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Matt Heafy’s Black Metal Album Feat. Ihsahn, Nergal Due Next Year

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Trivium frontman Matt Heafy is keeping impressively busy these days. As the metal veterans ready the release of their 10th studio album, In the Court of the Dragon, Heafy revealed he will finally release his long-gestating black metal record, featuring Emperor’s Ihsahn and Behemoth’s Nergal, next year.

Heafy dished about the album on a recent episode of The Jasta Show, hosted by Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta. You can watch the full interview below.

“During this [lockdown] I was able to finally finish my black metal record with Ihsahn from Emperor,” Heafy said, as transcribed by BraveWords. “He’s been producing and co-writing that with me for about 11 years, and it finally comes out in the middle of next year, which should be fun.”

Heafy has been teasing his black metal excursion for years. The project was initially named Mrityu, but after discussing his goals with Ihsahn, he changed the name to Ibaraki.

“It used to be called Mrityu, which I got from Ashtanga yoga,” Heafy said. “It means the concept of life and death — same thing as the ouroboros, same thing as the Japanese Enso, the idea that life and death are always symbiotic with each other. I didn’t really know what to write about lyrically, and I was talking to Ihsahn because I’ve always loved Scandinavian mythology, Norse mythology, and Swedish mythology. I wish I could write about Thor and Jörmungandr, I love these stories. He’s like, ‘Yeah, but Matt, those have been done a lot, and you have your own rich history to tap into with your Japanese side.’ And then a lightbulb went off. I was like, ‘I need to just write about that.’ I started writing all the lyrics about Japanese stories because that’s something that hasn’t really happened.

“There isn’t really a band that writes about Japanese folklore or the Shinto gods and goddesses and fictitious stories of Japanese history,” Heafy continued. “So I changed the band name to Ibaraki, which is actually Trivium’s mascot — an easter egg in there — and the entire project is Japanese-themed. The art, the lyrics, I’m actually singing in Japanese. Ishahn’s on the record, Nergal’s on the record.”

Before Ibaraki sees the light of day, Trivium will release In the Court of the Dragon on Oct. 8. It will mark their second album released amid the pandemic, following April 2020’s What the Dead Men Say.

Heafy and Jasta also have plenty of time to hang out during the ongoing Metal Tour of the Year, where Trivium and Hatebreed are both supporting co-headliners Megadeth and Lamb of God. You can see the full list of dates here.

Watch Matt Heafy Discuss Black Metal Album on ‘The Jasta Show’

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