Marty Friedman says Babymetal's "fresh" sound reminds him of "Meshuggah with Japanese pop on top of it."
The former Megadeth guitarist is a major celebrity in Japan and has become an expert on the country’s domestic music scene, which he says is much more interesting than Western music.
And he believes Japan’s latest export Babymetal – fronted by three schoolgirls performing a mix of pop and metal – deserve credit for their work.
Friedman tells Rolling Stone: “Babymetal, if you strip off that heavy metal guitar stuff, all you have is your basic fun, quirky, Japanese pop stuff. But the interpretation is super-metal.
“To me, it sounds like Meshuggah with Japanese pop on top of it. So for someone like me who’s been playing metal forever, it’s really fresh to hear. I mean, I can hear another Pantera song, and it’s great, but we’ve heard it before a billion times.”
Friedman left Megadeth in 2000 and set up home in Japan to satisfy his growing interest in Japanese culture. After landing his own TV show, he became a huge hit and has lived there ever since.
He plays guitar for a number of Japanese artists and also writes and records solo albums. He remains a fan of metal, but admits some aspects of it turn him off.
He says: “I love aggressive music, death metal and stuff like that. But the lyrics just crack me up. The satanic stuff, I mean, really? I can’t get into it. I love the sound of the music so much that I’m willing to put up with the lyrics, but why not have that same aggressive sound in something that’s a little bit more realistic?”