It’s been nine years since Babymetal first burst onto our scene in 2014 with their loony mashup of J-pop and brutally proficient heavy metal. Fronted by three tutu-wearing teens and led by mysterious Fox-God worshipping producer Kobametal, we appreciated the bombast and downright what-the-fuckery of it all, but we never imagined the Kawaii metallers would turn into a full-blown phenomenon.
Yet, that’s exactly what happened. Three albums later, there have been line-up changes (singer Yuimetal quit in 2018, leaving Moametal and lead vocalist Su-metal to front the band as a duo); the live shows have got bigger; the music has got more bonkers, all while the band have continued to divide the opinions of the metal world. Yet their MO – to push metal into ever more unique directions - has remained the same. Now, as we stand on the cusp of hearing their fourth album, The Other One, we asked the band’s faithful fans to vote for Babymetal’s best song. And here’s what you said:
20. No Rain, No Rainbow (Metal Resistance, 2016)
Taking inspiration from Guns N Roses’ epic November Rain, No Rain, No Rainbow is a stonker of a power ballad drowning in strings, piano and overblown metal majesty with a lighters-aloft, fists-up message of triumphing over adversity. An emotional gut punch which proves Babymetal could deliver more than just Kaiju-walloping stompers.
19. The One (Metal Resistance, 2016)
The One shouldn’t work. A mash-up of ‘80s guitar soloing, the closing number of a musical and the pure sheen of Disney, it’s the sonic equivalent of a year-old slab of brie. But watch them perform it while floating over the crowds in a giant pyramid, and the feeling of elation is undeniable.
18. Babymetal Death (Babymetal, 2014)
More of an introduction to pump up the crowd during concerts than a track proper, Babymetal Death served as a strong opening statement on the band’s debut album. That doesn’t make it any less batshit, though. Brutally heavy and apocalyptic, the band also used to “crucify” Su-metal as a sacrifice to their omnipresent Fox God when performing it live. Wonderful stuff.
17. Brand New Day (Metal Galaxy, 2019)
The band’s third album, Metal Galaxy, consistently kept listeners on their toes, pushing Babymetal’s sound in new directions. There’s something almost Prince-like in the groovy funk of Brand New Day’s opening guitar and that’s before tech metallers Polyphia turn up for a melodic workout over bright synths and a pristine, Amo-era BMTH production job.
16. Rondo of Nightmare (Babymetal, 2014)
Parts of this sound genuinely sinister. Most Babymetal songs have a breakout sing-along moment or bouncing beat, but this one rolls along like a runaway ghost train powered by mechanical drums and chaotic piano. Even the usually upbeat Su-metal sounds uncharacteristically tortured, wailing mournfully in the bridge.
15. Catch Me If You Can (Babymetal, 2014)
Probably the most ‘nu metal’ track in their discography, Catch Me If You Can opens with a riff Korn would be proud of, before disintegrating into glitchy, distorted drum and bass. Imagine The Kami band crashing around in the dingiest corner of the club, until the chorus kicks in with a euphoric sugar rush.
14. Yava! (Metal Resistance, 2016)
Babymetal’s second album, Metal Resistance, leaned heavily into the band’s classic metal influences, but Yava! maintained their sense of vibrant, J-pop playfulness. The track bounces along like Mario on speed, with a neon-hued intro that sounds like a malfunctioning Sega Megadrive before a juddering nu-metal breakdown smashes through the giddiness.
13. Gimme Chocolate!! (Babymetal, 2014)
The original, the classic, the song that launched Babymetal to thousands of bewildered pop and metal fans the world over. The refrain is more saccharine than a gallon of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, but the lyrics are surprisingly feminist, discussing the pressure on women to maintain a certain weight and image.
12. BxMxC (Metal Galaxy - Japan only, 2019)
Initially released on the Japanese version of Metal Galaxy, this hefty, dubstep-inspired track mirrors that album cycle’s wanton sense of experimentalism, with Su-metal rapping in a disembodied voice over shuddering guitar and feverish electronics with an increasing sense of urgency as the track develops.
11. Arkadia (Metal Galaxy, 2019)
To close out their third album, Babymetal cranked everything to the max. A cinematic opening followed by five solid minutes of galloping drums, duelling guitar battles and solos played at demented speeds, Arkadia spotlights the transcendental talent of The Kami Band and manages to sound like a genuine intergalactic odyssey.