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Babymetal - The Other One review


51 users:
Band: Babymetal
Album: The Other One
Release date: March 2023

01. Metal Kingdom
02. Divine Attack - Shingeki -
03. Mirror Mirror
04. Maya
05. Time Wave
06. Believing
07. Metalizm
08. Monochrome
09. Light And Darkness
10. The Legend

The least obnoxious annoying quirky of Babymetal's albums so far.

I know a lot of you were probably expecting a different reviewer to cover The Other One, considering how so far all of the literature around Babymetal on our website has been written by one person, from two reviews, a concert review, an April Fools' article, and with the band's debut turning 10 in February next year, he doesn't know it yet, but he's gonna do an anniversary review of that too. Well, SSUS is not the only person who listens to Babymetal among the staff, but since he's also the biggest weeb among us, he's the only one to fully embrace it. Me, personally, I can count the animes I watched on my fingers, and stuff centered around contemporary Japanese culture is a bit out of my element. Nevertheless, I have some fondness for Babymetal, so I was curious to see how I'd do taking on the band's new album.

One other thing to notice is the relationship that Babymetal have with April Fools'. Metal Resistance was released worldwide on the 1st of April 2016. They've been present in not one but two MS April Fools' specials, one with the aforementioned article, and one where we forced all of you to watch the video for "ギミチョコ!!- Gimme chocolate!!" in order to access the website (we're still sorry about that, but it was hilarious). It was a bit more of a happenstance, since I already had the album in my queue, but I knew I couldn't delay writing this review when noticing that today was April Fools' again. Plus it's a Saturday so I have no excuse. Just know that I'm writing this review in earnest despite today's significance. As much as the idea of praising such a controversial band for shit and giggles is enticing, I still have my gripes with Babymetal.

It's not really surprising that the Babymetal record that this one is more similar to is the previous one, 2019's Metal Galaxy. That was the first one to be released as a duo following Yui-metal's departure, and the first one where it felt like Su-metal was really taking the lead vocal role. It was also the first one where you could really feel like the group was maturing. And now since there's been more than a decade since the group started, and the girls are no longer literal children, it's obvious that that's something that would be felt in the music too. The Other One is the least "kawaii metal" of their albums, no longer really forcing that sugar syrup industry fabricated sweet contrasted with metal. A contrast still exists, but it feels more in line with the tens and hundreds of Japanese rock/metal bands whose vocals lean towards a cleaner pop style. Basically if you've heard at least one anime opening song, you're already more familiar with how The Other One is gonna sound than if you listened to "Gimme Chocolate".

There's a good side and a bad side about this. The good side is that "kawaii metal" was a gimmick that couldn't go on forever. Each Babymetal album was already a step further from that gimmick, but what they've all felt so far were still music that emphasized fun. Metal Galaxy, despite already being their most mature at that point, still had so much diversity in styles, from the sounds to the guests that included Sabaton's Joakim Brodén and Arch Enemy/ex-The Agonist's Alissa White-Gluz. So, in a way, that's where the bad on The Other One comes from. It's the one Babymetal album that feels like it wants to be taken seriously. I mean, it's still fun, but I'm trying to figure out how I'd feel about it if it didn't have the legacy and controversy of all that Babymetal represent attached to it and if it was just another Japanese album. Well, I probably wouldn't have reviewed it.

We've gotten to the point where Alestorm are a bigger laughingstock than Babymetal. It's weird calling The Other One as "the darkest Babymetal record", but it just might be simply due to how sugary the rest of their albums are. Djent has been a big part of the band's sound for a pretty long while, but symphonic metal and melodic death metal feel like they also have a pretty big share of the band's sound. But probably the biggest nuance on The Other One is trancecore, an admittedly maligned subgenre, but the moments where the band blends electronics and synths into the sound are actually the ones where the sound feels most well integrated. Because the biggest issue that still plagues Babymetal is that the vocals and the instrumentals still feel like they come from different worlds. With the band's gimmick that was kinda expected, but this is the first album where I feel like I'd also place some blame on the mixing.

