The Fox God works in mysterious ways. You will never be able to divine its motives, or realise what’s going on in the renarde deity’s celestial head until long after it’s happened. It means that, when trying to penetrate the secrecy surrounding BABYMETAL’s plans and movements, they have a much better answer for ‘not telling you’ in ‘Only the Fox God knows’ than that usual lame get-out: ‘I’m just the drummer, nobody ever tells me anything.’ But, more importantly, it also means that BABYMETAL operate on a different set of rules than any other band on Earth. The departure of one-third of the band’s line-up last year, with YUIMETAL officially becoming listed as ‘ex-member’ after an absence from touring, would normally invite loads of explaining, questions asked, and the possible drafting in of new members. Instead, the great bushy-tailed one in the sky enabled it to be simply absorbed as part of the ongoing BABYMETAL gospel, and business continues as usual.
Or, at least, usual for this band. For their third chapter, Foxy seems to have declared that remaining original members SU-METAL and MOAMETAL are to take metal beyond our frontiers and into outer space. And rather than seeming like an operation with a piece of the puzzle missing, Metal Galaxy fulfils its mission by being even more bonkers than anything you’ve heard from them before. Why bother writing an album with a few WTF? bits scattered throughout, when you can forge an entire record solely from them, and jettison anything not out of this world? Back in June, they pointed at where they were heading with the hyperactive PA PA YA!!. This is the most relatively straightforward song on Metal Galaxy, and you don’t even get to it until track 10. By which time, you’ll already have been sent way off balance by DA DA DANCE, which comes on like Lady Gaga jamming with Enter Shikari in a video game; the stuttering, disorienting glitches of Night Night Burn!; and Shanti Shanti Shanti, which is every Eastern European Eurovision entry cut up and stitched back together in the wrong order with turbo-charged guitars underneath. And is that Sabaton singer Joakim Brodén turning up on Oh! MAJINAI for a yell through a frankly stupid folk-metal chorus that makes his own band sound as straight-faced and dignified as Tool solemnly making their way to a funeral? Yes. Yes, it is. And why not?