Released on May 6, 2022, Ibaraki’s “Kagutsuchi” and music video explore themes relevant to the song’s namesake, a Japanese god of fire in classical mythology. Ibaraki is a project for Matt Heafy, who is also the Trivium vocalist and guitarist; Rashomon, the debut album for the project, is the first installment that marries black metal and Japanese mythology in both themes and sounds. Heafy worked with Ihsahn, the guitarist of Norwegian black metal band Emperor. Ihsahn ended up working as a producer for the project and thus played an important role in the album, in which Heafy invited a handful of guests to join.
Watch the video here:
“Kagutsuchi” makes up one part of Heafy’s album, and it’s a song wrought with themes and sound that meld modern and ancient stories and storytelling elements. The lyrics of the song are in the first person, and the content suggests Heafy is telling this story through the point of view of the deity, someone with more power and a deeper knowledge of the earth than a mere person.
The song starts out ominously: “We watched the world, it burned away/(And front he ash, we found release)/We brought your kind down to its knees/(No longer bound, now finally free).” The tone is somewhat condescending, but it’s clear that the narrator’s sterilely delivered message must be true. Kagutsuchi is a deity that was born destructive, his birth resulting in his creator goddess mother’s death. After being slain by his father, eight different gods grew from his body and blood, each representing a unique type of mountain.
The video includes scenes that are eerie and feel violent in nature even though they only show a mostly stationary Heafy in old Japanese battle gear. There are shots of his with flashing lighting, perhaps implying violence in the form of bombs or fire. The flashing lights also resemble photographs being taken.
Matt Heafy appears to reference the Hamlet skull scene once he takes off his mask, holding it before him and singing in a softer, more introspective tone.
The song carries on to show Heafy in an even more vulnerable position, unclothed and showing his tattoos in a montage. The song ends with the same line it began with, and Heafy is once again clad in battle gear.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat