1 Jul 2022

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Alien Weaponry - Album Review: Tangaroa

16 Sep 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

There is no doubt whatsoever that Alien Weaponry have captured the imagination not only of the New Zealand public, but metalheads worldwide, with their combination of groove and thrash metal mixing with their Maori heritage to create something very special indeed. There really is no other band quite like them, although I do sometimes find myself thinking of the impact of Sepultura and their Roots album, but one does need to remember that was Sepultura’s sixth album, some 12 years after their first release. Contrast that to Alien Weaponry, who released their debut EP in 2014, with the album Tu following in 2018, which in its first week was the top New Zealand release on the local charts. Since then, they have toured the world, played with the NZSO, hit the major festivals such as Wacken, and are soon to be found touring North America and Europe with Gojira. Now signed with a major American management company, the world is their oyster, so what is the new album like?

The album was actually recorded a while ago, so for the most part it features the trio who recorded the debut and have been making such a name for themselves, Henry Te Reiwhati de Jong (drums, backing vocals), Lewis Raharuhi de Jong (guitars, lead vocals), and Ethan Trembath (bass guitars, backing vocals and lead vocals on Dad). Ethan left the band on very good terms last year, and he has been replaced by Turanga Porowini Morgan-Edmonds who on this album only provides backing vocals plus some guitar on Unforgiving. Anyone who saw them on their last tour will know just how much Turanga adds to the band, but in some ways, it is useful to have exactly the same line-up, as we can see how the band have changed and developed.

The album shows the band both becoming simpler in some respects, while also becoming more complex. They have gone even further into their Maori heritage (Henry and Lewis are of Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Raukawa descent, while Turanga’s bloodline is traced to the Ngati Rarua, Ngati Wai, and Ngati Hine iwi). The album starts with Titokowaru, dedicated to the famous war chief, where we hear the paddling of war canoes as the iwi are off to battle the Colonial Europeans, chanting as they go.  Titokowaru famously declaring that trespassers on the land would be eaten, with bones strewn on the sides of the roads they were building, and there is no doubt that this is one of the highlights of the album. The drama builds, we hear the speech being given, and even those who do not understand Te Reo can feel the passion in everything they are doing.  For me this is the logical follow-up to the mighty Kai Tangata from the debut, which is probably my favourite song of theirs.

The title cut was the lead single from the album, and here we find Lewis being passionate about climate change and pollution and the effect it has on Tangaroa, (God of the sea). While the verse is in English, the chorus and bridge are in Te Reo, and features some nice cymbal touches from Henry which is a nice contrast to the bass and guitar driven attack. Some delicate birdsong leads us into Hatupatu, before the heavy percussive attack drives along, telling the legend of Hatupatu (one of the de Jong’s ancestors) and the Bird-Woman. This is one of the songs where the music seems fairly simplistic on the outside, but as it progresses one realizes there is a great deal going on inside the arrangement which is incredibly complex. Buried Underground is just plain fun, and anyone who was at their Powerstation show can probably find themselves on the accompanying video being a zombie, while Ahi Ka has one of the most dramatic introductions with part of a recording of a whaikorero originally given by Ngati Whatua chief Te Kawau, accompanied by Lewis playing the koauau. This song also later includes part of a speech from Queen Elizabeth II given from Auckland, and the contrast is palpable. One more number really worth mentioning must be Unforgiving, where the sound of a storm accompanies Lewis picking notes on his guitar and then he cries out in pain, The world keeps crashing down around me time and time again. One can imagine Kurt Cobain performing the first few minutes of this, but here is another one which really builds, turning into something epic and magnificent, and is the longest number on the album at more than 7 minutes.

It is only when talking with Henry and Lewis that one remembers just how young these guys are, at just 21 and 19 (Turanga is the same age as Henry), yet they have managed to deliver an album which builds on the debut, pressing certain elements even harder, and the result is something which contains more contrast yet never fails to hit hard, and often. The boys from Waipu have done good, and if they can tour this internationally for the next few years without COVID getting in the way then there really is no limit to what they may achieve.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

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


Year: 2021
Type: Album

Year: 2018
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Dark Divinity - Single Review: Left For Dead
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Formed in 2017 by drummer Ian Moir, melodic death metal act Dark Divinity have been through quite a lot in the last five years, as not only have they supported the likes of At The Gates, The Haunted, The Black Dahlia Murder and Psycroptic but have already released an EP, some singles and have of course been running the gamut of line-up changes. The most recent of these has seen the departure of singer Jolene Tempest and the return to a male singer in Jesse Wheeler, with the line-up completed by guitarist/bassist Paul Stewart and guitarist Jiji Aligno.
Tryonics - Album Review: Fragmented
29 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Tryonics is the solo project of Hap Richardson, formerly of My Little Pony, Go Victim and Freezer Child. It is completely a one-man affair as Hap not only provided all the music and vocals but also recorded and mixed it as well.
Anxiety Club - Single Review: Carousel
24 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Wellington-based Anxiety Club, taken from the forthcoming album Old Dreams, but anyone expecting more of their guitar-led music is going to be in for quite a surprise as there has been a major shift in their sound, caused by circumstance as much as by design. Like many bands unable to perform or tour over the pandemic, they used the downtime to focus on new songs, but that was not their only issue.
Capital Theatre - Album Review: A Hero's Journey
24 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Back in March last year I made my way to the Tuning Fork to catch a three-band bill, one of whom was Capital Theatre. At that point I had not heard any of their material, so was mightily impressed to discover they had recorded a concept album for their debut with Mike Clink (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Megadeth etc) in America, and that night they were playing it in sequence.
Sam Bartells - Single Review: Good Intentions
23 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Last year I saw Sam Bartells at The Tuning Fork with a full band, and then a few weeks ago he was playing acoustically at a tiny venue in Ponsonby with just a keyboard player for support (what an incredible night that was). In some ways his latest single is a combination of those two very different facets, as the central core of his music is always his acoustic and vocals.
South for Winter - EP Review: Acoustic Sessions
22 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I agreed to review a concert of the Nashville-based husband and wife duo of Nick Stone (vocals, guitar) and Dani Cichon (vocals, mandolin), without previously having heard any of their music and it is fair to say I was blown away. I was fortunate enough to see them on two consecutive nights, and the mix of Dani’s pure, clear vocals with Nick’s more classical tones was something to behold.
Recitals - Single Review: Rock Dove
19 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Recitals are a 7-piece band based in both Te Whanganui-A-Tara (Wellington) and Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) and comprise Xanthe Rook (bass, vocals), Tharushi Bowatte (trumpet), Carla Camilleri (keyboards, vocals), Olivia Wilding (cello), Christian Dimick (guitar, vocals), Josh Finegan (drums), and Sam Curtiss (guitar). Even before playing the first single from their debut album Orbit I (released at the end of August on Flying Nun Records) I was intrigued by the line-up as it is unusual to find both a trumpeter and cellist in the same band, and having now listened to the single I am still intrigued, but now it is because I am wondering what the album is like.
Matt Joe Gow - Album Review: Break, Rattle and Roll
19 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
After touring and playing numerous festivals in support of Seven Years, Matt returned to the studio in 2018 to record the follow-up, Break, Rattle and Roll. Released to wide acclaim, it went one better than his previous release and was awarded Best Country Album in the 2019 Music Victoria Awards.
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Kate Bush
    Drake feat. 21 Savage
    Harry Styles
    Cat Burns
    Doja Cat
    Jack Harlow
    Post Malone And Doja Cat
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem