It's been a long while since Babymetal could be considered truly polarising, the past decade helping to establish the band as a firm part of the contemporary metal scene and earning them fans the world over.
Even so, the levels of intrigue and discussion the band provoke is unlike just about anything else in metal today, the rich lore interwoven into the band's story catching fans and curious onlookers alike in its pace.
With the release of new album The Other One, we asked Babymetal fans around the world to share their thoughts on the new direction Babymetal have gone with their ambitious concept album. This is what they had to say...
What we thought
"Immediately, Metal Kingdom establishes a stately, grown-up Babymetal. The orchestral preamble recalls that eat-the-world urgency Crossfaith once had, giving way to Su-metal’s domineering, controlled delivery.
The way she grapples this song, dodge-duck-dip-dive-and-dodging the peaks and troughs, etching her mark across the gang vocals, cinematic percussion, glitchy electronics – she’s been Babymetal’s most-improved element on each successive release. Sure, this song doesn’t need to be six minutes, but Su-metal carries it.
Now they’re not shoved down your gullet on every festival stage or website available, it’s easier to appreciate [Babymetal] for what they are: an experiment that’s gotten out of hand. The Other One is nigh-on nofiller, and unquestionably their strongest compendium of delirium to date." Alec Chillingworth
What you thought - the good:
This album is the epitome of BABYMETAL coolness that I was looking for.March 24, 2023
"I'm on my second listen and It's extremely good. It's heavy, leaning more towards symphonic metal. Vocally, Su-Metal gives her best performance to date. It's mature, and evolved, she has finally found her own voice. My only complaints are that the songs lack the catchiness of Metal Galaxy, and the album is too short. It felt like I was just getting into the groove of it when it was over. It really needed another two songs or so for it to feel complete. Aside from that, it is fantastic."
Parker Buessow, Facebook
Excellent album. Quite different from what came before but still with that signature Babymetal uniqueness. 9/10 if I was giving it a score.March 25, 2023
"Any metal band that chucks the sax on a song or two deserves an 8/10 off the bat. I enjoyed it. Great vocal melodies and awesome production."
Tremayne A Jones
Far exceeded my expectations and goes to show we really should trust their artistic vision. Now lets see if they add a permanent third member at their upcoming shows. #BABYMETAL #THEOTHERONE pic.twitter.com/JlqrNpbAMeMarch 24, 2023
What you thought - the bad:
"Maybe this new album needs to grow on me, but they seemed to be less adventurous, musically, this time around (though there is a sax(?) solo on one track! ). It’s not bad, the musicians in their band are nothing to scoff at. The album just isn’t grabbing me at the moment."
Brian Serra, Facebook
I wish moa's voice was clear and understandable. and I wish she had at least one major singing part as well. the songs these days just few like su solos and I love su but moa deserves more imo https://t.co/isqbEfjSCVMarch 24, 2023
Still trying to get use to it. Not keen on the dancy stuff on a few tracks. Not bad, just think this needs to be played more to get the true feel of it. Welcome back though.
Barry St John, Facebook
It's 99% metal. J-pop was left behind. My interest lay in the mix, so that album was not made for their J-pop fans like me. I can respect that and I'll support them anyway, but I'd be glad the mix with J-pop comes back in the some future album. #Babymetal #THEOTHERONEMarch 25, 2023
Their weakest. I don't want a mature @BABYMETAL_JAPAN. Their strength was their crazy cuteness, this now makes them more like a poor man's @TheOfficialA7X or @bmthofficial. It also doesn't have the musical variety of past releases, too many 'plodding' songs.March 25, 2023
With Babymetal, its so easy to fall into a polarising stance. Inevitably, gatekeepers will bemoan that the band aren't metal - though considering the list of bands they consider not metal, you have to wonder what actually is by their metric - while Babymetal's army of super fans will declare undying allegiance without a second thought.
Thankfully, your responses have given us at least some insight into what the general consensus is on Babymetal's new album - and the answer is... it's pretty great. Granted, fans do point out shortcomings in the lack of Moa-centric tracks, less Kami band and a general sense of missing elements (be that more J-pop, extreme metal, worldly flavours - effectively everything the band have done in the past), but there's also a sense of admiration for just what Babymetal have achieved on The Other One.
The concept is fleshed out enough to draw us in as listeners and keep us captivated without tripping into being overlong or overwrought. The maturity the band have adopted is perfectly suited to a soft-reboot after their hiatus, showing off a different side of their artistry that hints to greater ambitions going forward that really feel like Babymetal are carefully considering their next steps as they move towards true global domination.
Average reader score: 8.9/10
You can read all about Babymetal in this month's Metal Hammer, on-sale now. Hammer have also teamed up with Babymetal for an exclusive bundle cover.