Language Japanese English
Release date 29 March 2016
Label RED Associated Labels
|Released March 29, 2016 (2016-03-29)|
Studio Sony Music Studios (Sydney, Australia)
Producer Kobametal (exec.) Kyoto Yuppemetal Takeshi Ueda Tatsuo Ryu-metal Megmetal Ledametal Mish-Mosh
Genres Heavy metal, J-pop, Kawaii metal
Similar BABYMETAL albums, J-pop albums
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Metal Resistance is the second studio album by the Japanese metal idol group Babymetal. It was first released on March 29, 2016 (2016-03-29), in Japan through BMD Fox Records, and on April 1, 2016 (2016-04-01), worldwide through earMusic, RAL, and Sony Music Entertainment.
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- Critical reception
- Chart performance
- Release and promotion
- Singles and other songs
- Track listing
Metal Resistance received generally positive reviews from music critics. The album peaked at number fifteen on the UK Albums Chart, the highest position reached by a Japanese band. In the United States, the album debuted at number 39 on the Billboard 200, the highest rank for a Japanese artist since Kyu Sakamoto in 1963, with first-week sales of 12,914 units.
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Metal Resistance was announced in December 2015 to coincide with news of a new world tour, with the album's title confirmed in January 2016. On February 19, the band released the artwork and track list for the three versions of the album, along with a February 25 release date for the album's lead single, "Karate".
In an interview by Gigwise, when asked about the meaning of the album title, lead vocalist Suzuka Nakamoto explained, "isn't about us resisting against anything as such, but in the last year of our activities it does feel like we're battling against something every time we step on stage". She said, concerning the sound in comparison to their debut album: "This album contains a lot more new and different types of metal that we've never done before. We've grown so much in the music that we do, and this album sounds a little bit older and more mature. It's been two years since the last one, and you can really hear our journey on this record." She further explained that “metal resistance” has been a recurring theme, often mentioned on their world tours. With the ideas of exploring what they can do, and their primary message of Metal Resistance, which is "to get everyone to come together as one", the name was chosen as it was the representation of the band at the time.
When comparing the record to the band's previous album, Yui Mizuno explained the band's challenge toward more music genres than before, as well as the inclusion of more positive lyrics. With the desire to send messages to the fans, the band also recorded a song in English, specifically "The One". As a result, more people would get to listen to the band's music. In a Loudwire interview, Moa Kikuchi described her experiences and feelings toward their sophomore release.
We were on the road touring for two years so we had a lot of confidence in the album. To be honest, we were anxious if we could make a better album than the previous album, but when I listened to the finished new Metal Resistance, it was such an interesting new album I was relieved and definitely full of confidence.
According to The Japan Times, the album consists of a formula with some elements of "1980s hair metal and symphonic metal, which are perhaps more suited for mixing with J-pop than metal’s edgier subgenres." The album draws from various subgenres of metal; “Karate” contains elements of groove metal and nu metal, "Tales of the Destinies" derives from technical progressive metal, "The One" is inspired by symphonic metal, and "GJ!" has metalcore guitars with electronic flavors. To contrast, the Su-metal solo "No Rain, No Rainbow" is described as an "epic ’80s power ballad", while "Meta Taro" is more synth-driven with Viking metal. "Yava!" is described as having "clean guitars and punky, almost staccato verses" ramping up into "driving metal", while "Amore" is reminiscent of their previous record. “Awadama Fever”, like "Gimme Chocolate!!", follows genres of drum and bass and bubblegum pop. "Meta Taro" and "From Dusk Till Dawn" are described as having contrasting speeds, with the latter being the faster and featuring "an epic, film soundtrack-worthy feel". In a Loudwire interview, Su-metal described the song's lyrics, such as "mint-flavored time machine": "This song has a lot of kawaii elements. I have an impression that even though it's metal, it brings out a lot of our kawaii bits."
Mizuno described the lyrics of the album as "very positive and have a lot of motivational elements to them. I hope that this record will uplift our listeners, and inspire them." Kikuchi expressed the goal of Metal Resistance: "We hope to be able to unite the world through music on this album - for it to be the bridge between us and the listeners. This is something we've put a lot of emphasis on with this album." While discussing the metal themes in the band's music, executive producer Kobametal explained: "It’s different from metal in Germany. Different from metal in Scandinavia, South America, and all over the world. It’s all metal but everyone is doing something different. This is a new form of Japanese metal – but what people personally perceive it as is another thing altogether."
Metal Resistance received generally positive reviews from music critics, with most praising the vocal performance of the band members. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 74, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on eight reviews. Rock Sound critic Gav Lloyd wrote that the album addresses the wackiness of their debut album that "really came at the expense of truly great songs" and "seamlessly flits from one brilliantly bold idea to another with no dips in quality". A review by Kerrang! described the album as "As we say, brilliant fun. And shot fired." Jon Hadusek from Consequence of Sound wrote that the band hones "a fusion of technical metal, dance music, and power pop that’s both competent and emotionally invigorating", calling "Karate" and "From Dusk Till Dawn" essential tracks.
