BABYMETAL's second album follows in the torrid wake of a debut so deliciously bonkers many were left wondering what on Earth the group would come up with next. Honestly? Something rather brilliant.
While comparisons with Godzilla abound around the band's destruction of the Heavy Metal Universe I think comparisons to The Borg are far more accurate. The Borg first appeared in the Star Trek franchise and used assimilation as a means to "integrate beings, cultures, and technology into their collective". And listening to Metal Resistance one can hear just about every genre of heavy metal of the past 30 years imitated and replicated to almost robotic perfection.
Whether it's on the Big Country-on-crack opener 'Road Of Resistance' or the Helloween inspired 'Amore' this die hard metalhead cannot help but wonder if the assorted session musicians, writers, producers that make up BABYMETAL are all massive Sci-Fi nerds. Or aliens. My money is probably on both. But whatever galaxy they all came from, there is some mindboggling song writing talent on display over these 12 well-crafted tracks.
When BABYMETAL first appeared a few years back, the whole shtick worked because it was the 'pitch perfect execution of an absolutely insane concept' and relied on the conflict between - at times - crushing metal and sugary sweet Jpop to torture and contort the listener into blissful submission. Metal Resistance has lost its Jpop proclivities but thankfully manages to maintain razor sharp hooks, most notably during new single Karate and the Banana Splits sounding Awadama Fever (yeah, erm, I guess they assimilated the poor Banana Splits too). Even the pummeling Ska of Yava evolves into something far more serious and melodic after a wobbly start.
And despite being an album chock-full of surprises and contrasts Metal Resistance seems to flow forward effortlessly. During slower moments such as the expansive From Dusk Till Dawn or the slightly ridiculous anime-sounding Meta Taro, the listener is always gripped in a kind of embrace and by the time the band career into the Die Antword-meets-Cannibal Corpse thrash-fest of Sis Anger, the album is travelling ahead with such carefree abandon that any notion of analysing what's being heard is pointless.
Sugary ballad No Rain No Rainbow is perhaps the only song that isn't up to par but it does - I suppose - offer a good juxtaposition to Dream Theater-esque Tale Of the Destinies, a great example of the what I would like to call BORGMETAL: Anything You Can Do BABYMETAL Can Do Better. And when the band close-out with soaring power ballad, The One, they do.
Some reviewers have heralded Metal Resistance as game changing. So will it go down as an important record? One that sits alongside Metallica's Black album or Guns and Roses Appetite For Destruction? That's hyperbole of the highest order and probably not, but as with everything BABYMETAL, you just never know.
Metal Resistance is out now on Ear Music and the band play Wembley Arena on April 2
Image copyright Toys Factory