Album Review: Ibaraki - Rashomon

Album Review: Ibaraki - Rashomon

There is more to Matt Heafy than meets the eye; a true craftsman and virtuoso in the metal world, he has cemented himself amongst the ‘metal greats’ of our generation. A master of finding that perfect balance between melody and brutality however how well does this translate in to Black Metal?

Matt has never shied away from being vocal about his love for Black Metal throughout the years and although there have been very, very subtle hints of this throughout Trivium’s discography (particularly in Ember to Inferno) Ibaraki has been his outlet and opportunity to really showcase his abilities. A decade in the making and now it’s finally here, unleashed upon the world.

Ibaraki is taken specifically from Ibaraki-Doji; a demon prevalent in the tales of the Heian period which hales the beginning of Japan’s feudal history; but that’s a history lesson for another day.

Initially inspired by Ihsahn’s (Emperor) solo endeavours, Ibaraki became a creative collaboration in which Ihsahn not only co-wrote some tracks and provided vocals and guitarwork; he also embarked on a newfound role as producer for the project.

The record opens with a traditional Romani-style intro ‘Hakanaki Hitsuzen‘ before descending in to an impassioned and highly charged brutal assault with ‘Kagutsuchi.’ Matt expertly showcases his vocal ability mixing raw screams with soaring melodies; a balance he has always been a master of. This track demonstrates not only a sound mired in black metal wizardry but it transitions through more progressively technical and diverse elements which keeps it fresh and moving along. ‘IbarakiDoji’ is a thunderous, orchestral and foreboding assault on the senses with heavy Emperor-style influences. A dynamically compelling follow up to the opening track with unexpected time signature changes, ‘IbarakiDoji‘ is nothing short of dramatic.

Akumu‘ sees guest vocals from Behemoth’s Nergal and there is a heavy Behemoth influence with it’s chugging riffs, soaring and seething in it’s aggression and dark atmosphere. ‘Ronin’ however is the unexpected star of the record featuring earth-shattering screams from My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way, dramatic backing vocals and epically technical guitar solos.

Matt Heafy has the Midas Touch and seems to do no wrong regardless of what he turns his hand to. Rashomon is a diverse, all-star, nose-dive in to the world of Black Metal (of course, accompanied by appearances from his Trivium family throughout) intertwined with Japanese mythology; an incredibly stunning work of art.

Released By: Nuclear Blast

Rating: 9/10

Release Date: 6th May 2022

For Fans Of: Behemoth, Emperor, Dark Funeral

Favourite Track(s): Kagutsuchi, Ibaraki-Doji, Akumu, Ronin

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