Ever fancied your heavy metal with a side of Hello Kitty? Thought that Metallica should really consider dance routines in their live shows? Secretly believed that Slayer could be improved if they just coordinated their outfits and smiled a bit more? Well, your demented bizarre dreams have been answered in the form of BABYMETAL, a Japanese kawaii-metal girl group.
To be more exact, BABYMETAL are an idol group. ‘Idol’ music is a Japanese phenomenon: a manufactured artist or band adored for being cute or ‘kawaii‘, and held up as good role models for young people. The idol component of BABYMETAL are the three teenage female singers – Suimetal, Yuimetal, Moametal – and the metal component is provided by the Kami Band. It makes for a strange mix of saccharine catchy pop vocals over speed metal riffs, with the occasional arena-pleasing power ballad thrown in.
BABYMETAL started in 2010, when the band members were aged between 11 and 13 and by their own admission had never even heard heavy metal, and by 2014 were making waves internationally. In 2015 they played at Wembley Arena, a gig for which the Guardian awarded them five out of five stars. In Hannah Ewans review she said, ‘This isn’t another metal gimmick: it’s a legitimate phenomenon.’
BABYMETAL are clearly not the kind of band that I’ll buy an entire album from, but they do have their moments. Two of my favourites below: