IBARAKI // Rashomon // Album Review


After a decade in the making, Trivium’s Matthew Kiichi Heafy is finally ready to release Ibaraki’s incredibly anticipated debut album, Rashomon. Delving into the realm of Black Metal, as well as his heritage as a Japanese-American, Kiichi has described the album as the “end result of a journey to find his voice”.

And find the voice he has. From the opening moments of Hakanaki Hitsuzen, it’s obvious just how different this band is from Trivium and a great showcase of Kiichi’s talent as a songwriter, but it’s when we move onto track 2, Kagutsuchi, that the album truly hooks you in with its blend of Black Metal instrumentals and mild Metalcore hints thrown on top for a little additional spice.

As we move through the album, it’s obvious how much time has gone into every second of the writing process as well as the hints of Metalcore influence that can be found in the likes of Ibaraki-Doji or the truly breath-taking atmosphere created in Komorebi. Alongside this, there are some utterly brilliant guest performances to be found within the album too. Track 6 Akumu featuring Behemoth’s Nergal is just a masterclass in Black Metal while Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance has an insane vocal spot in the album’s latest single Ronin. Finally, we have the guest spot from Emperor’s Ihsahn who not only features on the album on the track Susanoo No Mikoto, but also helped produce the album and push Kiichi to place the lyrical focus on Japanese Folk-Lore, which is in my opinion, what makes the release stand out as much as it does.

Rashomon is truly a masterpiece of an album. Within the opening tracks alone it’s obvious just how much time, love and energy has gone into crafting each and every moment of the release. While the rich mythology and folklore to be found within the tracks help create a gorgeous aesthetic, it also serves as a dive into the life and identity of Matthew Kiichi Heafy. Rashomon is already my favourite album of the year and I urge every Metal fan to listen.

“Rashomon” will be released on May 6th via Nuclear Blast.

Fans will be able to listen to “Akumu” and “Tamashii No Houkai” by pre-saving here.
Pre-order the album “Rashomon” on CD, vinyl, cassette, and T-Shirt + CD bundle here.
Review: Dan Stapleton
  1. “Hakanaki Hitsuzen”
  2. “Kagutsuchi”
  3. “Ibaraki-Dōji”
  4. “Jigoku Dayū”
  5. Tamashii No Houkai
  6. Akumu” (Feat. Nergal)
  7. “Komorebi”
  8. “Rōnin” (Feat. Gerard Way)
  9. “Susanoo No Mikoto” (Feat. Ihsahn)
  10. “Kaizoku”