Global Vibes: Japanese metal group

Photo Courtesy of BMD Fox Records

For anyone who has ever wondered what would happen if a hardcore metal band, a batch of kittens, and an enormous amount of sugar were combined into a modern musical act, Babymetal is the answer.

Ever since its formation in 2010, the Japanese singing-and-dancing troupe has taken its every stage by storm, cranking both the energy and the volume up to 1000 percent and blazing into musical territory that has yet to be seen in most of the Western world today. But if this killer-hyperactive girl group stays on its current course, that may not be the case for long.

Babymetal is fronted by lead singer Suzuka Nakamoto, a veteran of the J-Pop scene due to her years with the acts Karen Girl’s and Sakura Gakuin. When Babymetal started as a metal-inspired subset of the larger group Sakura Gakuin, Nakamoto was chosen as its leading voice despite having little previous experience with the metal genre.

Soon after, Nakamoto was joined by fellow vocalists Yui Mizuno and Moa Kikuchi, forming the trio that is now the rapidly beating heart of the hardcore musical phenomenon. After a few years of releasing singles and music videos that were met with varying levels of popularity and acclaim, the group created its first major album, titled Babymetal, in Feb. 2014.

A compilation of the band’s original and newer tracks, it includes such popular songs as “Megitsune,” “Gimme Chocolate!!” and “Doki Doki Morning.” Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of Babymetal is the fact that, although a majority of its music falls into the metal category, its songs sometimes shift into the pop, screamo and rap genres.

Additionally, the most glaringly unique aspect of the band has to be the fact that these crazily energetic songs are being brought to life by a trio of petite teenage girls. Each music video contains the standard requirements for the metal genre: head-banging band members, seizure-inducing lights, insanely hyped up crowds and a background beat that would not be out of place at a Metallica concert. And yet, front and center are three tiny Japanese girls with voices and styles pulled straight from a bubbly anime about clouds and unicorns.

Despite any reservations listeners may have upon reading this description, the group’s passion wins out in the end. The combination of expertly choreographed dance moves and an electric stage presence allows the Babymetal trio to redefine the stereotypical image of a metal band, thereby paving the way for future female metal bands to come.

As it now stands, Babymetal is a huge hit in its native country of Japan. However, its popularity on the global scale stems mostly from such video streaming sites as YouTube, where they have racked up millions of views from around the world. Perhaps the Western entertainment industry is not yet ready for Babymetal’s particular brand of music, but with ensemble singing groups like One Direction at the head of the current popular-music lineup, it might not be long before Babymetal stretches beyond its borders in a more physical way.

Babymetal puts out vibes of  youth and energy, with enough musical talent and showmanship to back up its unique style. If this continues, the global stage may be in for a hardcore surprise.