When: Fri., May 13, 8:30 p.m. 2016
When I wrote about this Tokyo idol group last year, I had yet to get over the fact that their giddy, kaleidoscopic fusion of J-pop and metal even existed. Maybe I’ve just built up a tolerance to Babymetal since then, but the new Metal Resistance (RAL/Sony Music) sounds like three people going at a piñata at once, not seven—their music is hardly just J-pop and metal now, but it no longer makes channel-surfing hops into completely unrelated idioms. Part of its charm comes from its joyful heedlessness of fashion: lead single “Karate” brackets its hugely catchy chorus with a nu-metal riff, and the infectious “Awadama Fever” bustles with big-beat percussion that hasn’t been cool since the mid-90s. The skank beat and frothy keyboards of “Yava!” approximate techno-fied ska; “Amore” periodically erupts into furious power-metal twiddling; and the trance-pop of “From Dusk Till Dawn” stops dead for a breakdown that cuts up slate-gray metal with dubstep blurts. “Meta Taro” sounds like a jolly children’s marching song, a la the opening theme to My Neighbor Totoro. “Sis. Anger” segues from entirely credible tech-death into chirpy chanted vocals smeared with pitch drops, as though the singers were cartoon characters falling out of a plane. And even if you can wrap your head around what these songs are trying to do, when Babymetal pop the lid off one of their ludicrously sunshiny choruses, you won’t be able to have two thoughts in a row. On last year’s tour, the group’s public-facing members—lead singer Su-metal and dancing sidekicks Yuimetal and Moametal—were backed by a four-piece live band.