I’ve been looking forward to a second BABYMETAL album since hearing the first one, but I was unsure if I’d ever get to hear one. Japan is a strange beast when it comes to musical acts. I wasn’t sure if the band would be around long enough, as the girls may “graduate” from the group, perhaps it’s a whole new set of girls, there were a lot of possibilities I wondered about. But luckily it was all me freaking out and the second album is a real thing, released on April Fools no less.
So here’s my first album review, we’ll do it by track.
01. Road to Resistance
This song has been around for a while, even longer than the single ‘Karate’, which we’ll get to. I’m surprised this song was on the album, I did not expect this song to be put on it. Right away you can hear the Dragonforce addition to this track and it creates a much different style than we’re used to hear with BABYMETAL, there’s no extra gimmick to this song, it’s a straight-forward speedy melodic metal track. Even Su-metal’s vocals are set up similar to how Dragonforce songs are song. The only thing I don’t like about this song is that the pre-chorus sounds a bit rushed, lyrically, like they’re trying to fit too many words in so little time. I’ve actually tried to play this song due to fan-generated Rocksmith content, minus the crazy solos the song is actually super fun to play, I love the chord progression of this song. Also, the clear Dragonforce “Whoa-oh-oh-ohhhhhh!” is sung is this song as well, which never gets old honestly.
I’m absolutely fucking addicted to this track. Ever since the single was released I’ve been listening to it non-stop, this song got me super hyped for the new album. The opening riff is badass, I still need to figure it out myself, want to play it so badly. Then the song devolves into the usual routine, cheesy verse with Moa and Yui and then Su just takes it over. Her pre-chorus and chorus vocals in this song are off the charts tremendous, it’s badass and beautiful at the same time, it’s mind-blowing for me that something so beautiful can also be so badass. Another thing that’s really incredible about this song is just how well the drums really pound this song into your head, particularly in the opening riff and chorus. Finishing near the end with that softer part, this song really comes off like a legitimate heavy metal track you might actually hear on the radio. Honestly if this song wasn’t in Japanese, I’d expect to hear this on the radio and if it were up to me I’d have this on the radio regardless. An incredible track, my favourite one on this album without question.
03. Awadama Fever
Hello crazy techno intro. This song is super happy for a track with such a tough, scratching guitar track. I could see a song like this being edited down to 90 seconds for an anime intro, it’s happy enough that it could work in spades for a show. I’m a little disappointed in this track with how none of the instruments are really easy to hear, it’s all meshed together into this techno-ish track, over-edited a bit to match the style they were probably going for in this song. This song though really lets Moa and Yui get their stuff in a little more and it works wonders vocally. It’s really the music that bugs me on this track.
Holy crap I thought I was about to face a final boss listening to that intro. This is a much better sounding track with techno influence, the guitar in the verse has a rough ska feeling to it as well, which is double awesome. They let the instruments sound much clearer in this track, which works wonders compared to the previous track. The drum track in the chorus is perfect, makes it feel even faster than the song actually is, it’s a lot slower than it sounds but the drums really hammer it home. My favourite is definitely the synthesizer sections in the track, they really give the song its own charm here.
Time for a slower track, something more similar to Ijime, Dame, Zettai…or at least that’s what I thought. Then the dueling guitar solos start and holy shit I’m way into this track. This song actually sounds a lot more like a mixture of Ijime, Dame, Zettai and Akatsuki, a bit of the softer stuff but then going right back into the faster, harder section. Also, holy shit that bass solo! This song is full of great soloing sections, a guitarist’s paradise to say the least. Just kick back and listen to your wrists getting sore from the craziness of the guitars in this song.
06. Meta Taro
I thought Anamanaguchi was about to play a track for us instead. The transition between that 8-bit intro and the actual song is so odd that I’m not even sure whether I like it because it’s such a weird transition, or if I’m actually weirded out by this choice. We went from Anamanaguchi to Van Canto or something like Nightwish without warning in this track, it’s definitely a weird amalgamation of musical styles. My ears were not prepared for this track. AND THIS ISN’T MY FIRST TIME LISTENING TO BABYMETAL, HOW DID THEY DO THIS?!!!
