It’s not difficult to understand why Japanese music is so unique and culturally different from the rest of the world. The nation as a whole shut itself away in isolation for some two hundred years. By the time this policy ended in the mid 1800s the die had been cast. Anyone who can remember the Japanese game show Endurance on TV in the UK will understand why and how music from this nation might also seem a bit at odds with the rest of the world. The great thing about Japan though is that it has an in built tendency towards improvement and innovation. Just look at its car industry. And so to Babymetal who gained a huge following so rapidly after the release of their eponymous first album in 2014. Back then they were a Marmite band but even so you could hear how technically sound the music was. Roll forward to 2019 and we find no sign of the predicted wearing off of novelty. Metal Galaxy is light years away from where Babymetal began. It’s an assured work from an act that has grown and matured out of all recognition. The core sound is still there but this is a set of songs full of conviction and punch. While on stage the band’s singers have gone from overly cutesied teens to young empowered women so this record shows the same path musically. There are some great guest performances too. Most notably from Joakim Brodén from Sabaton, Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy and rapper F,HERO. Metal Galaxy is an album from a band that looks like it might have real staying power. Babymetal just came of age.