In late 2013 videos started showing up on my recommended videos on Youtube from a band called Babymetal. This was a somewhat unusual band, seeming to bring the style of J-Pop to the metal genre – I initially saw a few live videos with the unusual style of some good heavy riffs combined with choreographed dance routines. It wasn’t like anything else I’d seen at the time and a few of the songs were actually quite catchy (even if they were in Japanese and I didn’t know what they were about!).
Their reception by the western metal community was very mixed with common criticisms being that they were just a novelty act, the girls were too young to really be ‘metal’ or that they just weren’t a proper metal band – however with their debut album release in 2014 (reaching positions 7 and 12 in the UK and US rock charts respectively) and an appearance at Sonisphere in UK (one of the UKs biggest metal festivals at the time) where they were very well received would suggest that there was indeed an appetite for something different in the metal scene.
With 2 further albums released, each has charted better than the last with Metal Resistance in 2014 getting to No 2 in both the UK and US Rock charts, while Metal Galaxy in 2019 managed to hit the No 1 position in both – would suggest that they were more than just a short term novelty act. Given than the metal scene has a habit of being closed off to anything that doesn’t fit with a narrow set of criteria, it was good to see something so different make an impact. I’m not going to say there are on of my favourite bands but they are good to listen to from time to time, I'd say Babymetal were a breath of fresh air in a scene that can sometimes get a little stale.
And for something more recent, here they are at the Download Festival in 2018