Saturday, 14 May 2016

BABYMETAL "Babymetal" (2014)

Back in 2014 Babymetal's debut didn't make much of an impression on me due to its apparent and unapologetic gimmick, however "Metal Resistance" won me over! Gimmicks aside its the music that counts and Babymetal's fusion of Metal and J-Pop, fronted by a trio of girls, is fresh and exciting. I'm glad I didn't listen to this one until now as I'm sure my perceived flaws with this project would of become an inflated critique in the face of fun music that shouldn't be taken to seriously. Unlike their sophomore record Babymetal is far more varied, experimental and a little garish with its electronic aspects. Starting with production it is once again a compression fest of forceful, volume oriented modern aesthetics which on occasions can be daunting in its intensity, the kick is especially crisp, clicky and heavy in the mix. Much the same can be said of all instruments in the mix and in moment's it gets a little crowded yet remains clear. Some of the trance synths used in tracks can also be overwhelming. My experience is that this once surprisingly doesn't suit high volumes.

Aesthetics aside we have a collection of wildly energetic and varied tracks that continually mix and mash styles with a ruthless "anything goes" attitude. Between the records more typical metal tracks all sorts of musical sounds and genres can be heard. Mostly its entertaining, fun and vibrant but its rigid and choppy composition between styles leaves food for thought on what is reminiscent of IGORRR's "internet age" of music where any styles and genres can be mashed up given the widespread availability of online music and information at the touch of your fingers. For me it was the main talking point of this record.

It starts with "Inie!" introducing glitzy fast paced trance synths culminating in dance tunes with pumping bass kicks and coin arcade sounds. It switches up into some form of Rap with what I can only describe as a cheesy "bling bling" Hip Hop beat. Of course it then drops into howling death with demonic screams and evil, shrill guitars. "Doki Doki" picks it back up by mashing slamming Nu Metal grooves with chirpy upbeat sunshine pop and glittery synths. "Onedari Daisakusen" sounds to me like it could of come out of the Limp Bizkit catalog, minus the quirks of Babymetal's aesthetics, this has all the makings of Freds little catchy raps and Wes Borlands dynamic grooves complete with build to a breakdown moment where things get heavy. No to mention it also includes a sample of Fred from "My Generation"... now that I think about it, its got a nearly identical build up to the sample. "Song 4" brings some laid back, beachy Reggae dub sounds and "Uki Uki" goes full Skrillex with base wobbles and a noise eccentric breakdown. I'm not criticizing any of it, I enjoy it greatly but its interchanging rigidity and entertainment value leaves little in the way of emotionally charged or moving music. This record does however have much more versatility and I'm hoping in the future they can utilize that with a little more inspiration and emotion.

Favorite Track: Babymetal Death, Gimme Chocolate!!
Rating: 6/10