A band like Babymetal isn’t really built to last. Three adorable teen Japanese girls fronting a metal band only works as long as the girls stay young and adorable. Four years after they blew up internationally, those girls are now young women — and as of Friday, there’s one less of them, as the band announced that Mizuno Yui, aka Yuimetal, has left the group, apparently due to a combination of health reasons and a desire to pursue her own solo career. (You can read statements from the band and Yuimetal here.)
Su-Metal and Moametal are carrying on without their former bandmate — and judging from the new single they released Friday, “Starlight,” they’re taking their music and image in a more mature, less kawaii (cute) direction. Which makes sense — Moametal is 19 and Su-Metal is 20, so it would be weird if they were still traipsing around in matching tutus and singing about the joys of chocolate over blast beats. Then again, being weird was what Babymetal was about from the jump — and now they’re, well, less weird. So I’m feeling a little conflicted about this new, less gimmicky direction for the band.
That being said, “Starlight” is a solid slab of pop-tinged power metal, with a catchy chorus and some genuinely heavy instrumental passages. (Even in their early, super-kawaii days, Babymetal’s backing band was always legit.) The video (embedded below) is kind of “meh” in my opinion, but it’s apparently setting up a narrative that will continue in future videos about something called the Chosen Seven that we get a glimpse of at the very end. And that part sounds like it could be really cool. So I’ll withhold judgment until they’ve revealed the full storyline.
Speaking of storylines, Babymetal are also gearing up for the release of their first graphic novel, Apocrypha: The Legend of Babymetal, which looks awesome. It’s due out Oct. 30 and supposedly will explain the story behind the Fox God, a mythical deity the group often cites in interviews as the creator of Babymetal. So hey, they haven’t completely abandoned their weird roots.