07. From Dusk Till Dawn
Right off the bat, this song does tell me they’re trying to commercialize the band a little more, likely due to their viral success overseas in North America and Europe. This track sounds a lot like your standard emo metal music that you’d hear in a Hot Topic or something. This is a BABYMETAL track that actually sounds like something and not its own, I’m not sure whether to be disappointed that it’s not overly weird or happy with them because they’re making an effort to gain real traction worldwide. There’s more to the song though, get that little bit of dubstep mix in there like Uki Uki ★ Midnight did on their last album, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as that track was with it.
I imagine this song will be an opening track for a lot of their shows, they can use that intro riff and extend it as long as they want to get the crowd ramped up for the girls’ arrival. The song also is a great introduction of what the band is, a bit of everything you expect from BABYMETAL, the heavy rift, the cheesy talking verses (which they’ll probably have really silly dances to), the silly sound effects added in like the cartoon doink at the 2-minute mark. Now that I think about it, this might actually be a song where Su isn’t the center focus of the track, it sounds like Yui and Moa are getting the majority of the work in this track.
09. Sis. Anger
There’s clearly a lot of Western influences throughout this album, I feel like this song has a lot of Slipknot influence to it, of course getting the ever-so-awesome BABYMETAL treatment put over it. The chorus is creepy as fuck too, it sounds like a happy death march, a set of three words you didn’t think would work together. If there’s anything I can criticize about this track is the lack of melody with the vocals, it’s not that great with BABYMETAL having the same small range of vocals with these girls. The track is still badass, but I would’ve liked a little more of that Su-metal vocal flair to it.
10. No Rain, No Rainbow
Awww shit, now we’re breaking out the piano. It’s like a cheesy romantic track, only in Japan can you have that on an album with this much speed metal and have the double bass going on in the background with the piano. The song keeps ramping up, adding in the guitars and some violins. Now that I think about it, it comes off a lot like a Queen track, that’s really awesome now that I think about it. Anything with Queen having to do with it is going to be a soft spot for me. Nice slower guitar solos as well, which are always great (and not just because I might be able to play them) to me.
11. Tales of the Destinies
Wow, the mixture of progressive metal influences in this song. Let me rattle off a few names just to give you an idea of how many different acts I heard in this song. Dream Theater with those beautiful synths, Opeth with the soft, yet super heavy riffs, Between the Buried and Me with the very quick and sometimes silly guitar melodies. That’s just three acts that I heard within the first 30 seconds. This song might as well be called “Tales of Prog Metal”. Though as the song drags on longer, the Dream Theater influence becomes the shining majority, the cheesy wild west piano, the synths, the Mike Portnoy classic drum beats, yeah I could see this being on one of their albums. This is song is so awesome, it’s a shame that KARATE is so good because I’d love to show this track to people first, but KARATE’s just gotta be that first track.
12. THE ONE (English Version)
Where was this song released in Japanese? I haven’t heard it before. Upon research, turns out this track is in Japanese if you buy it in Japan. That’s bullshit, why not release them both? The song was the second single put up on their YouTube channel which was badass, though the song is a little weird to me, mainly because since I hear it all in English, it ruins the experience of not knowing if the song is repeating itself constantly with its lyrics. Having the song in full English ruins that experience, since I can understand the lyrics being sung. However, Su-metal’s English is actually really good, she doesn’t have the usual funny syllables that Japanese singers always struggle with, she’s clear 95% of the time, a few syllable transitions she doesn’t quite get out fluently, but it’s still great nonetheless. This track is also coming with a lot of Dream Theater influence I think. The main problem with this song, Yui and Moa are barely present at all in this song. Is it because they can’t sing English much? Either way, the song suffers without the two of them being an integral part of the song as much as Su always is.
I was so hyped for this album and while it wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be (after all, I’m basing this off the incredible previous album) it’s still one of the best albums I’ll be listening to this year, I think. BABYMETAL is such a different beast musically and that’s a large part of why I love them as much as I do, they’re so different from anything else I listen to. There are a few fantastic tracks on the album with of course KARATE, Tales of the Destinies and Road to Resistance. There’s your classic weird ones like Awadama Fever and YAVA! and of course the newer more Westernized additions like THE ONE and From Dusk Till Dawn. There’s a lot more for outside audiences to find and like, while their first album was purely something you had to be really open to enjoy if you’d never listened to anything Japanese before. But man, if you like metal at all, you have to give this album a listen for sure!