Phil Mongredien of The Observer called the album "rule-breaking", with praise for "GJ!" and "Sis. Anger", but criticism towards the "formulaic" "No Rain, No Rainbow" and the English lyrics of "The One". Alternative Press wrote that while the album's "musical textures and tropes can grow repetitive--Babymetal's aggressive enthusiasm and sincerity are impossible to resist." Tim Sendra from AllMusic claimed the record was made, in comparison to their debut album, "in favor of a heavier, more serious approach", and although he praised the performance of the three girls, he claimed that "their collaborators let them down." Jordan Bassett of NME praised the J-pop drawn "Amore", but called "Meta Taro" repetitive and concluded that the band's "adherence to the aforementioned formula can be quite boring".
Metal Resistance debuted at number two on the Oricon Daily Chart on March 29, 2016 (2016-03-29), reaching the top of the chart on the album's worldwide release date. This album debuted at number two on the Oricon Weekly Chart with 132,881 physical copies, behind The JSB Legacy by Sandaime J Soul Brothers. In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number fifteen on the UK Albums Chart, making Babymetal the highest-charting Japanese band ever on the chart. In the United States, it debuted at number 39 on the Billboard 200 and number 7 on the Digital Albums chart, shifting 12,914 equivalent album units (including album sales, equivalent track sales, and equivalent streams), of which 12,240 units are pure album sales. It is the highest-charting Japanese entry on the Billboard 200 in 53 years, since Kyu Sakamoto's Sukiyaki and Other Japanese Hits, which reached number 14 in 1963.
Release and promotion
On February 25, 2016 (2016-02-25), a teaser for the album was released on the channel, featuring the song "Karate", which had been released as a digital single the same day. The album was released to music stores in Japan on March 29, 2016 (2016-03-29), three days before the worldwide release date. On April 5, 2016 (2016-04-05), the band performed "Gimme Chocolate!!", from their debut album Babymetal on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, marking their first appearance on television in the United States.
On December 13, 2015 (2015-12-13), a YouTube video was posted on the band's official channel for the previously untitled album, announced with its April 1 release dubbed "Fox Day". Simultaneously, a 2016 world tour was also announced, with its planned final performance date at Tokyo Dome. The tour was set to begin at Wembley Arena on April 2, 2016 (2016-04-02), the day after the album's worldwide release, and end at Tokyo Dome on September 19, 2016 (2016-09-19). On July 4, another date was announced for Tokyo Dome, extending the tour to September 20.
Singles and other songs
The song "Road of Resistance" was previously released as a digital single on February 1, 2015 (2015-02-01), and afterwards as a bonus track on the band's debut album Babymetal. It peaked on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart at number 22.
On February 25, 2016 (2016-02-25), "Karate" was released as a digital single, and its music video was uploaded on YouTube on March 17, 2016 (2016-03-17). The song charted at number two on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart. Su-metal described the song: "has not only Babymetal vibes, but also has Japanese elements. … Its lyrics portray a strong will to go on, no matter what happens in your life. We play shows with strong wills so we can relate with the lyrics in "Karate." We'll be delighted if listeners can feel positive energy by listening to this song."
Prior to the album's release, the Su-metal solo "No Rain, No Rainbow" was performed during the concerts Legend "1999" Yuimetal & Moametal Seitansai and Black Night Legend "Doomsday" Ceremony of Summoning, each with a live video release. According to Su-metal, the song "could have been recoded [sic] for our first album, but I didn't really understand the content of its lyrics when I first sang this song three years ago. However, by performing this song at our shows, I found myself developing not only its vocal techniques, but also ways to express my emotions through this song in the process of my growth. I think "No Rain, No Rainbow" has grown into what it is now because of my experience performing the song at our shows."
A music video of "The One" filmed during one of the band's live performances at Yokohama Arena was uploaded to YouTube on March 26, 2016 (2016-03-26). According to Su-metal, fans of the group are collectively referred to as "the one". Concerning the English version of the song available on the "Out of Japan" edition of Metal Resistance, Su-metal explained: "Many people from different countries have asked us if we ever plan to sing an English song. We're extremely happy that we now have an English song that we can all sing together."
Additionally, "Awadama Fever" was performed live in 2015 during the final date for the Babymetal World Tour 2014, which was filmed and released via the Blu-ray Legend 2015: Shinshun Kitsune Matsuri in limited edition. "Yava!" premiered during the band's Babymetal World Tour 2015 at Makuhari Messe on June 21, 2015 (2015-06-21), which became the band's biggest show at the time, with approximately 30,000 attendees.
Credits adapted from Metal Resistance booklets and Google Play.
1Road of Resistance5:19