A 2017 YouTube video aptly named "Celebs React to BABYMETAL" might be the quickest method to catch the uninitiated up on the craze of BABYMETAL.
Regina Hall, an actress, states, "I've never heard Japanese heavy metal."
Aisha Tyler, a comedian, adds, "So cute and sooo scary."
Paul Scheer, a comedian, wonders aloud, "Am I going to die after seeing this video?" "This is the finest nightmare I've ever seen" and "They're going to murder me, these women are going to kill me."
Suzuka Nakamoto, nicknamed Su-metal, is 21 years old, while Moa Kikuchi, called Moametal, is 20 years old, and Yui Mizuno, aka Yuimetal, is 20 years old. The girls dance in tutus throughout the video collection while a masked band plays in the background. They harmonise to an extraordinarily fast pace while performing coordinated arm gestures. They rap in Kanye glasses and neon rave gear. They fly over a sold-out stadium, complete with gigantic, smoking fox heads protruding from the stage. They also yell. Quite a bit.
Have you been summoned by the Fox God?
Those foxes play an important role in the band's performance and mythology, and their third album, "METAL GALAXY," will be released on October 11, 2019. "In 2010, the Fox God called BABYMETAL to spread'metal resistance,'" Su-Metal and Moametal write in an email (former Morning Musume member Riho Sayashi joined the remaining duo onstage twice this year, but has not officially replaced Yuimetal who departed in 2018). "BABYMETAL" is a term that refers to the birth of new metal.
BABYMETAL isn't your ordinary band, as you've probably figured out by now. While the Fox God is credited as the group's mystery founder, for all intents and purposes, fans may thank producer Key "Kobametal" Kobayashi for bringing them to life. BABYMETAL was originally formed by Kobayashi as a sub-group of Sakura Gakuin, a successful pop lineup. The objective was to combine Kobayashi's appealing pop flavour with a taste of a genre he has long admired.
In a 2014 interview with Metal Hammer, he observed, "Metal is only getting older and older, and the scene isn't getting bigger." "BABYMETAL was born out of my desire to create something unique, something that no one had done before. The concept literally fell from the sky."
While the group's attention has always been on the core performers ("Su-Metal is dance and voice, and Moametal is scream and dance," remark Su-Metal and Moametal through email), BABYMETAL's distinct sound is largely owing to the instrumentalists' talent. The Kami Band provides the face-melting guitar, bass, and drums that accompany the singing and dancing. Although the lineup has varied over the years (longtime guitarist Fujioka Mikio passed away in 2018), the band's influence can be heard on songs like "MEGITSUNE," "KARATE," and "PA PA YA!!."
But it was in 2014 that BABYMETAL made a name for themselves, with the release of their self-titled first album and, most famously, the hit "Gimme Chocolate!!" The song, which has over 17 million Spotify plays and approximately 108 million YouTube video views, officially introduced the world to BABYMETAL's distinct sound. "Our music is a combination of metal and kawaii, which in Japanese music means 'cute,' and we believe BABYMETAL music is a genre in and of itself," the members explain. "Because our music is so diverse, everyone learns about us from different sources," the band explains. "A lot of people found out about us because of 'Gimme Chocolate!!'" says the author.
In the nine years since their debut, BABYMETAL has won admiration and honours, as well as their fair share of criticism. After some critics branded them "the definition of a gimmick" and "metal for hipsters," KORN frontman Jonathan Davis defended them in 2017.
Before taking on the critics, he stated, "It's just entertaining as heck." "It's just people who are closed-minded. I mean, on both sides, there are purist metal fans who are passionate about their music and demand that it be done in a certain way. And then there are those who are simply... It's music, and if you enjoy it, you will continue to enjoy it. What does it matter? It's not a big deal if you enjoy something like that. Relax and take it easy."
A fervent following
Those who have no intention of slowing down: BABYMETAL's fervent supporters. Some may have first seen the trio during their globe tour in 2014, while others may have seen them as Lady Gaga's opening act in the same year. Since then, the band has opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, and Guns N' Roses, and they're currently selling out venues around the country, including San Francisco's The Warfield, which seats 2,300 people.
"I'd describe our shows as pretty intense," the members of the band said. "Fans mosh and form a wall of death during our shows, and it's all very intense in a good way. Another unusual aspect of our show is that all of our fans, whether Japanese or non-Japanese, memorise and sing along with our Japanese lyrics. They've even memorised our adorable dance routine, and we appreciate all of their kind words!"
BABYMETAL announced their third album on Twitter in April and followed it up with the single "Elevator Girl" a month later. The girls and their team are ending up their U.S. tour dates and heading off on a new chapter in their unique and genre-defying voyage after performing gigs all over the world, including England's Glastonbury Festival in June. "On October 11th, our third album, METAL GALAXY, will be released, and we will continue our METAL GALAXY voyage in Europe and Asia," Su-Metal and Moametal explain.