MV in almost three years, I was genuinely excited to finally see this.

First off, the video is clearly on a much higher budget than anything we’ve seen so far from these girls: the quality, the effects, the lights, the overall editing are really light-years away from their previous video releases, as natural consequence of their huge worldwide success that made the group grow impressively in the last few years, and it makes the whole thing very enjoyable to watch.

Conceptually though, the video is pretty standard and doesn’t really represent anything special, but it’s still got its fair share of pretty kickass moments, and overall the girls’ charisma is showcased greatly, in a successful balance that satisfies the hardcore fans while adopting a concept and style more friendly to the global audience they aim at. Yes, it’s kinda missing that japanese touch that made their pre-global debut videography special, but it’s still one heck of a good video that the fans will undoubtedly love. This stuff kicks ass, and that’s all the group needs right now.

BABYMETAL are delivering convincing material and good quality in what is probably the most important moment of their career: The consolidation of their global success. And with the new album and a show at the Wembley Arena coming in just a few weeks, the future for these three girls looks brighter than ever.

– Alex

TOP 5 | The most influential Japanese artists worldwide (2014)

Originally posted on October 19th 2014

In the last years, Japanese Music gained a certain attention worldwide thanks to some artists that have been able to represent their own concepts in a unique and attractive way, stimulating the curiosity of the western markets and bringing them to take in consideration that Japan is still one of the biggest and innovative music markets out there; Not that this huge musical scene was unknown before (we could name lots of artists that gained international success in the past), but thanks to the exposure gave mainly by the Internet, we’ve seen the interest of the global audience rise towards the land of the rising sun.

The main reason behind all of this is obviously the influence of Japanese modern culture hidden in this phenomenon: While the western markets sadly tend to produce standardized acts and music, pretty much every act in Japan puts some personality in its concept, making it accessible but still a little bit unique at the same time. That’s why we think it’s worth to make a list and analyze the most influential Japanese artists of the last years and the impact they had on the global market, between appreciation, weird feelings, and will to discover this apparently far and hidden musical treasure.

Please note that this Top 5 has been listed taking in consideration today’s situation of Japanese music in the world and its most famous (mainly new) artists, created in order of popularity and cultural impact, and not in order of talent.

Let’s take a look!


5. Hatsune Miku- Vocaloid
Image source: Moetron.com

Image source: Moetron.com

More than a real singer or act, we’re talking about a cultural phenomenon that embraced the world like nothing else before.

Since the release of Hatsune Miku, the first add-on of the Character Vocal Series of the Vocaloid software, the world went completely nuts over the little girl with twin-tails and high-pitched voice, even in countries where Japanese music struggles to break through. The inspiration people got from this character and software has been enormous, with fans from all over the world creating music, real vocal covers and bands, anime, manga, cosplay, illustrations, and God knows what else, elevating Miku has one of the most famous icons of Japanese modern culture in the world; Plus, it’s and undeniable fact that many compositions created by young talented artists supported by Miku’s voice are noticeable and worth listening.

Hatsune Miku and Vocaloid have been able to spread various aspects of  Japan’s modern culture to the world like nothing else before, a phenomenon that will be remembered for a long time.


4. X-Japan

X-JAPAN

Whenever you ask a Rock fan out there about a cool Japanese group to follow, most of the times the answer will be “X-Japan”.

Pioneers of J-rock and its sub-genre Visual Kei (one of the most appreciated overseas) this historical band not only gained immense popularity in their homeland during their mighty 32-years career, but also around the world thanks to the great music they’ve composed over the years and their influences tied to western sonorities. Despite being already famous overseas, X-Japan started to perform outside Japan only in 2008, with Worldwide Tours touching both well known countries and others that most Japanese bands have never seen, including several states of North America and Europe, and also Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico, China, South Korea and more. Since their debut on the global stage X-Japan started to perform overseas more and more, seeing their popularity raise to the point where they’ve performed at the historical Madison Square Garden venue in New York: Definitely not something everyone can claim.


3. Ryuichi Sakamoto
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credits: The Telegraph

The one and the only, his majesty Ryuichi Sakamoto.

As if being a member of an historical and internationally successful band like Yellow Magic Orchestra and a pioneer of electronic music wasn’t enough, Sakamoto is also one of the most known Japanese artists worldwide thanks to its brilliant solo career, its huge contribute to modern music, and for its unquestionable talent and endless musical culture that makes this man a real living legend. From being part of YMO to his solo career, Ryuichi Sakamoto is also a film score composer whose works granted him a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and an Oscar for Best Original Score for the movie The Last Emperor, other than a Grammy and a Golden Globe. His solo career isn’t less successful, including historical albums like Thousand Knives and B-2 Unit.

