Babymetal: A Japanese Sensation Prepares to Invade America

There are plenty of wonderful blends of musical genres out there that produce some of the world’s most cherished music. There is “Epic” by Faith No More, essentially everything the Beastie Boys put out, the same for Rage Against the Machine, and the list goes on. Perhaps though, it is unexpected to find J-Pop, an artsy, upbeat genre merged with heavy metal verging at times on horror visuals metal music. But this exactly what Japanese act Babymetal has managed to accomplish which has won them fans all across the globe. Babymetal consists of Su-metal and Moametal (with Yuimetal stated as still being a member) being the ladies on vocals. There are also the Kami Band members which consists of Takayoshi Ohmura (guitar), Leda Cygnus (guitar), Isao Fujita (guitar), Boh (bass), and Hideki Aoyama (drums). You also have the Avengers who are the back dancers consisting of Riho Sayashi, Kano Fujihira and Momoko Okazaki.

Babymetal and Metallica Photo by Ross Halfin ( https://www.rosshalfin.com/ )

Babymetal and Metallica Photo by Ross Halfin (https://www.rosshalfin.com/)

The band’s self-title debut was launched in February of 2014, while some of the composition for the album musically goes back to as early as 2010. The album winds its way through a variety of topics with titles like “Death” and “Gimme Chocolate!” being stand outs. Behind the cutesy outward appearance and smashing together of musical styles though the band does have songs with deeper meaning.

“Gimme Chocolate!” for example is a song written about a young girl who loves chocolate but who is scared to consume it in fear of gaining weight. This would in turn lead to her being unattractive and unwanted by society. The song was listed as the 106th greatest song by a female or non-binary group in the 21st Century by NPR as well.

Since the critical acclaim the band found with the first album, they went on to garner the adoration of metal fans and fellow musicians alike. Bands like Metallica and Judas Priest, legends in heavy music have invited them to perform with them. Rob Zombie also had a rather famous public encounter on Facebook, dueling naysayers as he professed his adoration for the group.

Babymetal with Rob Zombie from Rob Zombie’s Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/robzombie )

Babymetal with Rob Zombie from Rob Zombie’s Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/robzombie)

The band’s second album Metal Resistance was released in April 2016. Shortly after international wrestling sensation WWE announced that the song “Karate” was chosen as one of two songs for their NXT: Takeover The End event. This album was a critical success as well and led to many of the tours with famous bands mentioned earlier.

Shortly after this album Mikio Fujioka, guitarist for the band, tragically lost his life after falling from an observation deck while stargazing. Shortly after the band went on tour without Yuimetal which fueled fan speculation. Despite this, the band still insists that Yuimetal is still a member.

Earlier this year the band announced a new album and a supporting US tour. The album Metal Galaxy is said to continue the episodic journey that is the mythological storytelling incorporated into the band’s music.

The tour makes the following stops, including Los Angeles’ The Forum, the band’s first US arena show.

09/04 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
09/06 – Atlanta, GA @ Coca Cola Roxy
09/08 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem
09/11 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
09/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
09/15 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
09/18 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore Detroit
09/20 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
09/21 – Saint Paul, MN @ Myth Live Event Center
09/23 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
09/24 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
09/27 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
09/28 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Union Event Center
09/30 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
10/01 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
10/04 – San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
10/11 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum *
10/13 – Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock ^
10/15 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater #
10/16 – Seattle, WA @ The Paramount Theatre #

* = no support
^ = festival date
# = no Avatar, support from The HU

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