Alien Weaponry

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Alien Weaponry
OriginWaipu, New Zealand
Years active2010–present
LabelsNapalm Records
MembersLewis de Jong
Henry de Jong
Ethan Trembath

Alien Weaponry is a heavy metal band from Waipu, New Zealand, formed in 2010 by brothers Henry and Lewis de Jong. The band consists of Lewis de Jong (guitar and vocals), Henry de Jong (drums), and Ethan Trembath (bass guitar). All three members have Māori ancestry and several of their songs are written in the Māori language.


Alien Weaponry was formed in Auckland in 2010 by guitarist and vocalist Lewis de Jong and drummer Henry de Jong who were only 8 and 10 years old respectively.[1][2] The brothers named the band Alien Weaponry after watching the film District 9, and after moving to the small town of Waipu were joined by bass guitarist Ethan Trembath in April 2013.[3] Trembath replaced Wyatt Channings who had briefly played bass 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. Their mother Jette is also involved with the band, assisting with tours and publicity.[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 "Ru Ana Te Whenua" in October 2015. They received a $10,000 grant to complete recording of their song and produce a video in 2015[8] and then another two $10,000 NZ On Air grants in 2016 to record their singles "Urutaa" and "Raupatu" and produce music videos.

In 2016 the band was named by UK Metal Hammer Magazine as one of New Zealand's top 10 hard rock and metal acts.

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.[9] 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. 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. [10]

On the 17th of 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.[11] In December of 2018, Holding My Breath was the theme song for NXT TakeOver.[clarification needed]


Alien Weaponry released their debut EP The Zego Sessions and 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.[12][13][14] 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,[15] debuting at number five on the New Zealand album charts,[16] the top New Zealand album of the week.[17] The album had over a million streams on Spotify in its first week of release; and tracks from it were added to over 8,000 playlists worldwide, including Spotify's own metal genre playlists New Blood, New Metal Tracks, Kickass Metal and Thrash Metal Big 4 & Friends. Songs from the album were also playlisted by over 50 radio stations in the US in its first week, with the band's single "Kai Tangata" rocketing to no. 1 on the prestigious "Devil's Dozen" countdown for the Liquid Metal show on New York based Sirius XM toppling metal heavyweights Parkway Drive from the top slot.

Musical style 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 Maori 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. Says the band "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."

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 unjust 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 their great great great grandfather, Te Ahoaho, lost his life.[18]

The band’s musical style has been described as “nü-metal tinged thrash”[19], and “thrashing groove-metal”[20] with the band naming Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, and Lamb of God as inspirations. [21] They are also often likened to a Maori version of Roots-era Sepultura, both for their musical style and infusion of indigenous culture into their music.[22]


  1. ^ "Talented Waipu kids form band: Alien Weaponry". NZHerald. Northern Advocate. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Alien Weaponry Facebook Page". Alien Weaponry. Facebook. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Talented Waipu kids form band: Alien Weaponry". NZHerald. Northern Advocate. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  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". NZHerald. Rotarua Daily Post. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  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. ^ "Alien Weaponry Have Hit America Just In Time". Kerrang!. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Alien Weaponry on their huge year and why they want to be invited to play for Trump". Stuff. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  11. ^ Murray, Alice (30 January 2019). "New Alien Weaponry documentary follows the band's European tour". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Are these teenage metallers NZ's next big thing?". NZHerald. nzherald. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "Alien Weaponry". Music 101. Radio New Zealand. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
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  18. ^ Ashley Westerman (5 December 2017). "This New Zealand Band Is Trying To Save Maori Culture One Head Banger At A Time". NPR. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Ministry, Carpenter Brut, And Alien Weaponry Get Weird In New York City". Kerrang!. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Alien Weaponry: How Teenage Band Channels Māori Heritage Into Haka Thrash Metal". Revolver. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Q&A with te reo Māori metal band Alien Weaponry". 14 May 2018. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Alien Weaponry: How Teenage Band Channels Māori Heritage Into Haka Thrash Metal". Revolver. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2019.

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