Sakamoto’s talent and innovation comes from his vast vision of music as form of art and in the execution of it, and as an expert of several music influences and genres, he has been and still is an artist of primary importance in the music we hear today.


2. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

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Oh, the bizarre, colorful and unique Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

Produced by well known and talented producer Yasutaka Nakata, Kyary’s first song and global hit PON PON PON had a huge impact on the western part of the world: Thanks to its catchiness, the utterly bizarre music video and her cute but kinda weird look, this girl and her producer have been able to showcase to the world the craziest and most sincere side of the Harajuku culture made of crazy gadgets, colorful clothes, rainbows, skulls, brains, floating eyes, candy bars and many other things the world outside Japan didn’t even know existed. It’s a voluntarily exasperation of one of the most visually extreme sub-cultures of Japan, saw at the eyes of the western market as “weird Japan”, and it’s been a successful move.

While PON PON PON played the part of the temporary phenomenon, Kyary managed to bring her music and career forward with valid music and visually great concepts, factors that granted her constant consideration from international headlines and also great success, with several sold out World Tours proving that she’s way more than a temporary icon that’s going to disappear from one day to another.


1. BABYMETAL

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Funny, isn’t it? The youngest group of the list gets the first spot. And they fully deserve it.

These three little girls did something that’s probably way bigger than them: They broke through a difficult and “inhospitable” genre like Metal, brought a much needed breath of fresh air, introduced metalheads to Japanese idol music, and got even accepted by it: No other Japanese group in the past ever had such a global success and consideration inside a music niche. The secret of BABYMETAL’s success goes beyond the Gimme Choko!!! video: While this viral MV served as decoy, the huge amount of BABYMETAL’s fans around the world got hooked in by three factors, which are the passion and talent these three girls put on stage, Suzuka’s amazing singing, and the extremely skilled musicians playing live with them on stage. All of these factors have one thing in common, also the key behind this impressive global success: Talent.

If there’s one thing that every metal lovers around the world cares about when it comes to music, that’s talent: When you have that, you’ve conquered them, no matter if there are three little cuties from Japan or a brutal death metal singer in front of them. And with Suzuka’s impressive singing (for a 17 years old girl), Yui and Moa’s dance skills and viral excitement, and the Kami Band literally raising up hell on stage with high level performances, the stage and the audience are all for them. No matter how many stubborn metalheads will see them as heretics, until these little girls will tour and show their huge passion and talent to the world, real metal and music lovers will love them.


What are the artists you think deserve to be in this list? Be sure to leave a comment down here with your thoughts!

–  Alex

[LIVE REPORT] BABYMETAL live @ Estragon Club, Italy

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Italy is one of those countries where Japanese culture can claim a huge amount of lovers: from videogames, manga, anime, to food, traditional culture and many other aspects of the fascinating land of the rising sun, thousands and thousands of people are in love and very passionate about countless aspects of the Japanese culture, regularly shown through many expositions and conventions that take place in the “Bel Paese” every year. Still, there is one particular branch of this fascinating culture that always had a hard time to gain attention in Italy, and that’s music; It’s no secret indeed that only few artists from the Japanese music industry include this country in their tour schedules, mainly cause of the complete absence of coverage by media on this particular scene, and while there is people that love several Japanese artists (especially from the visual kei/j-rock scene) it is undeniable that the local number of aficionados is way smaller if compared to other european countries such as France and U.K. But after the successful show ONE OK ROCK held in front of a crazy crowd in Milan last December, there was a sensation floating around that, despite not being visible on the surface, the presence of a contained but very strong fanbase growing underground was starting to take shape. This is maybe what convinced the well known Amuse management agency to bring another group from their rich roster of artists in the boot-shaped country, the one that conquered the entire world in just one year and a half and shaked the entire metal scene: BABYMETAL.

When the italian date at the Estragon Club in Bologna was announced for the BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2015, all the local fans couldn’t believe it: We really felt like it was a miracle to see such a huge Japanese band in our country. But we were also scared… What if people will ignore this unmissable event? What if Suzuka, Moa, Yui and the Kami band will be disappointed? We felt like Italy, a country sometimes too stubborn in terms of new music, wasn’t ready for such a particular yet amazing group. Many thoughts were forming in our minds, in a midst made of happiness and concern, worrying that this show couldn’t have been successful. We couldn’t realize how wrong we were.