I enjoy a lot of what's happening here. "Divine Attack" has clear nods to melodeath, "Time Wave" isn't that far off from an Electric Callboy song, the djenty chugs and melodic guitar playing on "Monochrome" never fail to get me excited. There's even "Believing", a song completely in English that has clear nods to T.A.T.U.'s "All The Things She Said". But there's something that still isn't quite there. The contrast is no longer something that's fun first and foremost, but now acts like something that keeps me from fully enjoying something that I'd wanna enjoy unironically. I hope that in the future we'll be able to look at The Other One as more of a transitional record, before Babymetal are able to fully take a step towards thoroughly integrating the two extremes of their sound. Perhaps that's wishful thinking, but I remain a Babymetal optimist.

Written on 01.04.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 119 users
01.04.2023 - 17:13
Rating: 6
Meat and Potatos
Babymetal went from kawaii metal to just melodeath now. It's basically a female fronted melodeath band.
I can see why more conservative metalheads would think it's a step up, but for me it just screams boring.

Well, at least they inspired a lot of kawaii metal bands that came after.
Growing up is the worst. I hope I never do it.
01.04.2023 - 21:20
Coconut Racecar

Written by Karlabos on 01.04.2023 at 17:13

Babymetal went from kawaii metal to just melodeath now. It's basically a female fronted melodeath band.
I can see why more conservative metalheads would think it's a step up, but for me it just screams boring.

Well, at least they inspired a lot of kawaii metal bands that came after.

Hard agree. Everyone has their tastes and I understand Babymetal not only being different, but a bit of a publicity stunt in the way they're managed, but people are way too hard on this band. That they're moving away from their old sound isn't good to me even if it's more appreciable to the general metal community. It just takes away what made them unique. Now they're boring.
04.04.2023 - 09:23

I prefered quirky, varied Babymetal. I hope they don't fall completely into boring, dumb melodic metal. Their strength was always mixing of various styles, they should keep at it.
14.04.2023 - 16:07
Rating: 8
I have mixed feelings about this one, and it's for the reasons you outlined in your review. When I reviewed Metal Galaxy, I was enthusiastic about the prospect of Babymetal morphing into a straight power metal band (or cyberdjent, whatever), partly because that direction was manifesting in the band's best tracks up to that point, and partly in the hopes that it would break down some barriers for obstinate metal fans out there who didn't realize that they were already listening to pretty much the same type of thing.

Now that we're here, it does strike me that Babymetal is less "special"; there's less to say about a band comprising three full adults singing recognizable variations of metal, even if there's still a good amount of experimentation or unusual fusion on this album. The electronic and djenty/proggy elements in particular are things I've enjoyed since they were first introduced and I'm glad to hear continued implementation of all that stuff, since it preserves some of the uniqueness of the project, and you're right that this is their darkest album. But it's definitely not as bizarre and transgressive a melting pot these days, and there is not the same kind of surrealism/controversy over having Babymetal being a children's idol group. That does lose a certain degree of "fun," I suppose.

At the same time, most of the time I can't stand the sound of children singing. The first album is still my least favorite Babymetal album because some of the songs on it I just can't listen to without cringing the whole way. Su-metal has become quite a strong vocalist and I'm perfectly content to hear her tackle more mature-sounding material. Even if there aren't any tracks on this album that immediately seized my brain like "Megitsune," "Karate," or "Da Da Dance," The Other One is a consistent and immersive album that I think I'll enjoy coming back to a lot and in spite of the issues you outlined with its whole concept, which I think are legitimate, this album actually hits pretty comfortably for me.

I've been wondering about the future of this project for years now, and to be honest I thought Metal Galaxy for sure would be the death knell, if they even made it that far in the first place. Hearing The Other One makes me feel like perhaps there is a longer-term future for Babymetal in store after all.
"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.

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