So here we are, finally the official play/release of Babymetal’s new single… and what a single it is!
I’ve said in other posts I was expecting either The One or Karate to be the lead single for Metal Resistance and while I’ve not heard the studio version of the former, I think they have picked the right track to lead with. Karate encompasses perfectly the new direction I think their material is taking. It’s fierce, fun, powerful and most importantly of all, just really fucking good.
After a bouncing, building drum and single note crescendo the guitar slams in with a raw and ripping riff reminiscent of Audioslave’s Cochise. Things move quickly, picking up with a frantic undying guitar line powering through underneath Moa & Yui’s shouts of “Seiya, Se-Se-Se-Seiya”. This breaks into a slower, more deliberate riff as Su-metal comes in with a very smoothly delivered verse. Her voice is definitive in its growth, she’s gone from a excellent young singer to an excellent singer, period. She has a little more depth and roundness than in some of the debut material and her delivery on Karate is tight and expertly controlled with some light chorus and reverb providing a floating feeling to later sections.
The same can also be said for Moa & Yui as well. While their voices are still a little less full than Su-metal’s, gone are the slightly harsh, higher pitched moments that occasionally peaked on Babymetal, replaced with a more moderate, controlled vocal courtesy of their increased age and experience. If Karate is demonstrative of all of Metal Resistance then Moa & Yui have now reached a point where they perfectly compliment Su-metal in sound. Whereas before the experience and age gap was more obvious, things now have evened out and I feel their vocals are now in the right place to be fully taken advantage of in tandem with Su’s.
If anything, Moa & Yui’s vocals are actually a little too well produced on Karate. In the live bootleg from Yokohama they were backed up by an audio vocal track, which when combined with the naturally wide reverb of the venue created a broad, powerful sound (they really spit out the ‘ya’ sounds in the words ‘seiya’ & ‘soiya’) that I felt really suited the song. In the studio version their vocals are much tighter, sharper and a little lighter. I think the song, given it’s battling theme and hard rock guitar could have allowed these to be a little rougher and more aggressive but overall there is no negative effect and it will only go to make the live version even more enjoyable at Wembley and beyond.
Su-metal’s vocals are very similar to the live bootleg, which is to her credit. She sounds confident and dominates even with the strong Morello-esque guitar. Later in the song she is able to show a more delicate side, floating in the words deftly during a quiet middle eight before it kicks back in to end with an anthemic, feel good feeling that you’ll find you can’t stop nodding your head (or should that be hedoban’ing) along to (assuming you haven’t been moshing along from the start).
Cochise served as Audioslave’s announcement to the world that they had arrived and Karate does the same for Babymetal. It heralds a confident beginning to what will hopefully be a defining period in the history of the group. It’s make or break time and Babymetal and here to fight.
With a catchy chorus, unique vocal delivery, tight musical performance and fiery choreography (glimpsed in the album teaser) this doesn’t just have the hallmarks of a great Babymetal song, but of a great rock single full stop. If this had been released in 2002 it would be a serious chart contender and with ongoing major media support I’m excited for it’s prospects.
I’ll be rocking out to this all the way to Wembley, see you there 😉