Matt Heafy announces Rashomon, the debut album of his black metal side project, Ibaraki, and recruits Behemoth's Nergal for new single, Akumu

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

Rashomon, the debut album of Matt Heafy's black-metal side project, Ibaraki, is set to arrive May 6 via Nuclear Blast.

And following last month's single, Tamashii No Houkai – which, like other tracks on the album, sees creative contributions from Emperor's Insahn – Heafy has offered up another track, Akumu, this time calling for assistance from Behemoth frontman Nergal.

Sprawling and grandiose, the track once again provides Heafy a chance to explore the scope of his creativity, as he injects rapid-fire alternate picking riffs over blast beats, and pounding palm-muted lines over groovier rhythmic arrangements. The riff at the 3:17 mark is perhaps one of Heafy's best. Check it out below.

“‘Akumu’ translates to ‘nightmare’,” Heafy explains, “and with this piece, I encourage the listener to work to find their interpretations of what they feel from the lyrics, music, and the haunting visuals of the music video.

“I have always been fascinated by Sagazan's ‘Transfiguration’, and for years, I have wanted to pay homage to his works with a performance art piece; to finally be able to immerse myself in his style was an intense experience.”

He adds: “Having Nergal guest in this Insahn co-written piece allowed me to combine many of my long-time influences; and when I presented with Nergal the challenge of translating my lyrics into Polish, it brought the song to another level.”

Heafy is, of course, no stranger to the world of heavy metal, having fronted Orlando mainstays Trivium since 2000. And while Ibaraki marks his first official foray into the black-metal realm, he's clearly embracing this new musical direction, as the material is some of most exciting metal music of the year so far.

Rashomon is available to preorder now – check out the full tracklisting 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.