Archive for October, 2018

Babymetal_Yuikarate

Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal) leaving Babymetal is a big thing for a lot of people. The realization that this perfect unit that was the original trio of Babymetal might never perform together again is hard to take in. Still, all good things must come to an end and what we have here is the first real bump in the road for Babymetal (not counting the sad passing of guitarist Mikio Fujioka, which was bad enough).

There is obviously a new Babymetal album coming up, all the indications are there including the videos for “Distortion” and “Starlight” and the mythology will just carry on to whereever they want it to be. The news of Yui leaving caused quite a stir though, and it seems like every news outlet in the music world made a big deal out of it. The fact that Babymetal released the “Starlight” video on the same day made it all that much harder to resist for the media. The video notched up 1,000,000 hits inside a week. Coupled with the release of the Babymetal comic (out now) and the current batch of Japanese gigs with Sabaton and Galactic Empire, Babymetal is edging out of the eye of the storm right now. What has been has been and the legacy is there for all to see.

The “Gimme Chocolate!!” video has just notched up 95,000,000 hits, “Karate” over 45,000,000. The momentum is incredible and the brand may be strong enough to take a beating or two, the real proof that they have created something very special here. Yui was a big part of that.

(Image is taken from the “Karate” video)

Commando is currently publishing a number of issues that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the end of WWI. This run includes a special series that spans five issues – five stories that features five members of the same family – and these issues all features cover art by Ian Kennedy (as seen here). Eight writers and artists have been involved in creating this exciting one-off.

I think Commando has outdone themselves this time.

The first 17 acts that are to perform at Sweden Rock Festival 2019 has been announced, and the headliners will be Kiss, Rainbow and Def Leppard. Ex-Rainbow singer Joe Lynn Turner will be there as well, which (in a perfect world) could open up certain possibilities. Of course, we live in an imperfect world. But one can hope. Some good acts, HammerFall, Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth. Another 65 acts are still to be announced. Tickets go on sale on November 1.

Metal history

Posted: October 29, 2018 in Babymetal, Classic Rock, General

Pretty big moment yesterday at the Saitama Super Arena (in Japan) as Babymetal held court alongside (openers) Sabaton and Galactic Empire. In fact, the frontmen of Sabaton and Galactic Empire joined Babymetal on stage for “Meta Taro” (clips exists on YouTube), and they even got the mythology treatment in the shape of a rather wonderful graphic introduction on the big screens (if you know what Babymetal is all about, you will know what I mean). It is obvious that the Dark Night Carnival was a success, perhaps this was the first Carnival of many to come (?) – it is a splendid idea after all. Five dancers backing up Su-metal and Moametal, and they were introduced as the Chosen Seven.

On a sidenote, it is interesting to know that Su-metal did her first appearance at this venue (Saitama Super Arena) with the Karen Girl´s in 2008 and that Babymetal has performed there on several occations since. The “Road Of Resistance” video was shot there in 2015. This is obviously holy ground for fans of Babymetal. Also, the Babymetal comic “Apocrypha…” has been released, I have just ordered my copy.

A glimpse of the past – DEEP PURPLE FOREVER (issues) 20 and 21, published in August and October 1998 by yours truly. My friend Staffan Eriksson had done the drawing of Deep Purple as they celebrated three decades and I liked it a lot. First ever cover that was not printed in full colour, but only because it was not a photograph, and the purple print looks great. Issue 21 sported cover shots by Benny Holmström and Michael Johansson. This was an odd one, I had been sent a school work on the history of Deep Purple by a student (Henrik Engvall) and I decided to print it as it was as a full magazine, only adding the cover and some classic ads from the past. Åke Pettersson over at EMI loved it and bought 50 copies that EMI used to promote the compilation album “30: Very Best of Deep Purple” in Sweden with.

Happy days.

Galactic Empire

Posted: October 27, 2018 in Babymetal, Classic Rock, Cool stuff, General

Well I have seen tweets from Galactic Empire and how ecstatic they were about the recent Babymetal gigs in Japan. This outfit plays instrumentals based on the adventures of Star Wars and they have released two albums so far. Maybe Kobametal (the man behind Babymetal) figured that a band as unique as Galactic Empire would suit the Makuhari Messe shows well, especially since Babymetal released the “Starlight” video right before these gigs. It is interesting that part of the lore of Babymetal, from the very early days, was that they were on a mission to save Metal, and here they are giving this band a chance to be seen in Japan.

