Babymetal: Will The Future Of Rock Look Like This?
Japanese pop-metal trio Babymetal are the name on everyone’s lips. But are they a genuine phenomenon, novelty act or cynical cash-grab?
Autumn approaches, and so we bid farewell to the Summer of Babymetal, the most exhilarating and divisive phenomenon to hit rock in the last decade.
Barely 18 months ago the Japanese pop-metal cheerleaders had never played in Britain and did not even have a European record label. Today, a group which many dismissed last year as a short-lived novelty gimmick now seem unstoppable, having shared a stage with Dragonforce at Download and opened for Metallica at Reading.
Despite their stellar rise, Babymetal still provoke fierce disagreement across the rock nation. For some purists, Tokyo’s manufactured rock idols are pint-sized Godzillas trampling all over the true spirit of metal. But as their carefully orchestrated plans for world domination come to fruition, Babymetal may yet prove to be the future of rock, with a wave of copycat bands following in their footsteps.
Branding their maximalist fusion sound “kawaii metal” (‘kawaii’ meaning ‘cute’ in Japanese), the trio blend the breathless bubblegum teen-pop vocals of three girl singers with an incongruously heavy guitar-shredding backdrop. The whole concept comes packaged with a goofy back story about a fox god with supernatural powers, plus strikingly cinematic videos with huge viral appeal, notably Gimme Chocolate, which has topped 25 million views online.