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[Review] BABYMETAL finally return with new direction on darker & grittier “Distortion”

After a wait of what seemed like 100 years, but was actually somehow just two, BABYMETAL has finally blessed us with new music. “Distortion” and its music video was dropped the day before their tour of the United States and Europe starts today, and it definitely takes them in a new direction.

“Distortion” as a whole has this darker and grittier feel to it, which was somewhat unexpected but not unwelcome. The male vocals definitely had me on the fence, but they also play a role in forming their new sound (also I think people forget that their older songs also had moments of awkwardness). Fortunately, the melodic and poppier aspects that drew many fans to begin with were still there as well, with Su-Metal‘s vocals as stellar as always, and it probably could’ve used even more of her towards the end. Also of note is Yui-Metal and Moa-Metal having much more enjoyable and organic contributions compared to previous efforts.

BABYMETAL’s sound itself has taken a power and industrial edge to it for “Distortion”, which could draw complaints because it’s anything different, but given that they’re fusion to begin with there doesn’t feel to be a reason to be dug into one particular sound. There was a nice combination of quality riffing and speed drumming to the instrumental, both of which helped carry the track. There are some lulls whenever it reverts back to the sound it starts with, but the way it ends with a non-stop attack of sorts is too enjoyable to get away from. While “Distortion” does sound like an anime opening or ending on steroids, though some use that as a pejorative, I’ve never seen it that way since some quality shit has spawned from those sounds.

Conceptually, I definitely enjoy that they have direction and that most of their offerings seem rather universally catchy regardless. That said, I also understand those that wish they would go back to their less serious roots. Personally though, I feel like them evolving was inevitable and I don’t give much of a fuck either way as long as they keep putting out enjoyable and eminently listenable music, and “Distortion” is definitely counted within those ranks.

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