BABYMETAL – 'Metal Galaxy' Album Review
1. FUTURE METAL
2. DA DA DANCE (feat Tak Matsumoto)
3. Elevator Girl (English Ver)
4. Shanti Shanti Shanti
5. Oh! MAJINAI (feat Joakim Broden)
6. Brand New Day (feat Tim Henson and Scott LePage)
7. Night Night Burn!
8. IN THE NAME OF
9. Distortion (feat Alissa White-Gluz)
10. PA PA YA!! (feat F.HERO)
BABYMETAL were a band that I had heard of long before I listened to their music. I was aware that they existed when their first album came out, but I hadn’t listened to it or given them any further thought. In fact, it wasn’t until Rob Zombie came out in 2016 to say how great they were that I paid any attention to them whatsoever. But then I was intrigued, so I listened to their second album (the latest at the time), and I flat out loved it. In fact, it was one of my top albums of that year.
I never got on with their debut quite as well though – for me, it was an album of some great highs and some uninteresting lows, whereas 'Metal Resistance' (their second album) is a superb album from start to finish. So I was interested in listening to this, their third full-length studio album, which is also their first as a duo, due to one of the three singers leaving last year. Would it be as good as their amazing second album?
Sadly, the answer’s no. But that’s not to say it’s a bad album – far from it. It has the variety, the tunes and the flat out weirdness that you’d expect from a BABYMETAL album, and that can only be a good thing.
Starting with a track that is designed to be atmospheric, but just felt a little boring ('FUTURE METAL'), I was worried that this album would be short on songs that were, as the kids say, absolute bangers. Luckily, this worry was offset after two minutes when track two 'DA DA DANCE' kicked in, and just like that, we were off and running.
The performances and production on this album are as great as you would expect. This is a polished product and no mistake, but it works beautifully for the songs that are here – none of these are songs where you want stripped back production or a raw feel. More often than not, they are throwing twenty ideas at you in the space of three minutes, and it works because it is all so stylish that you just let it wash over you.
In fact, the let-downs on this album for me are the songs where they are almost too sensible. “Brand New Day” is a good example, sounding like a perfectly serviceable song, but it could belong to any one of a number of Metal bands instead of being a particularly “BABYMETAL” track in itself. And while the tribal feel of 'IN THE NAME OF' is great, the rest of the song is… well… it’s boring.
But these let downs are few and far between. In fact, the album has way more strong moments than weak. I’ve already talked about the high energy brilliance of 'DA DA DANCE!' and 'Elevator Girl' provides a great next track to that, keeping the insanity going.
'Shanti Shanti Shanti' and 'Oh! MAJINAI' are two more insane slices of BABYMETAL genius, with one being a Techno-Metal-Bollywood song and the other sounding like an unholy mix of Irish Folk music and Slipknot.
But for me, the absolute stand out tracks appear at the end of the album, with the last four songs all absolute classics. 'Kagerou' is great – slower, but still brilliantly BABYMETAL. 'Starlight' has so many riffs it struggles to contain them all, and feels like an entire album in one song, 'Shine' is a chunky groove of a song, and 'Arkadia' finishes the album off by hurtling towards its climax with riffs and solos galore and a chord sequence that is scientifically proven to put a smile on your face.
In short, this album is very much a good time. I doubt it’s going to convert any non-BABYMETAL listeners into being fans, but for those of us who were already fans, it will make you very happy indeed. In my eyes it’s not their best album, but it’s certainly their second best, and I can guarantee that it’s going to get many more plays on my stereo – especially when I need to be pumped full of energy!
Website - www.babymetal.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BABYMETAL.jp/
Review - Michael Braunton