SKILLET / BABYMETAL: The Future of Metal?

Are Skillet and Babymetal the future of metal?
An editorial by John Ward

Formed in 1996, Skillet became the face of Christian rock in the 2010’s. Like Stryper before them, many metal stations hated their faith. This led to less air time and hype. Christian stations also tend to avoid hard rock and metal. Then again Stryper found a platform on MTV and was the most requested band on Dial MTV in 1987. Yes, Christians once ruled MTV. I can only explain it by saying God works in mysterious ways.

Baby metal came about in 2010. They are regarded as the first kawaii metal (cute metal) band. By their debut release, metal was considered dead by many. This was a world ruled by rap now. However, just as secular sources confirm the death and resurrection of a “magic man” named Jesus 2000 years ago, Babymetal still had breath. 

It wasn’t until their 2003 release Collide that Skillet really started to get attention. While the album wasn’t certified, it got them a Grammy nomination. They then followed up with the now RIAA platinum Comatose. This led to one of the biggest underground fanbases, known as “panheads” emerging. Many people saw them as a Christian version of My Chemical Romance due to the darker tones, aggressive singing with a few soft songs and a connection with people suffering from depression. They finally broke into the mainstream audience with Awake. The now 3x platinum song “Monster” was used for WWE Hell in a Cell as the theme. “Hero” from the same album also became a huge success, selling over 2 million singles. “Awake and Alive” was the third best selling single off the album, reaching platinum status, while the album is certified double-platinum by the RIAA.

Seemingly overnight Babymetal shot into stardom. People were amazed by Japanese pop artists performing metal and dancing around, which helped their music videos often go viral on YouTube and gained them a loyal fanbase. Their first two albums earned gold recognition from the RIAJ. The band known for adding a cutesy rebel attitude to their choreography and mixing J-pop with metal has accomplished a lot. They may not have sold millions of albums worldwide, but their fame has resulted in a lot of recognition. Friends/fans include Rob Halford, Lady Gaga, and Rob Zombie. While I’m not expecting Babymetal to break any records in album sales, it’s worth noting they still have millions of fans who regularly watch music videos on YouTube. The girls who shocked the world also have a large presence on Spotify. Their third album, while not not being certified in Japan did make history, though. It became the first Asian album to top the US top rock albums chart on Billboard.

Skillet and Babymetal have both found massive success on YouTube and Spotify. They have built a large enough presence online to reach pop culture status regardless of album sales dropping worldwide. In an age where the hard copy album industry is dying they are still receiving certifications. Ten years from now, people will still talk about these two bands, and nowadays in the musical world that is the best way to describe success.

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