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Sometimes, opposites cancel each other out, and sometimes, they combust. BABYMETAL is an example of the latter—an unlikely fusion that yields an unexpected creative explosion. The group began as a thought experiment: What might a hybrid of Japanese pop and heavy metal sound like? Producer Key Kobayashi (a.k.a. Kobametal) began testing the formula in 2010 with the girl group Sakuragakuin, and in 2013, spun off the trio—Su-metal, Moametal, and Yuimetal (eventually replaced by Momometal)—as a standalone act. BABYMETAL calls its music “kawaii metal,” nodding to the Japanese word for “cute,” and in the beginning, it sang about body image and bullying, yet any J-pop expectations end at its pummeling blast beats and punishing guitar solos. Its dazzlingly complex music folds in many styles of metal—speed, power, technical, symphonic, death, and more—while making room for chiptune choruses, EDM drops, and even bits of cumbia and Bollywood. For BABYMETAL, metal isn’t a style to perfect; it’s a zone of limitless possibility.

Tokyo, Japan
November 28, 2010
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