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Matt Heafy recruits My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way on epic new Ibaraki single, Rōnin

[L-R] Matt Heafy and Gerard Way
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Matt Heafy has teamed up with My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way for the third single from his Ibaraki solo side-project, Rōnin. It arrives ahead of debut album, Rashomon.

The track – like previously released singles Tamashii No Houkai and Akumu – features contributions from Emperor guitarist Ihsahn, and sees Heafy take the project in a softer direction, at least for the first minute and a half. After this point, Heafy exercises his penchant for all things heavy, offering doom-y electric guitar lines over an unrelenting blast beat while Way serves up some black metal-style screams.

Rōnin evolves hugely over the course of its nine-minute-13-second runtime, switching from high-octane metal arrangements to more melodic-driven lead passages to an acoustic guitar-tinged section from the six-minute mark. Check it out below.

“A rōnin is a masterless warrior,” Heafy says. “The final two full compositions on Rashomon see a significant shift musically. The album as a whole – with the exception of the intro and outro – is actually presented in chronological order of earliest written to latter-most. The actual guitar and bass tracks are a time-capsule of sorts in that their parts – on the final album – are actually from the year they were tracked.

“One can begin to see the shifts as the years went on for the writing of the album. Kagutsuchi/Ibaraki-doji being written and tracked in 2010/2011, all the way up to Rōnin/Susanoo No Mikoto being written and tracked in 2016/2017.”

On how he came to collaborate with the MCR vocalist on the track, Heafy continues: “Gerard Way has been a long-time inspiration for me – I have looked to Gerard as a constant source of motivation to be creative. 

“While Gerard and I may be from different genres than where Ibaraki and black metal stem from – outsiders of sorts – the spirit and intent of our performances is what unites our passion for pushing boundaries.”

Rashomon (opens in new tab) arrives May 6 via Nuclear Blast. Check out its track list below.

  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


(Image credit: Nuclear Blast)

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).