50 years ago

Posted: October 26, 2018 in Classic Rock, Deep Purple Family, General

Deep Purple´s second album “The Book of Taliesyn” was released 50 years ago this month. Stateside at least (UK release was June 1969). At the time they had a huge hit in America and Canada with “Hush” and they embarked on a massive three month tour over there as this album saw release. In the end, this album did not produce a major hit but it stands as an interesting postcard of the day. One has to remember that The Beatles was still a major force and Purple did indeed cover “We Can Work It Out” on this LP. The Neil Diamond song “Kentucky Woman” was in fact a minor hit, enough for the label to support the group for a third album. It all happened very quickly in those days and you have to be in a certain mood to pick the early stuff out for a listen these days. If 1968 is what you want, this will do nicely.

Purple were not the leaders of the pack, that would come later.

Garbo

Posted: October 25, 2018 in Cool stuff, My countryside dream, TV & Movies

Pretty happy about the end result of me framing this Greta Garbo magazine cover. I knew when I bought this magazine (some time ago now, I did blog about it) that I would. The Garbo shot is just stunning, and “Queen Christina” (1933) is one of my all time favourite movies. When you are about to enter the TV room in my new place you are greeted by The Queen. Quite appropriate.

I like the way the golden frame suits the crown she is wearing.

Babymetal MKII

Posted: October 20, 2018 in Babymetal, Classic Rock, General

This image was posted yesterday on the official Babymetal platforms. Yuimetal is gone and Moametal and Su-metal will carry on. In a sense, the second version of Babymetal has been operating since December 2017, and we even have a full concert DVD from Hiroshima out there. But for a long time nobody seems to have known what would happen, and my guess is that Yuimetal took the decision to leave fairly recently (maybe a couple of months ago – time will tell). They did exist in limbo for quite some time, not doing interviews or releasing pictures. They may well have a new album ready to go, and Yui is probably singing on that (again, we will know soon enough). The image of three members is strong so Babymetal has some serious thinking to do now, in that respect 2019 is going to be very interesting. Whatever happens next, this is far from over.

(Official image)

….

Babymetal_Yui_Starlight

Today is a day of tears for many fans of Babymetal as Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno) has officially left the group. In her official statement, published through the Amuse agency, she states (translated by Thomas Malone): “A message to my fans, I am truly sorry for the inconvenience I have caused so many people due to being absent for an extended period of time. I have mulled over this over and over again but, I have decided to leave BABYMETAL at this time. I feel very sorry that my decision will disturb the other members and some many fans who have supported BABYMETAL. I am further terribly sorry to sadden the fans who have supported BABYMETAL. I had the strong desire to appear on stage again but my physical condition is not at its best even now, and further I feel that I would like to pursue my dream, one that I have had from a long time ago, of going on my own as Mizuno Yui. It is these factors that led to my decision. I am thankful for the numerous and precious experiences I was able to have being a part of BABYMETAL. I always felt day to day that I was truly blessed. The live shows where we all smiled together and became as One were truly happy and enjoyable times. I will do my utmost best to be able to again one day meet all of you as Mizuno Yui. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the last 8-years. Mizuno Yui”.

Babymetal has issued the following statement: “Thank you for continually supporting BABYMETAL. We would like to inform you of BABYMETAL’s new beginning which will be effective starting this month’s BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2018 in JAPAN performances. YUIMETAL had expressed her desire to return performing with the group in the following months after last December’s performance due health concerns. During her absence, both SU-METAL and MOAMETAL as well as the entire staff team had been preparing for her awaited return. However, YUIMETAL came to a decision that she will not be performing at BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2018 in JAPAN and that she will no longer be a part of BABYMETAL. We thank her for all of her contributions and wish her all the best in her future endeavours. This month’s BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2018 in JAPAN will mark the rebirth in which SU-METAL and MOAMETAL form the core of BABYMETAL. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the fans for the continued support and look forward in what’s next for BABYMETAL”. 

In a strange twist of fate, today also saw the release of a new video for a song called “Starlight”. The video is obviously a “cousin” to the “Distortion” video that we saw back in May (over 5,000,000 hits as we speak), and again the girls in Babymetal is not to be seen (save for a few seconds at the very end and then it is eyes only. It is highly likely that Yui is singing on it though, if her decision to leave came up recently.

I feel sad for losing the original Babymetal (a wonderful chapter in music history), but it is what it is and I wish Yui and Babymetal all the best in their future endeavours.

(Image shows “Megitsune” Limited Edition Yuimetal release and “Starlight” image from official platforms)