TRIVIUM’s MATT HEAFY Releases First Single From IBARAKI Project Feat. EMPEROR’s IHSAHN
TRIVIUM singer and guitarist Matt Heafy has released the first single from his long-awaited IBARAKI project (formerly MRITYU).
The official music video for “Tamashii No Houkai”, featuring special guest Ihsahn of EMPEROR fame, can be seen below.
“‘Tamashii No Houkai’ means ‘the breaking of the soul’ or ‘soul collapse,” explains Heafy. “It’s a Japanese term that didn’t exist before, but one we forged to reflect the song’s meaning.”
Heafy, who is of Japanese heritage, continues: “‘Tamashii No Houkai’ is co-written by Ihsahn — the legend behind EMPEROR and a musician who has been a longtime influence and mentor to so much that I do in music. The writing of this song was the turning point for IBARAKI — it summarized everything from the past, present, and future of what I thought black metal was, is, and could be.”
Heafy adds: “‘Tamashii No Houkai’ is the perfect summary and representation of everything that IBARAKI is… and will be.”
IBARAKI — the name for a terrifying Japanese demon taken from feudal legend — is the end-result of Heafy‘s continued journey to find his voice. It’s personal, it’s deep, and its inspirations include everything from an adoration for the extremes of black metal and beyond.
It was Heafy‘s exposure to Ihsahn‘s solo work that would inspire the gradual craftsmanship that would eventually become IBARAKI. It was also the beginning of a friendship and creative collaboration that would eventually compel Ihsahn to take a leap of his own into a newfound role as producer on the project. While much of the material for IBARAKI was assembled over months and years — as much a songwriting process as an exchange of ideas between friends — it wasn’t until the pandemic that the space was created and the idea could really flourish.
Back in 2015, Heafy told Revolver magazine about IBARAKI: “[IBARAKI] was initially intended to be a black metal band that I was never going to tell anybody I was in. I was going to make the music, and it was going to be pretty true to the ’90s second wave-style-black metal — sort of like DARKTHRONE, early DIMMU BORGIR, early EMPEROR. But while [IBARAKI] has its roots in black metal, it’s become something so much more. It’s not just black metal — it’s anything I’ve ever wanted to try.”
Heafy previously said about his decision to launch IBARAKI: “My love for black metal eventually spawned the idea of creating a side musical project based upon the same early values of Norwegian black metal: a project shrouded by anonymity — a musical venture that no one would ever know was ‘me.’ I think that initial idea was due to the fact that the black metal genre usually warrants some of the most elite-minded fans; the kind that… well, basically don’t like anything anyone else likes — ones who even quickly turn their backs on their favorites of the black metal genre once any kind of popularity occurs. It’s that close-mindedness of a small-faction of the fans that I initially wanted to try to grasp, but one day I befriended a new mentor who would help change that outlook through their musical and artistic influence.”
He added: “Through [my] conversations [with Ihsahn] and the influence of his new record, the idea of the black metal ‘project’ I was intending to do completely took a new shape and form. No longer was I concerned what anyone would think about it — all I wanted to do was make exactly what I felt like; the principles of black metal I learned from Ihsahn all made complete sense with this attitude. Through the next few months, we would occasionally pass around more things for each other to check out, including passing back and forth the demos of [IBARAKI]. The decision was clear — when time outside of TRIVIUM existed, Ihsahn must produce the [IBARAKI] record.”