The Waiting

So here I am, three months later, walking in this endless road in the middle of nowhere with a fellow BABYMETAL fan and a VIP ticket in the backpack, with the sun burning our necks and the humidity taking our breath away. After fifteen minutes of walking, we can finally see the Estragon Club, basically a warehouse in a not-so-good state: Not really a nice sight, but we try to stay positive. We reach the entrance and there’s already about forty people queueing up for the show, coming from all parts of the world: Japan, Sweden, France, Italy (of course) and many other countries. The weather is impossibly hot, so I spend half the time drinking water and chatting with other nice fans waiting outside, when all of a sudden we can hear the band playing their instruments for the sound check: Mikio and Takayoshi’s guitars cutting the air, BOH’s killer bass and Hideki’s solid drums immediately rise the already stellar hype around the venue, later followed by Suzuka’s powerful and angelic voice that ultimately melted everyone outside: She’s just incredible, and I can already feel the goosebumps on my skin. After an hour or so of sound check where various parts of songs have been played (followed by the fans’ cheerful reactions) I exchange my printed email with the VIP ticket and package, including only a BABYMETAL VIP badge and a small pamphlet, nice gadgets to collect even though the real reason in buying such a pricey ticket is obviously the early access and the first row position, fundamental from my point of view to enjoy this kind of show in the best way.

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Around 6PM the venue’s staff comes out to reform the lines (yeah, it was all useless) and I gather with other fifty people at the secondary entrance of the venue where the owners of VIP tickets will get early access: The clock strikes 6:35, the staff opens the door, and I run immediately at the front row barrier where I get a very nice spot at the front, left side, where I can see everything clearly. Everyone notices immediately the absence of the curtain in front of the stage, as there is way too much light coming from the many windows inside the venue for the opening projection to be seen; Plus, despite looking nicer inside than outside, the venue is crazy hot, even more than the temperature outside. I ask to the kind japanese fan beside me to hold the spot for me, I grab a T-shirt at the merchandise booth and head to the toilet to freshen up a bit… but even the water coming out from the tap was hot. Craziness! I get back to my position with two bottles of waters bought at the bar, and wait for the show to start. The place begins to fill up with fans, and I’m surprised to see the most various crowd I’ve ever seen in a concert: From hardcore metal fans sporting brutal black metal t-shirts, to casual people, Idol fans from various parts of the world, people in their 60s, lots of young girls, and even kids with their parents, the immense variety of people BABYMETAL gathered here today is unbelievable: they transcend every concept, and with mastery and catchiness they unite all kinds of people.  The venue is almost full now, only five minutes are left before the beginning of the show, and the temperature gets way too hot… but even that won’t stop BABYMETAL to deliver the most explosive and funniest show everyone in here have ever seen.

The Show

The well  known choir introducing the opening song starts playing while the narrating voice tells the story of the second world tour of the band, covered by the screams of the excited crowd that waited for the entire day for this magical moment. The Kami Band appears on stage, and people start to lose it as Mikio, Takayoshi, BOH and Hideki walk around the stage with their kitsune signs up and take their instruments ready to raise hell on stage, and in no time the intro BABYMETAL DEATH sets the venue on fire. Here’s when SU-METAL, MOA-METAL and YUI-METAL finally appear on stage, and the feeling of finally seeing them right in front of me is indescribable: I have the biggest of smiles on my face, and I feel happier than ever as they look and perform flawlessly with a professionalism that reaches unbelievable levels considering their young age, also enhanced by their powerful charisma, a fundamental part of BABYMETAL; Each one of the girls has indeed a clear personality that reaches the peak in live shows, with SU looking extremely focused on her singing and fitting the role of “big sister” perfectly, YUI constantly cheering the crowd with her lovely smile, and MOA, the most interactive of the three, looking in the eyes of each fan in the first row with a smile for everyone: This is how you make everyone genuinely love you, and these three girls captured the heart of all the fans that completely invaded the Estragon club, screaming, jumping and going insane in front of such a powerful opening and presence on stage. The first song ends in the midst of screams of joy, and in no time that masterpiece of song that is Megitsune kicks in, and it’s complete madness as everyone jumps and screams to the catchy “Sore! Sore! Sore! Sore!”, and it’s here that I notice the thing that makes BABYMETAL really unique: Their charismatic and perfectly synchronized dancing, the powerful voice of SU coupled by the cute timbre of MOA and YUI, and the killer performance by the monstrously talented members of the Kami Band makes their shows some kind of theatrical experience backed by an impressive wall of sound, a mix of melodies, raw sounds, catchiness and visual excellence:  It’s a unique kind of show, and it’s magical.

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Of course, all of this wouldn’t be possible without the amazing Kami Band, engine of BABYMETAL and outstanding musicians that immediately show the crowd what are they made of as they play a brief but intense instrumental section with each member performing a solo that leads to the brutal and funny Catch me if you can, where the crowd loses control for the millionth time. But it’s not even the beginning, as the interlude dedicated to these amazing musicians, the Mischief of Metal Gods, brings brutal riffs, hammering double bass pedals and melodies where every member shows his top-notch skills, with Mikio and Takayoshi performing solos showcasing various techniques, Hideki bringing down the roof with his drums, and BOH performing his amazing bass solo that leaves me simply speechless. As if their mastery and powerful execution isn’t enough, their presence on stage is amazing too: They constantly joke between themselves and the crowd, and I literally spent half the time “conversing” with them by sticking out the tongue and pointing at them, with them “replying” in the same way, pointing their fingers and thumb ups at me: I was so out of my mind from joy that Takayoshi, that was from the opposite side, somehow noticed me being totally out of my mind and started pointing at me, sticking out his tongue as he always does. They were genuinely having fun on stage, and their reactions made everyone extremely happy, forming the funniest and most joyful atmosphere I’ve ever seen in a concert: Not only outstanding musicians, but amazing guys and entertainers who genuinely have fun in doing what they do. The concert goes on, and the crowd gets crazier the more we get into the show, with memorable moments including a mass “fainting” imitating the girls in the well known DokiDoki Morning bridge, one of the most beloved songs in the BABYMETAL setlist that took place between the two sections described above.

The show reaches the central part, the excitement and the smile on my face keeps me alive from the insane temperature that doesn’t stop me from constantly jumping and singing. The lights are slowly fading now, and it is time for the individual performances by SU and the lovely YUI and MOA (Black Babymetal!) with tracks that split the various moods and vibes of this group between thoughtful compositions and funny jams; That’s when SU comes back on stage alone, between a round of applause and cheers from the excited crowd, to perform the beautifully haunting Akumu no Rondo, a song that exposes her amazing vocal skills and impressive presence on stage greatly, with solid and brutal riffs and hammering drums characterizing the song. Still, despite being an excellent track, it doesn’t reach the level of emotionality and excellence of her second solo performance of the beautiful Akatsuki: With her versatile skills spacing from powerful high notes and delicate singing, backed by an outstanding interpretation, this masterpiece of track is the best showcase of Suzuka’s abilities and a song that literally brings to tears the fans, something reachable only by songs written by amazing musicians and performed by singers who put all their heart in it to convey all the feelings to the heart of the listeners: Absolutely brilliant.

Of course, MOA and YUI aren’t any less amazing: the funny, almost comical 4 no Uta totally conquers the crowd, with every fan waving their hands, singing “Yon Yon!” and hitting  the first row barrier with their fists following the rhythm of the track: It’s pure fun, and the adorable and professionally performed choreography gives the perfect touch to the general craziness that hit the crowd like a wave as the two girls walked on stage. Same can be said for the always cool Onedari Daisakusen, where in the middle of the song I noticed on my right two kids (ten years old maybe?) dancing and screaming of joy: It was amazing to see such young kids enjoying this show exactly as fans way older than them, and convinced me once and for all that BABYMETAL are really a unique group with a various yet equally passionated fanbase. How could it be different when you see two fifteen years old girls performing with such a great professionalism, and a seventeen years old singer being one of the best female voices of the metal scene?

After this great individual showcase of the girls’ skills, the lights fade once again, and a video starts playing on a screen on the right side of the venue: Everyone immediately understands it’s that time and start calling for the Wall of Death, because Road of Resistance is about to bring the down the roof of the Estragon club: The girls come back on stage with their flags and get ready to unleash hell, SU makes a gesture with her hands, but the crowd in the back is already divided: Everything is ready, the song kicks in, and it’s pure madness, as I take a look behind me and see lots of people moshing and running in circle like crazy. The track sounds powerful and even better live, and the interaction with the crowd during the bridge chorus is simply amazing, with everyone participating in a huge wall of sound composed by the voices of the entire venue, while the girls scream “Come on Italy!”: It’s a memorable moment and one of best memories all the fans will bring back home from this amazing night, which is sadly coming closer to the end, but with an atmosphere that just won’t stop getting better and better, reaching stellar levels with the following Gimme Choko!!, the viral hit that made BABYMETAL the huge global act it is today that makes the Estragon go completely nuts as most of the fans in the venue can consider this the track that made them discover the group. The song ends, the crowd can’t stop screaming, and everyone is cheering the girls as they look at them heading to the backstage after the lovely and already classic “See you!”.

