— By Patrick Magee
On the heels of a major viral success, capped off with a performance on Stephen Colbert, Babymetal released “Metal Resistance” to fanfare and surprisingly positive critical acclaim. For a moment, it seemed like the viewing public was united on something they weren’t before: these three girls from Japan legitimately kick ass. That’s not just a reference to their new single, “Karate”, either. With an album that switches between symphonic metal and drum ‘n’ bass with ease (and without too much camp!), Babymetal has made the transition from side-note to main event for many.
The group, now on their second international tour, will be making their first appearance in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 7th. After rocking Wembley, the Electric Factory should be no challenge for the three girls and their powerful backing band. Although Babymetal started as a spinoff from a more traditionally Japanese pop “idol group”, you won’t be seeing school uniforms and cute poses. With an explosive energy that makes their choreography look like an army drill, Babymetal is sure to stir up a circle pit on Saturday night.
Babymetal consists of members Su-metal (Suzuka Nakamoto), Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno), and Moametal (Moa Kikuchi). Their median age is 17. After finding success outside of their original group, Sakura Gakuin, Babymetal gained attention largely as a novelty act through the viral success of their early music videos. Following the release of their first album, it became clear that while the girls didn’t write their own music, but rather make an excellent and convincing vehicle for a new spin on pop. Even after working with acts like Dragonforce rather than strictly their original composers – something relatively rare in the confusingly xenophobic J-Pop scene – Babymetal has a unified sound on their albums. They’ve done songs with rap sections and even touched lightly upon black metal with their latest effort. Though it can be easy to see a pop act like this as superficial, they’re wildly entertaining and refreshingly straightforward.