23 Oct 2021
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  • Alien Weaponry - Gig Review: Alien Weaponry @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 5/12/2020

Alien Weaponry - Gig Review: Alien Weaponry @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 5/12/2020

07 Dec 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

Saturday evening saw me head towards The Powerstation for the first time in years, and I must confess to really looking forward to the gig as although I interviewed the boys from Waipu a few years ago, this was the first time I was seeing them in concert. I bumped into Matt Holden from White Nøise Mafia outside the venue, perhaps unsurprisingly given he is acting as guitar tech on this tour and was soon chatting with Henry de Jong who really is still very down to earth, even though he has achieved more in his mere 20 years than many metalheads can even comprehend. We went into the venue together and I made my way upstairs to the balcony, where I was somewhat surprised to see this had been turned into an Access All Ages area (no bar!). I decided to stay there as it was the best place to see everything and take notes, but I must admit to being totally surprised when everyone was allowed in as I have never seen so many youngsters at a metal gig in my life. I’ve been attending shows for some 40 years, and there were more pre-High school kids at Alien Weaponry on Saturday than any other gig I have been to. This band really have captured the imagination of so many, with their straightforward attack, their professionalism, and their use of Te Reo and stories about their heritage. I just hope the parents remembered to pack earplugs.

But before the main act, we were treated to Seas of Conflict from Hamilton. They kicked off with Tantalus, and I was a little concerned about the overall mix as the drums were too high, and this stayed throughout the set. In fairness to the band, a lot of that was self-inflicted as Nic Martin hits the kit very hard indeed, but I would have preferred it if the guitar had been brought up and if more prominence had been given to singer Kody Naidoo, as he was working like a trojan, mixing the vocal styles as the band moved through death and hardcore oriented metal. It didn’t take long for the crowd to swell and move forward, and all credit to Alien Weaponry for allowing the support to use all of the lighting rig, something that doesn’t always happen. There were lots of people there for SoC, with quite a few people wearing their t-shirts, and the band revelled in the attention, mixing new songs such as Consume and Back Breaker with old favourites such Edentide. The newer material shows the band moving in a more Fear Factory/Lamb of God territory with interesting drum patterns combining with brutal riffs and great vocals. Naidoo was so into it he even chipped his tooth on the microphone at one point, but apart from a small comment about it, there was no way he was going to allow it to distract him. By the time the band left the audience were a sweaty mess and given the main job of a support band is to warm up the crowd they could relax in a job very well done indeed.

The stage was soon cleared, and shortly all attention was focused on Henry stood behind his kit, performing a karakia. This is their normal way of starting shows, and eventually he was joined onstage by his brother Lewis and new bassist Turanga Morgan-Edmonds. The latter may only have been in the band a few months, but he was a school friend of Henry and he looks and acts as if he has been in the band all his life. With his massive hair and habit of turning the bass vertically to make it look like a spear, he is a huge addition to the visual aspect of the band, so very different indeed to the approach of Ethan who was a more traditional metalhead. Of course, the only way to follow Henry was to launch into the dynamic and brutal PC Bro before following it up with Holding My Breath. It is just as well that it was All Areas upstairs as the mosh became quickly quite brutal, with a circle pit forming at times as well. This is very heavy music, being performed by a band at a totally different level to many of their contemporaries. Here is a group whose debut album entered the national charts at #5 (and was the highest local act), are signed to a European label, have just signed a management deal with Rick Sales (Slayer, Gojira, Mastodon), have played gigs all over Europe and America, and achieved Henry’s stated goal of playing Wacken Open Air before he was 20 (he was just 18, with Lewis two years younger).

There was no let up as the band were striding the stage as if they were born to it, with Henry often to be seen with a massive smile on his face. Turanga and Lewis have already got their positioning sorted out and were quite happy to switch microphones and stage positions, really working the crowd with Turanga throwing so many shapes and images that he was a photographer’s dream. Lewis started Te Ara with a sound from his guitar that was far more like keyboards with heavy use of distortion, but it soon cranked up and new song Tangaroa, which is about saving the environment, is plain brutal from the start.

By now I was thinking there was no way the crowd could get more worked up, but when Lewis announced Urutaa the place went nuts, and even saw some crowd surfing. On Nobody Here everyone was invited to jump and down with the band, which led me to wonder about the safety standards of the venue as the balcony was definitely moving! Kia Tangata saw a brutal circle pit erupt with a massive wave of energy and then…. it all stopped. The reason for this was the band wanted some footage for their next video, which meant lots of choreographed walking forwards from everyone downstairs. This was repeated multiple times, and there were lots of smiles and nudges from those involved as they practiced being zombies.

They finished with Raupatu, but everyone knew that was not going to be the end and they band came back with Buried Underground and a celebratory blast through Ru Ana Te Whenua. All that was left was for Lewis to tell everyone there was an after party taking place at Ding Dong and we were all invited, and then it was over. I have been fortunate enough to see quite a few bands at this venue over the years, and there is no doubt in my mind that the finest band I ever saw there was 8 Foot Sativa back in 2012 when they totally dominated headline act Fear Factory. It has taken 8 years, but there is a new band taking the crown, as on Saturday Alien Weaponry shook the place to its foundations and I just can’t wait for the new album.


Photo Credit: Morgan Creative
Alien Weaponry
Seas of Conflict

 

About Alien Weaponry

Alien Weaponry is a three-piece metal band whose style has been influenced by old school thrash and hardcore

AW was formed in 2010 by brothers Henry and Lewis de Jong, who have been listening to bands like Metallica, Anthrax and Pantera since birth; and started jamming and writing songs before they learnt the alphabet. Current influences include Lamb Of God, Tryvium, Subtract and System of a Down, but the band has developed its own distinctive thrash metal sound, destined to endure into future centuries.

Not content to rely on the shock value of their extreme youth, the group understands the value of professionalism, and works crowds to a frenzy with their tight, thrashy energy and wild stage performances. Their plans for world domination include playing at Wacken in Germany and touring the big international metal festivals. They refuse to play covers, and have enough material to begin recording their first album later this year.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Alien Weaponry

Releases

Tangaroa
Year: 2021
Type: Album

Year: 2018
Type: Album

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