Formed in 2011 as Gyze, “Samurai Metal” band RYUJIN deftly deliver heavy metal from Japan to the international masses with their self-titled Napalm Records debut, “RYUJIN”, out January 12, 2024. Blending both Japanese and English lyricism and featuring production and several guest features by Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium), the band’s high speed riffs and breakneck guitar descents pair with traditional Japanese elements, delivering a sound influenced by everything from ancient orchestral Gagaku to even modern anime themes.
The band has launched their new album announcement alongside a brand new single, entitled ‘Raijin & Fujin’, accompanied by a high-energy music video. The track 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!
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 mastermind Ryoji Shinomoto says about the album and new single: “This is the first album of the evolution from Gyze to RYUJIN! We want everyone to enjoy Samurai Metal from the Far East! Produced by Matthew, it opens new doors for us and we are honored to release it on the legendary Napalm Records!”
Featured guest Matthew Kiichi Heafy adds: “RYUJIN delivers music unlike anyone else on the planet. It was their original sound that initially grasped my attention and left me needing to have more and more of what they do. I am humbled and honored to have been able to contribute to this upcoming masterpiece… this opus. This is the album the world needs.”
“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 (cello). Blending both Japanese and English lyricism, the album’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. ‘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 Heafy.
“RYUJIN” illustrates an exotic sonic experience that will transport music lovers to a world of fantastic adventure and technical extravagance.
“RYUJIN” is available for pre-order HERE, and it comes in the following formats:
- CD Digisleeve
- Gatefold Clear Orange Vinyl
- Digital Album
“RYUJIN” Track List:
- Dragon, Fly Free
- Raijin & Fujin
- The Rainbow Song
- Scream of the Dragon
- Saigo No Hoshi
- Guren No Yumiya
- Saigo No Hoshi (feat. Matthew K. Heafy) (Single Edit)