Are Babymetal teasing a new member? 10 things we want from the Japanese metal stars in 2023

Babymetal against a black background
(Image credit: Press)

When Babymetal capped off their 10th anniversary celebrations in October 2021 with a message that cryptically hinted at the band going on hiatus, it was delivered with a typical sense of inscrutible mystery. But after almost 12 months of silence, the band made their return in October 2022 with Divine Attack - Shingeki - an epic taste of the new direction the band are taking on their fourth album. 

Since then, we've had more singles that hint towards a more mature, symphonically underpinned sound and the revelation that upcoming album The Other One will be a concept record. Naturally, we don't know what that concept is, but with a massive European tour on the horizon and the band making their live return in late January, we've outlined the ten things we want to see from Babymetal in 2023. 

Metal Hammer line break

An explanation

“Only the Fox God knows” is a phrase both beloved and dreaded in Babymetal fandom – a maddening tease for things to come. When the band went on hiatus in 2021, they left the cryptic message “What lies ahead beyond the end of the stairway to becoming a Living Legend is something only the Fox God knows.”

What does it mean? Well, we haven’t got a clue! Presumably it ties in to The Other One’s concept, but there's also every chance it was a way to acknowledge the band taking time off after a decade of hard work. Either way, we want answers on what it has all meant - and what has been going on behind the curtain for Japan's biggest metal export. 

Masssive production

At this point it pretty much goes without saying that Babymetal shows are brilliantly batshit. But after a year on hiatus, we want the band to come back even bigger and bolder, especially considering we’re coming off a year where bands such as Tool and Within Temptation raised the bar for what we can expect of live shows. 

Consideiring they’re out on the road with Sabaton and Lordi, we’re not accepting anything less than utterly mind-blowing for their upcoming European tour. That said, the band's first shows of 2023 certainly didn't hold back - we got five songs from the new album (two that haven't even been released yet), and a very, very interesting tease. Which takes us to our next point... 

A new member?

Admittedly, we thought we might be getting a bit tinfoil hat when we first suggested this. The departure of Yuimetal in 2018 was a massive shock to fans, and has changed the dynamic of the band ever since. 

But when Babymetal started teasing a concept record titled "The Other One" our eyebrows were raised. After all, what else could the band be referring to, but a new member that could be introduced into their rich mythos? The  band's live comeback in Japan certainly seemed to point in that direction, Babymetal taking a leaf right out of the Ghost playbook and breaking out a third coffin on-stage to seemingly host a new entity in the Babymetal unit. While by no means a confirmation, you can colour us intrigued...

Special shows around the world

Babymetal’s summer calendar looks suspiciously sparse at the moment. While we accept this is likely down to their upcoming European arena tour with Sabaton, we can’t help but wonder what else they might unveil. 

They’ve certainly got the fanbase and ambition to pull something spectacular off and have a storied history of putting on unique shows in Japan that not only celebrate the band, but expand their narrative. 

So whether we get a one-day festival à la Knotfest, orchestral shows or something completely different, we want to see what Babymetal are truly capable of when given the reigns to run their own international events.


Babymetal’s return in the latter half of 2022 was undeniably exciting. The Divine Attack and Monochrome singles brought the band back in a big way, but we must admit we clocked some big shifts in their aesthetics. 

This looks like a more mature, brooding incarnation of the band, which is admittedly pretty interesting, but we won’t pretend we’re not hoping for at least one dose of the OTT hyperactivity of Gimme Chocolate!! or Megitsune.

More collabs

Metal Galaxy brought in a bunch of guests that made the record feel like a huge crossover event. Joakim Brodén, Alissa White-Gluz and members of Polyphia all made their presence felt in unique ways that really complemented Babymetal’s sound. 

But where The Other One will go is anyone’s guess; symphonic tinges on the first singles suggest the likes of Tarja Turunen or Sharon den Adel could be a nice touch, while in pure OTT overload we’d love to hear Electric Callboy’s Eurodance vibes fed into the Babymetal framework. 

Otherwise, appearances from viral metal sensations like Poppy, Spiritbox or Harper could really push the boat out and show how metal is evolving in the 21st century, adding entirely new flavours to the palette. 

Multimedia tie-ins

In a world of digital livestreams, metaverses, comic tie-ins and band-made movies, it stands to reason that a Babymetal concept record would open plenty of opportunities for translating that story to multiple mediums. Whether they went for the Japanese art forms of manga or anime, or created their own films, comic books or beyond, you can bet it would be epic.

More extremity

Thus far, the singles from The Other One have played things fairly straight, with Monochrome and Divine Attack delivering a sense of scale but skimping somewhat on the heaviness. 

After drawing on Scandinavian melodeath for Metal Galaxy, we want more extremity in the mix – a bit of Starlight ferocity to really highlight how diverse Babymetal’s sound is.

International influences

One of Metal Galaxy’s biggest strengths was just how much Babymetal played with stylistic palettes. Oh! Majinai was full oom-pah folk, while Shanti Shanti Shanti seemed to draw inspiration from Indian folk and bhangra. 

While Japanese idol culture has always been a massive part of what Babymetal are about, these new flavours showed the band had an eye on cultural sounds from around the world. Plus, if that means we could hear Babymetal team up with Bloodywood or The Hu, you can sign us right up.

Something completely new

Trying to pre-empt Babymetal on just about anything is a fool’s errand, the band having found their fame by exceeding all expectations. Mentions of Ragnarök in the lyrics to Monochrome suggests the band are looking ahead to unveiling something completely different. 

‘During the dusk of Ragnarok, what are we to see / No matter how long the night, the morning will arrive’ certainly makes it sound like the album’s darkness (thus far) is only a temporary thing, and something bigger – and brighter – lies ahead. But exactly what that is? Well, only the Fox God knows…

The Other One is due March 24. Babymetal tour the UK in April with Sabaton.

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.