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All About the Band Babymetal: a Japanese Girl Group That Mixes J Pop With Thrash Metal

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

From left to right: Yui Mizuno, Suzuka Nakamoto & Moa Kikuchi. The girls were in attendance at the GQ Men of the Year event in Tokyo in 2015.

From left to right: Yui Mizuno, Suzuka Nakamoto & Moa Kikuchi. The girls were in attendance at the GQ Men of the Year event in Tokyo in 2015.

Introduction to the Band Babymetal

Babymetal is a Japanese band that features a mix of Japanese pop music and thrash metal. Although I have written a review of their debut album of the same name, this article will focus on the band’s career. However, there is a good chance that not all of the details of the band’s career will be mentioned. This article will be for introducing much of the world to this girl group that I would say came up with a brand new style of heavy metal. If the band Metallica saved my life in some ways as I have said before, then bands such as Babymetal will help to enrich my life and hopefully the lives of others around the world.

Babymetal: Formation & LIVE Performances (2010-2012)

The origins of this group go back to 2010 when this group was part of a sub-unit called Sakura Gakuin. The goal was to realize a dream being fulfilled where there would be a mix of metal and what is described as “idol music.” This idea was thought of by the band’s producer Kobametal also known as Key Kobayashi. He had thought up of this plan, aiming to create the group around Suzuka Nakamoto who once said during an interview to MTV 81: “The first time we heard the idea for Babymetal we were like what the?!” The first LIVE appearance for Babymetal was on November 28, 2010 during a Sakura Gakuin concert. They would release their first single called Doki Doki Morning in April 2011. By December 2011, the video had reached 380,000 views! That is a pretty good number of views for the first major single of what was then a new band. By July 2012, Babymetal released a music video for Headbanger, one of my favorite songs from this group. By August 2012, Babymetal would perform at one of the biggest rock festivals in Japan called Summer Sonic. Since the average age of the members was 12, they became the youngest group to ever perform there.

Rise to Super Star Status and World Tour (2013-2015)

2013 is said to have been the year that Babymetal was on its way to super star status as a band. That January, they would make their debut on a major record label with the song called Ijime, Dame, Zettai. The song would go on to sell 19,000 copies in its first week of release and would end up on #6 on the Oricon singles chart. It would be in spring 2013 that Nakamoto graduated from junior high school and she also had to graduate from Sakura Gakuin because there is an age limit for that group because once those girls reach the age of 13 or 14, they must retire from that group. On August 10 and 11th of that year, Babymetal would once again take part in the Summer Sonic Festival. In February 2014, the band would release its debut album of the same name. On March 1st and 2nd 2014, the group would perform two shows at the venue called Nippon Budokan which attracted over 20,000 fans. They would embark on a world tour which saw them travel to Paris, France, Cologne, Germany, Montreal, and Los Angeles where they would have the honor of making a headlining appearance at the Fonda Theatre.

"Amore"

Metal Resistance and Yui Mizuno's Departure (2016-2018)

The band would release a second studio album called Metal Resistance in 2016. Much of that year would be spent by the band touring, going to festivals and making appearances on late night talk shows in the United States. They would once again perform as a headlining act in London’s Wembley Arena in April 2016. Their debut album would be voted the Best Metal Album of the 21st Century by readers of the magazine Metal Hammer. Babymetal would go on to do a performance with Rob Halford of Judas Priest at the Alternative Press Music Awards. They would open up for the band Red Hot Chili Peppers at the end of the year. In October 2018, it was announced that member Yui Mizuno would leave the band due to health issues.

"Headbanger"

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Favorite Japanese Heavy Metal Band

"Gimme Chocolate"

Babymetal seen here in Columbus, Ohio in July 2016.

Babymetal seen here in Columbus, Ohio in July 2016.

Why Babymetal is a Pop and Thrash Metal Group

There you have it, a brief introduction to one of the groups in the world described as Kawaii “cute metal.” The band fuses pop style metal because there is the pop style vocals combined with the heavy riffing that you would find in thrash metal albums. I consider Babymetal to be pop and thrash because of the heavy riffing and picking style. If Mokoma is the best thrash metal group in Finland, Babymetal is the best kind of thrash that listeners will find since the band called Volcano.

"Megitsune"

New Babymetal Album & Video News

Babymetal has released their promotional video for their new song called "PA PA YA!" and this one has a guest performance by Thai hip hop artist F. Hero. The band played this song the other day at their concert called BABYMETAL AWAKENS - THE SUN ALSO RISES at Yokohama Arena. The video is said to have footage of that concert as well. Also, the group's latest album called Metal Galaxy will be released on October 11, 2019.

© 2019 Ara Vahanian

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