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Ryujin: Ryujin

Samurai Metal band Ryujin is a very interesting offering. The Japanese act that previously went by the name ‘Gyze’ make their debut on Napalm Records under their new moniker with a self-titled offering due for release in February 2024.

The band's sound is multifaceted; at times I’d call it technical thrash, bordering on melodeath, and at others it is super melodic and fast-paced more akin to Power metal. There are both clean and harsh vocal styles used at various stages. The album has some ballad-style tracks thrown in for good measure too. The use of Japanese melodies and instruments gives it a real folk metal flavor. Wintersun is about as close as I can come to drawing a fair comparison as an overall reference point

In recent times I don’t necessarily spend a lot of time listening to albums like this one, so it was a nice change of pace and feel and an enjoyable album to get to know. I would say that my favorite moments are the times when the lead guitar takes on a catchy, Japanese-inspired melody, not dissimilar to the way the guitars do this sort of thing in Power metal.

The album is produced by Trivium’s Matthew Kiichi Heafy and there’s no doubt it’s a well-produced and curated release. The vocals are quite reminiscent of Trivium’s style at times, so I wasn’t overly shocked to see this collaboration.

Ryoji Shinomoto’s guitar playing is head-turning; no doubt he can seriously play and is the band's clear focal point. Allowing myself to be critical, I’d say that at times his leads can sound a little one-dimensional, overusing the same sweep picking lick, or shredding up the neck to the root note almost like a warmup exercise. Overall, there’s a lot more to like than to be critical about on this release. If fast-faced melodic metal styles with a mix of harsh and clean vocals is of any interest to you then you’ll want to check this one out.

Track List:
1. Hajimari
2. Gekokujo
3. Dragon, Fly Free
4. Raijin & Fujin (Feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
5. The Rainbow Song (Feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
6. Kunnecup (Feat. Mukai Wataru)
7. Scream of the Dragon
8. Gekirin
9. Saigo No Hoshi
10. Ryujin
11. Guren No Yumiya (Feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
12. Saigo No Hoshi (Feat. Matthew K. Heafy)

Added: January 4th 2024
Reviewer: Chris Reid
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 625
Language: english

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