|Label:||BMD Fox / Toy's Factory|
|Translation:||Crypt Of Fear|
I have to admit that I spent months imagining what Babymetal would have pulled out for their second album. I was not fully convinced of the amateur recordings that occasionally popped out and official previews had given me an idea which was almost terrifying; the trivial title also didn't help at all. All of this until the first of April, the date on which "Metal Resistance" was published worldwide.
Forget the April Fools, the three little foxes are back, appropriating this day, and not kidding. If five years ago the trio debuted with "Doki Doki Morning" that sounded like a bad joke, today they are back to the scenes with "Karate": a song that — while mantaining the band's identity — makes it clear about wanting to get serious. Actually this was one of the reasons I feared the worst: it looked as though they wanted to put a little aside the idol side in favor of the metal one, a choice which in my opinion would have made them sink in the abyss of mediocrity; I had to listen it once, maybe even less, to realise that I was being paranoid for nothing. To be honest my initial impression wasn't totally wrong, this work is in some ways more metal than its predecessor, my mistake was to have imagined the glass half empty, while what I received is so full that sometimes it overflows.
Let's start with the basics: as was the case of "Babymetal", the twelve tracks consist of a modern metal mold, embracing different styles and evolving track by track, incorporating new elements, returning on their steps to reshuffle and generally without ever repeating the same solutions. The opening is entrusted to the Dragonforce-like "Road To Resistance", followed by the aforementioned "Karate", that is very deceptive in being so little idol, yet manages to set the atmosphere and to remind us what the three maidens are made of. The things start changing with "Awadama Fever", where more playful vocals are accompanied by an unbridled abuse of the amen breaks, that leads us to "YAVA!" and its… electro-metallized ska-punk?! Yes, or something like that. The next "Amore" brings us back to more proper power metal coordinates that could be very well appreciated as well by someone who likes the genre and isn't a japan-lover.
Now abandon every piece of sanity you have and prepare yourselves to what I personally called the «WTF phase» of the album. The four songs that await us has a surreal thing about them; let's start with "Meta Taro", North European Folk Metal inspired track, with a riff that reminded me not too vaguely "Word Up" by Cameo, straight from the Eighties; we continue with "From Dusk 'Till Down"'s sweet and electronic atmospheres, featuring dubstep influences and «drops»; then we find two piece dominated by the — now not too much — little girls of the band: "GJ" is inspired by genres like Nu and Alternative Metal, while "Sis. Anger" will scare an huge part of the metalheads with his title alone, but surprises with what it wouldn't be wrong to define «Kawaii Death Metal». This sequence doesn't seem to have a real sense, yet it manages to work.
As you may have guessed, there's so much irons in the fire that the result could sound dispersive, but the glue that gives meaning to everything is clearly the contribution of the three girls: everything is built around them, they are the real lifeblood of songs that in some cases would have been absolutely uninteresting and mostly disconnected to each other; this way of making music more typical of the Pop world is probably one of the most difficult things for the metalheads to accept, however at the same time this proves that — in good and bad — these girls have given us some news, to the point they generated a little scene who follows their footsteps and which they have to compare to. It has to be said that Yuimetal and Moametal voices remain anchored to a childish and sugarish dimension; Su-metal takes the distances from this world even more, making herself a worthy singer; to support them there's a group of musicians and producers which work is nothing to underestimate.
The only little weakness I found in this disc is what I meant talking about a sometime overflowing glass: the band's metal side is much more emphasized than before, so much that on more than one occasion you have the idea of listening to a 100% metal album, because of this choice you get the feel tracks like "Meta Taro" and "From Dusk 'Till Down" are almost fillers slightly out of context. Personally I needed to listen to it a bunch of times before understanding the logic of why they have been inserted and you can't say this vision could be shared with listeners more connected to a metal reality.
Probably "Metal Resistance" won't change the ideas of who despised Babymetal until now, neither it will give reasons to their fans to abandon them; this is an album which on one hand confirms their personal idea of metal, on the other hand makes small steps forward in terms of quality and credibility. Mantaining the idol aspect of the proposal and at the same time making it more serious was a brave choice as much as apt and has helped them to keep their identity, even compared to the micro-scene that resulted. The combination of the hard work by singers, musicians and producers is once again the strength of a reality who has less and less the look of a game and it should be judged without prejudice — whether positive or negative — due to its different nature, more so if the result is so nice and enjoyable.