Personnel: Su-Metal (vocals, dancer); Maometal, Yuimetal (dancer).
It's tempting to give BABYMETAL's debut album BABYMETAL a full five-star rating. Or ten star. Or all the stars. Not only does the album create a totally new genre, it defines it and also ends it at the same time. The band's producer Kobametal says the name came to him in a revelation, but it would be interesting to see where the idea to mix super-girly J-pop and riff-heavy heavy metal into an unholy blend of frothing cuteness came from. These are two styles that never in a million years should have been Frankensteined together...the girls' ultra sweet and innocent vocals juxtaposed with cookie monster growling is batty, the pummeling beats that underpin the bubblegummy radio pop melodies are nuts, and the occasional hip-hop interludes, drum'n'bass bits, and dubstep breaks really push it into wackyland. The record really shouldn't work at all, and BABYMETAL should just be a total joke that is funny the first time someone sends you a link to one of their videos, but quickly loses its appeal. Somehow it does work, though; maybe it's the sheer audacity of it all that elevates the album past joke status and close to genius. The insanely catchy songs help in the making-it-work department, too. Whatever the magical quality Kobametal sprinkles liberally over the mix, he's clearly tapped into the same kind of cosmic, comic stream of unconsciousness that made Andrew W.K.'s first album so brilliant. It's clearly not an album for metalheads who like to follow the clear definitions of what makes metal metal, or one for J-pop fans who are scared of huge guitar riffs. But those who don't really care about rules and just want to jump around like idiots to the brightest, silliest music imaginable will find exactly what they never dreamed about asking for in BABYMETAL's brilliant debut. ~ Tim Sendra