With two of their members still in their teens, BABYMETAL’s combination of J-pop overload, thrash metal rage, EDM slickness and opera-level dramatics have already left an indelible mark on alt-rock. They’ve had the Red Hot Chili Peppers as their backing band in North America. Their landmark release, Metal Resistance, set new watermarks for Japanese musicians on Western album charts. They’ve earned the imprimatur of Judas Priest frontman and metal luminary Rob Halford at the 2016 APMAs. Comedian Paul Scheer described BABYMETAL as “the power of Andrew W.K. mixed with the cuteness of Ariana Grande, covered in the sweat of Slayer.” One can argue that BABYMETAL have already achieved a level of visibility and popularity most bands only wish they could establish.
With one more year of touring experience under their belts, it was time for BABYMETAL to return home. More to the point, it was the right time for lead singer SU-METAL (Suzuka Nakamoto) to return home. “I was determined I wouldn’t return to my hometown in Hiroshima until I felt confident enough to feel that I grew as an artist and as a person through various experiences,” she says to AP via interpreter. “So to be able to return to my hometown at this special age was absolutely a significant moment for me.”
The special age SU-METAL is referring to is her 20th birthday, this Dec. 20. In Japan, one’s 20th birthday represents the arrival of adulthood. “It means the ‘coming of age,’ which in other words, means that you are officially an adult when you turn 20,” SU-METAL says. “In the past, many people have supported me and have helped me get to where I am today. Now that I am 20 and officially an adult, I feel that it is my duty to give back to all the people who have been supporting us and hope I can be a figure who can give people power through my singing.”
Suzuka at Wembley in London