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 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 Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created 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.