What do Hello Kitty and Slayer have in common? Absolutely nothing, but they work together better than you would think. At the crossroads of cuteness and carnage is Babymetal, the self-styled Japanese “kawaii metal” trio that combines J-pop girl power with bone-breaking metal mayhem. Again, it’s not as odd as it sounds.
“The name means ‘the birth of new metal,’” explained lead singer Suzuka Nakamoto, otherwise known as Su-metal, in an e-mail interview translated from Japanese. “We are aiming to become the only, one-of-a-kind, which no other traditional metal band has been like in the past.”
At 18 years old, Su-metal is the oldest of the group. Her cohorts, Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno) and Moametal (Moa Kikuchi), are both 16. (All three sing and dance, with the backing Kami Band providing the shrill guitars and blast beats.) Formed in 2010 — do the math — as a spinoff of the Japanese pop group Sakura Gakuin, Babymetal soon became a force unto itself, sharing festival bills with Metallica and Megadeth.
The appeal stretches beyond metalheads, though. In 2014, the girls followed Lady Gaga on a stretch of her “Artpop” tour. Earlier in April, a few days after dropping their second album, “Metal Resistance,” they made their first American TV appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
“We heard that it’s a very famous TV program in the US,” Su-metal said. “After performing, the audience called out for one more song, which shocked us but also made us very happy.”
For his part, Colbert was about as shocked.
“I’m not sure what I’m about to see,” he said as he introduced them. “But I’m pretty excited about it.”
His excitement’s caught on. Out of 12 stateside stops on their current world tour, Babymetal has sold out seven of them, including a Thursday night gig at House of Blues.
“The American audience has always without fail shown us very real emotions,” Su-metal said. “We always try to just be ourselves and show them who Babymetal are.”
If it’s any consolation, that success will bring them back around soon. Until then, study up on their unique aesthetic (fun fact: Yuimetal’s two favorite artists are Ariana Grande and Cannibal Corpse) with five things fueling Babymetal’s high-octane antics.
1. The Fox God “All of what Babymetal does is dictated by the Fox God’s prophecy, so he is crucial.”
2. The Metal Gods “Meaning all of the metal bands whom we look up to. We’ve had amazing opportunities to see many metal bands and have learned the greatness of metal. We draw on the way they excite the audience at shows.”
3. Concerts “We think our songs and performances are developed by experiencing how the audience react and get excited at our shows. In our world tour, we’ll be performing new songs from the new album so we’re looking forward to see how we brush up and grow by taking in everything from every new performance we do.
4. The Kami Band “They’re irreplaceable at our shows. They always support us with their powerful performance. They’re really encouraging and we hope to do our best and perform as hard as they do.”
5. The great meals during our tour “One of the enjoyable things about the world tour is the traditional meals we eat at each country. We get to know more about the country we are visiting and gain strength and power for performing our shows from the fabulous food.”