Music Review: BABYMETAL’s “Live at Budokan: Black Night Apocalypse”

Throw up those horns and bang your heads, hard rock fans – the new metal masters of the world have arrived, and they’re still in high school.

BABYMETAL, comprised of 17-year-old Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-Metal), the two 15 year olds Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal) and Moa Kikuchi (Moametal) and a backup band of virtuoso musicians, delivers one of the best live albums in years while continuing to silence their naysayers with the release of Live at Budokan: Black Night Apocalypse.

Popular in their native country Japan since first arriving on the scene in 2010, BABYMETAL began receiving attention globally when videos of their truly bonkers live performances went viral online. However, a funny thing happened last year while Western metal heads – predominantly males – laughed and dismissed BABYMETAL as a one-trick pony. The band released their debut album, and it was one of, if not the best, metal albums of 2014. The album, produced by the group’s mysterious founder Kobametal, topped iTunes’ Heavy Metal charts in both the US and UK.

With a sound best described as an unholy alliance between heavy metal and Japanese pop music (J-Pop), BABYMETAL have spent the last 12 months touring the globe – most notably opening for Lady Gaga and a career-making performance at last year’s European hard rock festival Sonisphere, where they played alongside such metal icons as Metallica, Slayer and Iron Maiden – quickly amassing a legion of diehard fans while also pissing off large swaths of the metal community. Seriously – there’s a plethora of YouTube videos featuring furious adult men with tattoos reduced to near-tears over BABYMETAL’s growing popularity in metal.

Given that the band has received so much positive attention over their concerts, its unsurprising that Kobametal and his band of diminutive demons would release a live album. Recorded at the world famous indoor arena The Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan – the venue for many live albums by such acts as Bob Dylan, Ozzy Osbourne and Cheap Trick – the sold out concert is a breathtakingly fun and impressive performance.

Black Night Apocalypse serves as a giant middle finger to those who have accused the group of being a joke, as BABYMETAL and their backup band of tremendously talented studio musicians, The Kami Band, deliver an exhaustive 73-minute-long set of breakneck pop-metal.

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