Alien Weaponry

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Alien Weaponry
Guitarist and vocalist Lewis de Jong
Guitarist and vocalist Lewis de Jong
Background information
OriginWaipu, New Zealand
GenresThrash metal, groove metal
Years active2010–present
LabelsNapalm Records
Websitealienweaponry.com
Members
  • Henry de Jong
  • Lewis de Jong
  • Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds
Past members
  • Wyatt Channings
  • Ethan Trembath

Alien Weaponry is a thrash metal musical trio from Waipu, New Zealand, formed in Auckland in 2010 by brothers Henry and Lewis de Jong. The trio consists of drummer Henry de Jong, guitarist Lewis de Jong and, since August 2020, bass player Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds. All three members have Māori ancestry and a number of their songs are written in the Māori language.

History[edit]

Alien Weaponry was formed in Auckland in 2010 by two brothers, drummer/singer Henry Te Reiwhati de Jong and guitarist/singer Lewis Raharuhi de Jong, who were only 10 and 8 years old respectively.[1][2] Their mother and their paternal grandfather are of Dutch descent, and their paternal grandmother is Māori.[1] Their tribal connections are with Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Raukawa.[3] The brothers named the band Alien Weaponry after watching the film District 9. After moving to the small town of Waipu they were joined by electric bass player and vocalist Ethan Trembath in April 2013.[2] Trembath replaced Wyatt Channings who had briefly played electric bass guitar for the band the previous year. The band are managed by the de Jong boys' father Niel, himself an experienced rock musician and audio engineer who also fills the role of front of house sound engineer when they tour. Their mother Jette is also involved with the band, tour managing and acting as the band's publicist.[4]

In 2016, the band won both the national finals of Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats—the only band to have ever won both events.[5] They had previously come second in the 2015 Smokefree Rockquest, and been regional finalists for four years running. The band also toured with New Zealand chart topping band Devilskin on their "We Rise" tour in 2014 and performed at The Powerstation in support of Shihad in May 2015.[6][7] Alien Weaponry are believed to be youngest recipients to have ever received New Zealand on Air funding with their song "Rū Ana Te Whenua" in October 2015. They received a NZ$10,000 grant to complete recording of their song and produce a video in 2015[8] and then another two NZ$10,000 On Air grants in 2016 to record their singles "Urutaa" and "Raupatu" and produce music videos.[citation needed] In 2016, the band was named by UK Metal Hammer magazine as one of New Zealand's top 10 metal acts.[9]

The band toured Europe and North America for the first time in the latter half of 2018, performing as a supporting act for Ministry in their American tour.[10] During their European tour, they performed at several large music festivals, including Metaldays, and Wacken Open Air, the largest heavy metal music festival in the world. In 2019 they toured Europe and North America again. As bassist Ethan was unavailable for the final American leg of the tour as he chose to return to New Zealand to finish his high school exams, bassist Bobby Oblak filled the role.[11] The band had stated that they had a goal of performing at Wacken before Henry, the drummer, was 20. They succeeded in that goal, as Henry was only 18 at the time of their performance.[12]

On 17 February 2019, the band (alongside Radio New-Zealand) released a ten part documentary series entitled: 'Alien Weaponry Shake Europe', that documented their European tour the year prior.[13] In December 2018, Holding My Breath was made the official theme song for NXT TakeOver: Phoenix (series of specials produced by WWE featuring NXT brand).[14]

On 19 August 2020, it was announced that bassist Ethan Trembath would be departing the band and he would be replaced with high school friend Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds, also Māori, of Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Wai and Ngāti Hine.[3][15]

10 September 2020 saw an announcement from the band that they were shifting management to The Rick Sales Entertainment Group based in Los Angeles. Rick Sales is the long standing manager of Slayer and also represents other notable metal artists such as Gojira, Mastodon and Ghost in his small exclusive portfolio.[16]

Albums[edit]

Alien Weaponry released their debut EP The Zego Sessions in August 2014 and began work on their debut album at Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios in Auckland with record producer Tom Larkin in September 2015.[17][18][19] In November 2016 Alien Weaponry released their single and music video for "Urutaa" as the first offering from their upcoming album. February 2017 saw the release of their second single "Raupatu" and in July 2017 they released "Rū Ana Te Whenua".

