Babymetal – Babymetal
Babymetal brought another crazy subgenre of metal into the spotlight: Kawaii Metal. Whilst the J-pop vocals and “Idol” style of show the girls put on, deterred a lot of people, it appealed to a lot more. It’s catchy, it’s interesting, it’s different, it’s easy to understand why this album took off the way it did. The music itself is metal at its finest during its heaviest parts and dance/pop music at its finest during its softer parts. The song “Megitsune” is a perfect example, synth dominates most of the song until the bridge where black-metal screaming meets the gritty, low chugging instrumentals to stop you dead in your tracks and think …”this is metal as fuck!”. The best part about Babymetal getting so big in the scene was how it showed how much the scene (despite the few elitists) really will accept anyone. Watch any Babymetal interview and the girls talk about how they didn’t even know metal before the band was formed, but grew to love it because of how passionate about music and supportive of them their fans were. There are barely any bands who HAVEN’T voiced their support for Babymetal (Judas Priest, Sabaton, Dragonforce, Metalica etc.) and I’m glad to be part of a scene that will accept people and artists out of their “comfort zone”.
2014 – Edguy – Space Police: Defenders of the Crown
Edguy are a strange beast. Had they stuck to the traditional power metal leanings of their early run of albums then they could easily be one of the biggest bands in the genre. However, as time went on, their more ‘traditional metal’ sound began to change: elements of hard rock and 80s glam were introduced and lyrics started to become sillier. Frontman Tobias Sammet is simultaneously one of the most serious and most flippant musicians in the industry, adoring the traditions of the heavy metal greats in one hand but turning them on their head in the other. The album title Space Police: Defenders of the Crown came about because Space Police on its own wasn’t ‘metal’ enough and Defenders of the Crown wasn’t fun enough. So why not just combine the two? It sets the tone for the album perfectly, and sees power metal epics such as “The Realms of Baba Yaga” and “Shadow Eaters” sit comfortably along side the 80s cock rock of “Love Tyger” and the ludicrously titled “Do Me Like A Caveman” (written about the strange things overheard in hotels while on tour). There is also an ode to Steve Harris entitled simply “England” plus a bizarre, yet well executed, cover of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus”. Gimmicky titles and daft lyrics would mean little to nothing if the music wasn’t up to scratch, but the musicianship and song-writing is as finely crafted as some of the lyrics are silly. You don’t need an album called something like ‘The Exhumation of Beautiful Corpses’ to take your heavy metal seriously, and Edguy are living proof of that, with Space Police: Defenders of the Crown being one of their finest examples.