With Leeds Festival about kick off and rock up to 75,000 fans this weekend we have put together a collection of artist spotlights to get you in the mood! Here’s Babymetal.
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Babymetal formed in 2010 as a subunit of the female idol group Sakura Gakuin.
The band defines its style as a new genre called “kawaii metal” (“kawaii” meaning “cute”) and clarifies that it is “a mix of J-pop idol and heavy metal” (because of their cute Japanese teen pop style fused together with various heavy metal styles). In the music press, the group is most commonly associated with the genres death metal, heavy metal and J-pop, but some of their songs have been classified as symphonic death metal (“Babymetal Death”) and melodic speed metal (“ijime, Dame, Zettai”), and their edgy sound have been likened to electronicore (“Ii ne!”). Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman has also described the band as sounding “like Meshuggah with J-pop on top.”
Before the trio formed, they previously had no experience of the metal genre. Yuimetal admitted that beforehand the concept of heavy metal actually scared her, but later stated that “It’s fun and I see why people enjoy it so much! I still don’t completely understand it, but I’m interested.” Kobametal, the band’s producer, aimed to create a fusion of heavy metal genres and mix them with Japanese idol music, quoting “At Amuse, we have this group called Perfume and I really like them. But I thought, if I’m gonna make a group, how would I do it? I really like metal, so I figured I’d try mixing metal and idol music.”
Patrick St. Michel from MTV praises the “pure, headbang-inducing energy” of the group’s live performances and describes their style as a mixture of “…seemingly disparate sounds of heavy metal and idol pop, creating music anchored both by throat-mauling screeches and cuddly choruses.” The magazine Metal Hammer described their act using the formula “Short skirts, school girl charm and squeaky voices — just like in the manga comics. But they mix the whole thing with Metal.”