On 1 June 2018, their album was released,[20] debuting at number five on the New Zealand album charts,[21] the top New Zealand album of the week.[21]

Musical style, influences and lyrical themes[edit]

Alien Weaponry's debut single, "Urutaa", is sung partly in the Māori language and was originally about a clash of ideas and expectations leading to stress and unhappiness, which was likened to a plague or urutaa (an outbreak). The Māori lyrics refer to events that occurred in the Bay of Islands in the 1800s and what followed after a pocket watch was inadvertently dropped into the harbour. The misunderstanding culminated in the burning of the Boyd, a grim set of events in New Zealand's colonial history. The band says, "This incident is used in this song as a metaphor for the misunderstandings that continue to plague us today – between cultures, generations and individuals who torment each other through lack of understanding."[citation needed]

The band's second single "Raupatu" (released in February 2017) is about land confiscations by the New Zealand colonial government in the 1800s and the legislation of 1863 that allowed it to happen. Their third single, "Rū Ana te Whenua" (the trembling earth), released 1 July 2017, refers to the mighty battle at Pukehinahina/Gate Pa in 1864 where the brothers' great great great grandfather, Te Ahoaho, lost his life.[22] The band's musical style has been described as "nü-metal tinged thrash"[23] and "thrashing groove-metal",[24] with the band naming Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, and Lamb of God as inspirations.[25] They are also often likened to a Māori version of Roots-era Sepultura, both for their musical style and infusion of indigenous culture into their music.[24]

Discography[edit]

EPs[edit]

  • The Zego Sessions (2014)
  • Urutaa (2016)
  • Raupatu (2017)
  • Rū Ana Te Whenua (2017)
  • Holding My Breath (2018)
  • Kai Tangata (2018)
  • Ahi Kā (2019)
  • Blinded (2019)

Singles[edit]

  • "Whaikorero" (2018)
  • "Ru Ana Te Whenua" (2018)
  • "Holding My Breath" (2018)
  • "Raupatu" (2018)
  • "Kai Tangata" (2018)
  • "Rage - It Takes Over Again" (2018)
  • "The Things That You Know" (2018)
  • "Whispers" (2018)
  • "PC Bro" (2018)
  • "Urutaa" (2018)
  • "Nobody Here" (2018)
  • "Te Ara" (2018)
  • "Hypocrite" (2018)
  • "Ahi Kā" (2019)[26]
  • "Blinded" (2019)[27]

Albums[edit]

  • (2018)

Members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Henry de Jong – drums, backing vocals (2010–present)
  • Lewis de Jong – guitars, lead vocals (2010–present)
  • Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds – bass, backing vocals (2020–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Wyatt Channings – bass, backing vocals (2012)
  • Ethan Trembath – bass, backing vocals (2013–2020)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bryant, Jodi (18 September 2020). "Māori Language Week: Whangārei heavy metal band Alien Weaponry release concert video". Northern Advocate. Retrieved 23 September 2020 – via The New Zealand Herald.
  2. ^ a b Bogart, Sandra (31 December 2013). "Talented Waipu kids form band: Alien Weaponry". Northern Advocate. Retrieved 23 September 2020 – via The New Zealand Herald.
  3. ^ a b McRoberts, Mike (14 September 2020). "Alien Weaponry, Theia, Troy Kingi on rise of Māori language in music". Newshub. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  4. ^ John Ferguson, Niel de Jong: meet the man behind Alien Weaponry, NZ Music Business, 25 June 2018
  5. ^ "Smokefreerockquest national finals results 2015". Scoop. Scoop. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Shihad shoulder-tap a dream come true for Alien Weaponry". stuff. Fairfax Media. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Review: Devilskin: We Rise Tour". Rotorua Daily Post. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014 – via The New Zealand Herald.
  8. ^ "Waipu's Alien Weaponry lands $10,000 grant for thrash metal song in te reo Maori". stuff. Whangarei Leader. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  9. ^ Lewry, Fraser (24 October 2016). "10 of the best metal bands from New Zealand". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Alien Weaponry Have Hit America Just in Time". Kerrang!. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Alien Weaponry". Facebook.com. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Alien Weaponry on their huge year and why they want to be invited to play for Trump". Stuff. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  13. ^ Murray, Alice (30 January 2019). "New Alien Weaponry documentary follows the band's European tour". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  14. ^ "New #NXTLOUD artist announced for NXT TakeOver: Phoenix". WWE. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Ethan Bass Handover". Facebook.com. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Alien Weaponry". Facebook.com. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Are these teenage metallers NZ's next big thing?". The New Zealand Herald. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Waipu's Alien Weaponry lands $10,000 grant for thrash metal song in te reo Maori". stuff. Whangarei Leader. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Alien Weaponry". Music 101. Radio New Zealand. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Te Reo thrash metal band Alien Weaponry's album Tū hits number one on the New Zealand album chart" – via TVNZ.
  21. ^ a b "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  22. ^ Westerman, Ashley (5 December 2017). "This New Zealand Band Is Trying To Save Maori Culture One Head Banger at a Time". NPR. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Ministry, Carpenter Brut, and Alien Weaponry Get Weird in New York City". Kerrang!. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Alien Weaponry: How Teenage Band Channels Māori Heritage Into Haka Thrash Metal". Revolver. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Q&A with te reo Māori metal band Alien Weaponry". 14 May 2018. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  26. ^ "Alien Weaponry Release Historically Minded New Adult Swim Single 'Ahi Ka': Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  27. ^ July 2019, Fraser Lewry12. "Alien Weaponry launch epic video for Blinded". Metal Hammer Magazine. Retrieved 19 February 2020.

External links[edit]