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Photo by Litch

Its finally here, the Samurai Metal band hailing from Hokkaido, Japan, RYUJIN (f.k.a GYZE) - Ryoji Shinomoto (vocals/guitar), Shuji Shinomoto (drums/vocals), and Aruta Watanabe (bass/vocals) - have released their long awaited, highly anticipated self-titled fifth studio album, RYUJIN via Napalm Records. RYUJIN has gained a reputation for themselves, combining heavy metal with traditional Japanese instruments and magical Japanese guitar playing and mixing together both Japanese and English lyricism. They've also featured numerous guests on their songs, including that of Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium) whom has produced the band's latest body of work.

Recently, RYUJIN has unveiled their very first ballad, "Saigo No Hoshi" to the world, along with an accompanying music video, which features backing vocals by Matt Heafy and a background orchestral performance by Mukai Wataru of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra. There is also an English version of the track sung entirely by Heafy.

Watch the music video here or click the thumbnail below.

Stream/Purchase RYUJIN here.

The mellow but panoramic track is a first for the band. In contrast to the speed and heaviness RYUJIN normally delivers, "Saigo No Hoshi" intends to bring the listener to the point of view of a Samurai nearing the end of his life, praying for peace. The songs emotional message is only expressed further by the operatic vocal performance of Ryoji and a weeping guitar solo. The amazing and moving cello performance by Mukai Wataru of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra does an insanely good job at filling up the atmosphere and making the song feel very immersive. I haven't felt this immersed into a ballad since listening to "November Rain" from Guns N' Roses for the first time.

The cinematic music video, filmed and directed by Kousuke Matsuoka is a concept video of Ryoji as the samurai in a forest, mortally wounded and near death, lamenting on how there is little to no peace while praying that one day the world will change before finally succumbing to his wounds. The video also features performance scenes of Ryoji's guitar playing and Wataru's filling cello performance.

"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!" - Ryoji Shinomoto on "Saigo No Hoshi"

RYUJIN have developed their own identity with their insane and unique blend of heavy metal music, containing elements of multiple traditional Japanese instrumentation interwoven, but not limited to, Shamisen, Dragon Flute, Erhu, Taiko and topped with ripping guitar playing done by Ryoji. This method of music making has earned the band special appearances at almost every major music festival in the world and have been able to release four studio albums, all of which have received critical acclaim.


RYUJIN's high speed riffs and breakneck guitar descents paired with traditional Japanese elements on their upcoming self-titled album, delivers 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 (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.

Fans will find themselves pulled into another dimension with Ryujin, as the album conveys a world filled with incredible adventure and technological wonders unlike any have seen before! Full album review coming soon!

Stream/Purchase RYUJIN here.

'RYUJIN' Track List:

1. Hajimari

3. Dragon, Fly Free

6. Kunnecup

7. Scream of the Dragon

8. Gekirin

10. Ryujin

11. Guren No Yumiya

12. Saigo No Hoshi (feat. Matthew K. Heafy) (Single Edit)




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