[J-Rock] Babymetal
#1
Well here it is - the J-Elephant in the room.

Formed in 2012 as an offshoot of Japanese idol collective Sakura Gakuin, Babymetal started with the Sakura Gakuin trio of lead singer Suzuka Nakamoto ("Su-Metal"), and Yui Mizuno ("Yui-Metal") and Moa Kikuchi ("Moa-Metal") on 'scream and dance'.

As with any idol group, there is a Svengali pulling the strings, and in this case it's Key Kobayashi - or Kobametal, who acts as producer.

The group was put together as a fusion of metal and J-Pop, issuing the first single "Ijime, Dame, Zettai" in 2013. Initially their live shows featured a group miming to the parts recorded by session musicians.

Debut album "Babymetal" came out in 2014, and shows followed in the US and Europe, including shows as diverse as UK metal festival stronghold Sonisphere, as well as being opening act for Lady Gaga in the States. Their second album "Metal Resistance" followed in April 2016, and they made their US TV debut on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert shortly after.





More recently, they have provided the role of opening act to both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica.

Since the initial shows featuring miming musicians, Babymetal concerts later featured a live backing band, the "Kami Band" or "God Band", featuring top Japanese musicians in a combination of the following (not exhaustive, but these are the key guys):

Guitar:
Takayoshi Ohmura (Marty Friedman, Liv Moon, C4, Uroboros)
Mikio Fujioka (Trick Box)
Leda Cygnus (Galneryus - as a bassist, Grave Seed, Far East Dizain)
Isao Fujita (Fuki Commune, Mahatma, Deadlift Lolita)

Bass:
BOH

Drums:
Hideki Aoyama (JAM Project)
Yuya Maeta (Antikaruna, Navras)

It's fair to say that since their inception, Babymetal have polarised opinion between being a perversion of the very essence of metal (a manufactured act, featuring dance routines, squeaky vocals) vs. being the saviours of the genre (mixing influences that aren't usually heard in metal, giving a voice to young females that is rarely if ever heard in the style- manufactured or not).

Regardless of personal opinions however, Babymetal are one of the most successful Japanese rock acts of all time, and have arguably opened the way for an increasing focus on Japanese music.

The videos:

Ijime, Dame, Zettai:





Onedari Daisakusen - featuring "Black Babymetal", which is basically YuiMetal & MoaMetal without their lead singer





Awadama Fever





The One



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#2
Funny how it took a year and a half for a thread for them to be made. And it was never prohibited in any way, shape, or form either.

To be honest, I did own their first album and a couple singles, but they got old pretty fast. I don't hate or even dislike them though, its just this type of idol-metal went from "awww, isn't it cute" to "bleh whatever, lame" pretty quick for me. Pretty talented backing band though.
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#3
I thought there was some kind of informal ban as you didn't want hordes of "BM-only" fans descending on the site en masse Wink
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#4
Black metal only fans? Wink I will admit that Doki Doki Morning is kind of catchy, but yeah they were never for me. I don't have blinding hatred or anything for them though. Not even from a J-elitist perspective lol.
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#5
Well, they were my introduction to Japanese music, so I will always have that to thank them for whatever.

I still like the music but the necessary avoidance of any question about the band's future, or musical plans (since the figureheads, i.e. the three girls, aren't involved), tends to grate.

I like the genre-blending, but would prefer that the writers got together in an actual band rather than just being songwriters for hire.
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#6
I'm a fan, but I've never had any particular problem with people disliking them, or finding them boring, or not thinking they're any good. It's the one's who go off in some colossal "tr00 metal" wibble at the very mention of their name that I don't get. They're supposed to be fun.

FWIW it was stuff like following up the Kami band members on YouTube (like below) that got me into stuff like Deluhi and Galneryus, for example...



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#7
I'm a fan of a handful of songs, generally the more power metal oriented ones (Amore, Akatsuki, Ijime Dame Zettai, Road of Resistance, and so on). Having seen them about a year and a half ago when they came over to the states (second row from the stage... you don't want to know what I paid), I can also certainly attest they're one hell of a live act.

That being said, having stood in line for about six hours alongside a lot of die-hard fans, I can say a lot of these people's unhealthy obsession with this band is exactly that. I actually came away from the show feeling somewhat repulsed by it all, feeling like I was caught in the middle of something more than I bargained for.

(11-18-2017, 04:44 PM)TimJ Wrote: the necessary avoidance of any question about the band's future, or musical plans (since the figureheads, i.e. the three girls, aren't involved), tends to grate.

Same, however more than even that, I seriously have my doubts whether the girls even get much enjoyment out of performing the songs, at least anymore. The whole show when I saw them really reeked of just a rigorously rehearsed routine, merely coasting through for the sake of putting a show on because you're expected to. What enthusiasm there was definitely came off as forced, and to be fair, I don't think at that age most people in general are mentally and emotionally prepared for a life as a touring musician, especially in an outfit so huge. I distinctly remember locking eyes with Yui at one point in the show, and just thinking she didn't look all that happy up there (on a side note, I'm all but convinced she has an eating disorder). I kind of feel sorry for them in a way. I wrote about a lot of my thoughts in a post for a blog I tried starting up about a year ago, which I've since taken down, but suffice to say there are pretty big reasons I can't call myself a huge fan, even though I genuinely like some of the music.
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#8
(11-18-2017, 06:45 PM)UnholyCrusada Wrote: Same, however more than even that, I seriously have my doubts whether the girls even get much enjoyment out of performing the songs, at least anymore. The whole show when I saw them really reeked of just a rigorously rehearsed routine, merely coasting through for the sake of putting a show on because you're expected to. What enthusiasm there was definitely came off as forced, and to be fair, I don't think at that age most people in general are mentally and emotionally prepared for a life as a touring musician, especially in an outfit so huge.

Congratulations, you just described the entire idol industry.

I think a lot of people in the West don't really get how manufactured Babymetal is. Not manufactured like (for example) Band-Maid is--the Band-Maid girls were already rock musicians, they just happened to have been grouped together by an outside company rather than forming organically. The Babymetal girls are pop idol singers who got assigned to this pop-metal spinoff project despite having zero familiarity with metal whatsoever.

A lot of Westerners seem to think that the whole Babymetal thing just kinda happened, that these girls wanted to be idol singers and they wanted to do metal, so they just did both. But it's not like that. Japan's idol industry is a well-oiled machine, and the girls of Babymetal are just cogs in that machine.
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#9
Yeah, I pretty much know all that to some degree, which is why I feel kind of bad for them. They obviously had no clue what they were getting into. I love when interviewers ask them what their favorite metal band is, and they all just say Metallica. Wow, how original. You say you like Cannibal Corpse, Yui? Name me 3 songs other than Hammer Smashed Face. But my favorite is this one time when some guy asked Suzuka where she sees the band in 5 years time. You could tell how unnerved she was, because she knows there's no way it'll last that much longer. I don't see the group continuing after more than a couple more years at best. It's not like other idol groups where they just swap the members out after they reach 18, but there's surely going to come a point where those in charge decide they've gotten past the "cute" age and then suddenly, it's over. Fame is fickle.
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#10
I'm neutral to these guys, not in love, but certainly no hate, they introduce tons of people to Japanese music, plus I have a mountain of respect for all the guys in the backing band. I have always felt that with these girls hanging around with talented musicians all the time, they will go on to create some excellent bands on their own some day when they're older. Especially working with guys like Takayoshi Ohmura and Leda on a regular basis.
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