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There’s a brief and well deserved break now, but i don’t even get the time to take my breathe back that everyone starts chanting “BABYMETAL!” and clapping their hands, asking for the encore: After a few minutes, the Kami Band followed by the girls finally comes back on stage to perform the last two songs of the show: First, the iconic track Headbanger!, an amazing piece that’s a real punch in the face when seen it performed right in front of you (in a good way of course) followed by a classic, probably the most acclaimed track and anthem of the group, that masterpiece of song that is Ijime, Dame, Zettai, a composition that’s already incredible when listened in its studio version that ultimately reaches stellar levels when performed live: The execution of the Kami Band is perfect and enhanced by the touch of musicians who can perform a song flawlessly and give it a refreshing feeling at the same time, SU’s vocal performance is powerful and on point as usual, while MOA and YUI deliver one of most amazing choreographies of their setlist with lots of energy, dancing with impressive synchronization: Every moment in this last track is gold, from the melodies, to Suzuka’s vocal extension, the iconic fight between YUI and MOA and the amazing guitar solo that’s pure joy for the ears. No one wants this concert to end, yet the song reaches its last note and in the midst of the Kami Band taking the best out of their instruments, we scream to the final “We are, BABYMETAL!” several times: we try to express all our love and thankfulness with these last words, because we still can’t completely realize what we have just experienced as we are overwhelmed by joy. The girls give their last adorable salute in italian to the crowd and leave the stage with a smile on their face and the expression of someone who gave 100% of its energies, the same expression on the faces of the Kami Band members that get closer to the stage to give their picks and drum sticks to the fans before going to the backstage: The show is over, but the excitement for what happened this night just won’t disappear.

A unique experience for a unique band

The full packed Estragon Club slowly starts to get empty, I take a couple of pictures with some fans that were near me in the first row, and take a look at the merchandise booth as I walk outside the venue: There was nothing left, the fans bought all the T-shirts and left the table completely empty, as everyone wanted a souvenir from this unforgettable night. And who wasn’t a fan, but just curious to see what BABYMETAL were all about, well, now it’s definitely a lover of these three girls and their amazing band.

I walk outside the club, gather up with some fellow italian fans and frantically start to recount all the most amazing moments of the concert (it seems like the venue had the best sound of the European leg) we get interviewed by one of the BABYMETAL staff members where we show all of our excitement and laugh at our uncontainable excitement. It’s a feeling of joy that will live inside us for a long time, because in all honestly, this was one of the best, and definitely the most entertaining concert I’ve ever attended. When you see three girls and their band giving 100% of their energy to deliver a killer performance despite the impossible temperature and the rush due to their next show that will start in barely 16 hours in Austria, the great interaction with their fans, all the fun they had, and the genuine smile on their faces from the beginning to the end of the show, you can only feel good, because their joy of performing became our joy to see them: It’s a stream of emotions delivered from the band to the fans, and only the best and most genuine artists in the world of music can achieve this.

I hug all the wonderful friends I had the pleasure to meet during the day and promise to ourselves to meet again. As I walk away from the venue, I feel like BABYMETAL left a special and precious feeling inside me that I will never forget… something that only a special band can give you. Simply unique.

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A big, huge thank you to all the amazing BABYMETAL fans I had the pleasure to know at this show: You guys rock!

BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2015 live @ Estragon Club, Bologna (Italy)

Setlist:

01. BABYMETAL DEATH
02. Megitsune
03. Catch Me If You Can (w/ Kami Band instrumental intro)
04. Doki DokiMorning
05. Mischief of Metal Gods (Kami Band Performance)
06. Akumu no Rondo
07. 4 no Uta
08. Akatsuki
10. Onedari Daisakusen
11. Road of Resistance
12. Gimme Choco!!
– ENCORE
13. Headbanger!!
14. Ijime, Dame, Zettai

– Alex

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