RYUJIN Debuts Samurai Ballad ‘Saigo No Hoshi’ Featuring MATTHEW KIICHI HEAFY On Backing Vocals & MUKAI WATARU Of The Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra On Cello

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This Friday, January 12, Samurai Metal band RYUJIN will finally reveal their anticipated new self-titled album. Formed in 2011 as Gyze, the band delivers heavy metal and blazing guitar wizardry from Japan, blending both Japanese and English lyricism and featuring production and several guest features by Matthew Kiichi Heafy of Trivium.

Today, the band provides fans with a final early taste of the album with their very first ballad, entitled ‘Saigo No Hoshi’. The massive track features backing vocals by Matthew Kiichi Heafy and cello expressions by Mukai Wataru of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, and excels with an emotive chorus, a rock-opera-worthy guitar solo and traditional instrumentation.

RYUJIN frontman and mastermind Ryoji Shinomoto says about the track: “This is our first ballad, so it’s very special for us. This song is about a samurai who was about to die after the war, thinking about his family and praying for peace. A lot of very sad wars are currently happening on the planet too, families are being separated, and so on. I put that feeling into it. Also, I am inviting everybody to enjoy Mr. Mukai’s outstanding cello performance. The album also includes a version sung by Matthew in English, so I am curious which version people are gonna like more!”

After releasing four highly acclaimed albums and appearing at major festivals worldwide, RYUJIN have developed their own identity, expressed with accents of tasteful traditional Japanese instrumentation (i.e. Shamisen, Dragon Flute, Erhu, Taiko), and lead guitar god Ryoji Shinomoto‘s incredible shredding technique and ripping vocals.

RYUJIN‘s high speed riffs and breakneck guitar descents pair with traditional Japanese elements on their upcoming self-titled album, delivering a sound influenced by everything from ancient orchestral Gagaku to even modern anime themes. “Ryujin” features production by Matthew Kiichi Heafy and mixing/mastering by Mark Lewis, with guest appearances by Heafy (vocals and conducting on various tracks) and Mukai Wataru of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra on cello. “Ryujin”’s tracks feature titles based on the words of the Ainu people of Hokkaido (RYUJIN’s home region), as well as famous Japanese paintings and idioms.

Opening instrumental track ‘Hajimari’ sets an ominous stage for blistering burner ‘Gekokujo’, a tastefully thrash-ified death metal riff-fest colliding with expressive folk-inspired passages and head-spinning technique. Ryoji’s blazing leads are met instantly with the peerless skills of drummer Shuji Shinomoto and bassist Aruta Watanabe. First single ‘Raijin & Fujin’ is an epic power metal storm featuring guest vocal contributions from Matthew Kiichi Heafy, shifting into a swirling tornado of rattling double bass and catapulting solos, while ‘The Rainbow Song’ also features soaring clean vocals by Heafy blended between modern melodic heavy metal and power metal innovation. Tracks like ‘Dragon, Fly Free’ and ‘Kunnecup’ invite the listener to sing-along with RYUJIN as they paint musical canvases of adventure and positivity. ‘Scream of the Dragon’ returns to extreme influences amid uplifting choruses and a story blending English and Japanese lyrics, before ‘Gekirin’ ventures into darker death metal influences, cascading into nautically-inspired melodies (as “Ryujin” is a dragon god of the sea in Japanese mythology, these oceanic musical themes weave seamlessly throughout the album).

The album nears the end with three heart-gripping, primarily Japanese-language opuses – the rock-opera-like ballad ‘Saigo No Hoshi’, the powerfully victorious and traditionally-inspired ‘Ryujin’ and a cover of Linked Horizon’s ‘Guren No Yumiya’, widely known as an opening theme of popular anime series Attack On Titan. The album finishes with a bonus English-language version of ‘Saigo No Hoshi’, with vocals once again performed by Matthew Kiichi Heafy.

“RYUJIN” illustrates an exotic sonic experience that will transport music lovers to a world of fantastic adventure and technical extravagance.

“RYUJIN” will be available in the following formats, and is available to pre-order HERE:

  • CD Digisleeve
  • Gatefold Clear Orange Vinyl
  • Digital Album


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