The Essential BABYMETAL

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Most Japanese music acts are still trying to break into the mainstream in the rest of the world, but one has come dangerously close over the past decade. BABYMETAL, the world’s biggest metal idol group, paved the way for other kawaii metal groups to make their mark on the music industry. And with a new album from the group on the way, we thought it was an apt moment to celebrate one of the most unique faces in metal music.

Looking for more Japanese metal to fill your ears with? We got the chance to speak with Bridear last month about their tour and their new album, Aegis of Athena, which is well worth checking out.

The Essential BABYMETAL

Babymetal current lineup

At first glance, it would be easy to brush off BABYMETAL as a gimmick act. Formed from Japanese idol singers who had never performed metal music before the group formed in 2010, they spend most of their performances jumping, dancing, and singing rather than shredding on the guitar. However, dismissing them as a gimmick means ignoring some of the most interesting and unique metal music on the planet.

Originally a trio until Yuimetal had to depart for health reasons, BABYMETAL now consists of Suzuka Nakamoto – known as Su-metal – and Moa Kikuchi – known as Moametal – with help from their touring band, known as Kami Band. The concept is simple; combine the tight vocals and intricate dance routines that idol music is known for with the loudest and most kick-ass metal music on the planet. Oh, and look kawaii as heck while doing it.

Though their roots are in idol groups, BABYMETAL has steadily been winning over metal fans. They’ve shared the stage with groups like Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth, while their pop aesthetic means they’ve opened for the likes of Lady Gaga as well. Rob Zombie famously called out fans who sought to diminish the hard work that BABYMETAL put into their albums and their stage shows.

With three – soon to be four – albums under their belts, there is plenty of BABYMETAL to work your way through. Here are our picks for the tracks from this unique band that you absolutely have to listen to.

Gimme Chocolate!!

This is the quintessential BABYMETAL experience. Thumping bass and drum sections introduce the band’s signature sound. Until the vocals kick in, this could be any number of metal bands, usually with plenty of death growls thrown in for good measure. Then the group starts to sing and the song is also kind of adorable, with lyrics that are all about wanting chocolate but not wanting to put on weight. That juxtaposition is the core of what makes BABYMETAL one of the most fun bands to cover. Nothing about this should work together and yet it somehow does.


While Gimme Chocolate!! is probably the group’s best-known song, Karate is probably my favourite BABYMETAL song. It feels less like an imitation of heavy metal and more like a thought out and considered sound. It still has powerful vocals and an unmistakable rhythm section, but it feels more unique to the group. No other band on the planet could have produced Karate. That’s the real magic of BABYMETAL; they create music that no one else would dare to attempt.

PA PA YA!! (featuring F.HERO)

This is a more recent offering from BABYMETAL, giving us more of a nu-metal sound than the classic heavy metal that the band is known for. However, the gravelly vocal delivery of the refrain hides the fact that this song is largely a celebration of the food of south-east Asia. It is a strange concept for a metal song yet that is what we expect from this group. It stands out from the band’s classic tracks.

If their upcoming album, The Other One, draws from this sound then we’ll be in for a real treat when it gets released in 2023. In the meantime, get to know BABYMETAL on streaming services such as Spotify.

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