Whether you discovered them at their very beginning, last year with their featuring on Bring Me The Horizon's "Kingslayer" or they are still unknown to you, BABYMETAL is undeniably a band that has breathed a bit of freshness into the global metal sphere. Sometimes controversial but often idolized, Babymetals are the base of kawaii metal!
BABYMETAL has already 10 years of career to their credit. This group from Tokyo is the reference of kawaii metal (or idol metal, cute metal, kawaiicore...) : J-Pop and heavy metal meet there for a sour mix. The style is also very visual as highlighted by the extravagant outfits of the band.
Formed in 2010, BABYMETAL consists of the Japanese idols Su-metal (Suzuki Nakamoto), Moametal (Moa Kikuchi), Yuimetal (Yui Mizano, 2010-2018) and Riho Sayashi (2019- ). Now aged 22 and 23, the girls started very young.
The group will mix heavy metal and Japanese culture, especially all that is "kawaii" that is to say "cute". For example, they have their own headbang: you don't shake your head up and down but from left to right ... this is "baby headbanging"! They also reinterpret the sign of the horns made with the hand: to them, the sign reminded them of the Chinese shadow fox. Thus, this sign has become the one of the Fox God whose all Babymetal concerts are under his protection. Also, Babymetal fans are called mosh'sh mates, mosh pit buddies.
"ヘドバンギャー！！"/"Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!!!" from 2012 features these two signs in Babymetal sauce:
Initially, the three young girls had no knowledge of metal (to the point that they did not even know the name of it). It was their agency Amuse Inc that pushed them in this direction. So Suzuka, Moa and Yui learned about the genre and listened to it.
"At first it scared us but, in fact, it's very rhythmic music. So we thought it sounded a lot of fun and it made us want to do it," Su-metal explained on Tracks in 2014.
Indeed, before, nothing predestined them to become metal icons. They followed a course to prepare them for the role of idol, that is to say pop star singer/dancer/model. As a result, they were part of school girl bands (Sakura Gakuin) until they were 15 years old. Moa and Yui were also part of the Twinklestars and Mini-Patissier bands.
However, the trio is breaking away from J-pop for metal. They will admit having become a fan of Metallica and even of Cannibal Corpse over the years!
The band experiences rapid ascent. With "ギミチョコ！！"/"Gimme chocolate!!" in 2014, Babymetal buzzed! This is the music that propels them on the international scene!
Check out the song:
At that time, the band was not unanimous at all. I remember that the Babymetal fans in France were rather badly perceived. "It's shit sung in playback by uneducated kids pushed by crooked producers and listened to either by kids or by vicious old people": this comment is 6 years old but it does reveal the stigma at this time.
Also in 2014, their eponymous debut album Babymetal was released. It ranks # 1 in the "Rock/Metal Album" charts on iTunes in Japan, Canada, UK and US. He will also remain for several weeks in 4th place in the weekly ranking of the Oricon. In March, they are the youngest artists to perform at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. They are then 14 and 15 years old. On July 1, Babymetal performs its first European concert at La Cigale in Paris. The girls then do tour dates after tour dates. They will play alongside Judas Priest, Linkin Park or Slipknot and will be the opening act of a Lady Gaga tour.
In 2015, all members are finally 15 years old. The band finally becomes completely independent from the starting band Sakura Gakuin. In June, they won the Spirit of Independence Award at the Kerrang! Awards and the Breakthrough Award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award. In August, they are the youngest artists to perform on the main stage of the Reading and Leeds festival.
In 2016, their 2nd album Metal Resistance was released. The titles "Karate" or "The One" can be found on it. They continue on a world tour. In December, they are opening act for Red Hot Chili Peppers during their English tour. As time goes by, they notice that, even if they are only in the first part, more and more people wear t-shirts with their effigy.
In 2017, Babymetal opened for Metallica in South Korea. They had already met in 2013 during the Summer Sonic Festival in Tokyo. The trio must have been in heaven because Metallica is their favorite band, the one that introduced them into metal music!
Go find their performance at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.
They will also open for Guns n'Roses during their Asian tour. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, very happy with Babymetal's performance, call on them again for the first part of their American tour.
2018 is a little less happy year. This is the final departure of Yuimetal (who will be replaced a year later by Riho Sayashi, also an idol and ex-Morning Musume). And guitarist Fujioka "Ko-Gami" Mikio unfortunately passes away. The group is very touched by his disappearance and pays tribute to him with the title "Starlight":
In 2019, their 3rd (and possibly the last) album, Metal Galaxy, is released. "Starlight" is part of it like "Shanti Shanti Shanti", a title with an Indian vibe, or "PA PA YA!!" with thai rapper F.HERO.
However, this year could be the end of BABYMETAL. The band reportedly made the following mysterious statement:
"Sunday, October 10, 2021... With the end of 10 episodes of Metal Resistance, the 10-year-old legend will be sealed. As long as this seal is not broken, Babymetal will disappear. Hurry up. There is no eternity for the offspring of God."
Only the Fox God knows what the future holds for them and us. While waiting to find out more, the band is about to release a live blu-ray and DVD album of 10 BABYMETAL YEARS on September 29, 2021. Stay tuned!
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