Yeah, those two little girls? They're 16. 
For those who don't know, I'm no stranger to Japanese Music. I'm willing listen to it just about as much as any other foreign music. It just happens to be that - in the realm of Metal, you are going to have to ride the language barrier at least a few times. Especially if you've written for webzines in other countries, such as I have in the past. I hold no real grudges against the Japanese, though their pop-scene is insanely unique and far too upbeat (even with dark lyrics present).  If you look deep enough, you'll find some great bands such as CHURCH OF MISERY, UNSRAW, and DIR EN GREY. Granted the latter loves to hop between experimental metal and ironic J-pop, the Japanese really do have a certain confidence when it comes to experimentation - especially in metal.

Now, enter BABYMETAL A sweeping, strange, phenomenon which has broken the international barrier like no other act (I dare not call them a 'band'). Once a pop (or 'Idol' in Japan) singer, the vocalist 
Suzuka Nakamoto and two companions Yui and Moa were barely even aware of what metal actually was. Actually, BABYMETAL was the product of Kobametal who envisioned Nakamoto being surrounded by 'little angels' - as if that isn't creepy. In fact, Kobametal said the idea for BABYMETAL was a 'divine message.' Initially a lot of hate was thrown towards the group, with mostly everything they did sounding like utter crap to most. But somehow, that changed within the last little while - with the band hitting hard and selling out live performances across the USA.

Though, is BABYMETAL actually anything to take serious? Will a wave of Japanese 'Idol' Metal groups hit the scene and change everything? Is it really 'ruining metal'? The shortest answer is: no.

The group, though they have their merits in creativity, exist far outside even the borders of Nu-metal and Lite-metal groups such as LIMP BIZKIT and DISTURBED. Sure, you'll find all walks of life drawn to this group - be it cynical Metal fanatics, DJENT Fanboys, Metalcore/Hardcore moshers, nerds looking for some stroking material, or those who delve into the cheap animation that the country is known for. But BABYMETAL isn't actually a band and therefore doesn't really pose a threat - especially when the group itself seems to barely even know the waters in which they wade. This is the reason that BABYMETAL carries a strange innocence in its music - singing about Chocolate and tackling grade-school issues such as Bullying is just what they know. The chances of encountering a deep metaphorical song about the corruption of the Japanese Government (like you'd find with DIR EN GREY) are slim to... never. You are never going to hear such things from BABYMETAL - and its doubtful that the group is going to start picking up BLACK SABBATH, CELTIC FROST, and VENOM records to work on their integrity within the metal spectrum. Its just three young girls dancing to metal music. Its almost like saying that MURP is going to shake the foundation of death metal.

Is it really that bad that people want a more positive outlook in a genre crowded by meat heads, depressive poets, and angry ex-boyfriends? I, though I don't enjoy BABYMETAL, can see how people are beginning to crave some variety in Metal - and how the group arrived at a opportune time to provide it. Sadly, there won't be any earth-shattering longevity and innovation from BABYMETAL - the band will no doubt fizzle out as fast as it came to North American audiences - but I'm hoping it can at least open the way for more experimental international music to make itself known. However, I could do without the dancers.

-Keith J Ham-