Christ on a skateboard, all those murmurings and hopeful smatterings between troglodyte metal gatekeepers about Babymetal fading into obscurity after ‘Gimme Chocolate‘ must be having them angry to the point of foaming maddening, given that that they’re still going after album number three. Much like Ghost, it would appear Babymetal have been poster children of some made up spewing hatred towards those who want to keep Metal ‘pure’, like the worlds most laughable Death Eaters.
So if you’re hoping this review will have me getting angry to the point of tears that Babymetal are still a thing, you clearly don’t understand my review process, and to be fair neither do I or the rest of the In Key Staff (I can vouch for that – Ever Perplexed Editor). You see what I like in my music is something that keeps me interested for however long an album lasts, without me longing to throw myself into the arms of Captain Morgan.
Babymetal’s new opus ‘Metal Galaxy‘, while nothing to write home about, still achieves what the trio of cute cherubs that make me broody to the point of kidnapping three orphans of my own and force them into the metal lifestyle, complete with adorable choreography set out to do. It’s a fourteen track tour of the various and often fun Metal genre’s that are to offer, mixed with catchy and addictive Pop hooks, whilst making the whole experience not so jarring to listen to.
After its scene setting intro of ‘Future Metal‘, in which I must ask myself, how many more times can I describe an intro, we are taken to the hyperactive, almost anime epic of ‘Da Da Dance‘ and if you’ve listened to Babymetal before, you kind of know what to expect and really this is the whole precedent of the album. It’s widdly guitars alongside crashing drama’s all backed up with pop synths and this is pretty much what you get with ‘Da Da Dance’ and the album’s first single ‘Elevator Girl‘ also, it’s fun enough to bop along to and it won’t offend your ears.
However, it wouldn’t be a Babymetal album without something random thrown in to catch you off guard and has you chortling to yourself and that comes with ‘Shanti Shanti Shanti‘, an unapologetic, unashamed Middle Eastern themed tune that I would happily pay a stripper to belly dance to, just for the “f***ing lols” as the cool kids would say.
Then there’s ‘Oh! MANJINAI‘ how do I describe this song? It’s a Pirate-Punk inspired tune reminiscent of bands such Turisas or Alestorm, that will have you belting its infectious backing singing, with a pint of ale in one hand and your child’s fake plastic sword in the other. It should also be mentioned Joakim Broden of Sabaton makes and guest appearance in this track also, further legitimising this wonderful track and Babymetal as an established Metal act.
To it’s strength, there are so many guest appearances on this album without any hinderance to the overall gravitas, more that it adds to it. Everyone on this album sounds like they are having a lot of fun and I think this why so many dull metal gatekeepers hate on Babymetal so much. It’s fun and it doesn’t take itself seriously. How can you be so uptight about it? They’re three young adults dancing to Metal-Pop music!
My only bugbear with ‘Metal Universe’ is that it doesn’t go deep enough into its genre exploration compared to their previous two studio efforts. After those initial first five songs, some of the material, while great to listen to, is standard affair for anyone who has listened to a Babymetal album. ‘Night Night Burn‘ has those same widdly guitars, distinctive flavourings only found in J-Rock and hyper synths that made the band its bread and butter and the same goes for ‘Distortion‘ and ‘PA PA YA!!‘. It’s nothing offensive but it’s treading similar ground and blends easily to background noise, which isn’t good for a band that are all about flamboyance and exuberance.
Babymetal are doing their best to fight out of their novelty status and it’s about time the rest of the metal community gets on board or just simply shut the everlasting fuck up. At the end of the day ‘Metal Universe‘ shows Babymetal as the fun distraction from all the doom and gloom of this wicked world, just as they were designed to be and there is nothing wrong with that.
There are still some fantastic moments on this album you can’t help but jump about to like a loon and you can bet this album won’t hurt their ticket sales one bit and will still p**s off “real metal fans” across the globe. Everyone wins in this case, minus the trolls and orphans I will ask Madonna to kidnap (Nick, it would appear that you have gone back to the arms of Captain Morgan before even finishing this review. See me in my office – Concerned Editor). However, Babymetal face a unique crossroads, either keep up with the deep genre dives and make it work or stick to one sound and become lost in the slurry of similar sounding bands.
It’s a scary choice to make.