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This event is 19 and over
Thrash metal band Alien Weaponry are “one of the most exciting young metal bands in the world
right now” according to Revolver Magazine in the USA. And they’re not the only ones who thinks
so. Since they released their debut album ‘Tū’ on 1 June 2018, fans, bloggers, the music industry
and the media worldwide have raved about Alien Weaponry’s unique blend of thrash metal and
their native language, Te Reo Māori.
In the first three weeks after its release, ‘Tū’ had over a million streams on Spotify, and has been
listed among the top albums of 2018 by musical institutions including Revolver, Loudwire, Metal
Hammer and many others. Three months after the album was released, Napalm Records had to
produce more CDs after selling out of the first run.
The single ‘Kai Tangata,’ released in May 2018, has had nearly 1.5 million views on YouTube and
spent 3 months from July to September 2018 in the no. 1 slot on the Liquid Metal show’s Devil’s
Dozen, broadcast by New York based Sirius FM and syndicated throughout the USA. In June 2018,
the video for Kai Tangata was the ‘Most Added Metal Song’ on US Cable Channel Music Choice
(delivering to 50 million households).
The band has been touring Australia and Europe since early July 2018, where they have sold out
venues and attracted record numbers to stages at Wacken Open Air (Germany), MetalDays
(Slovenia), Bloodstock (UK) and other festivals.
In their home country, New Zealand, the three teenagers from the tiny town of Waipu in
Northland won the prestigious APRA Maioha award for their song ‘Raupatu’ (a no punches pulled
commentary on the 1863 act of parliament that allowed the colonial government to confiscate
vast areas of land from the indigenous Māori people); and are finalists in six categories at the
Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.
The de Jong brothers (lead singer/guitarist Lewis, 16; and drummer Henry, 18) are of Ngati Pikiāo
and Ngati Raukawa (Māori tribal) descent; and began their schooling at a kura kaupapa Māori (full
immersion Māori language school). While singing waiata and performing haka were a daily routine
there, also ingrained in their early learning were stories of New Zealand history told to them by
their father – giving rise to songs like ‘Raupatu’, ‘Urutaa’ (about an early Māori-European contact
incident which resulted in an outbreak of sickness; and the subsequent revenge – the burning of
the ship The Boyd and the massacre of its crew); and ‘Rū Ana te Whenua’ (which tells the story of
the mighty battle at Pukehinahina/Gate Pa in 1864 where their ancestor, Te Ahoaho, lost his life).
The band’s English language material is equally hard-hitting, with songs like ‘Rage,’ ‘Holding My
Breath,’ ‘Hypocrite,’ and ‘PC Bro’ addressing everything from a schoolyard punch-up to teenage
mental health issues, and the hypocrisy of teachers, the media and reality TV shows alike.
“We listened to all sorts of music when we were younger,” says Lewis, “but we were drawn to
thrash metal because it’s quite complex music, and it is a great vehicle for expressing real stories
“It also works with Te Reo Māori,” adds Henry. “Both the musical style and the messages have a
lot of similarities with haka, which is often brutal, angry and about stories of great courage or
Early musical influences included Metallica, Anthrax, Rage Against the Machine and the Red Hot
Chilli Peppers; with current favourites including Lamb of God, System of a Down, Gojira and
Trivium. The brothers wrote their first song together when they were 8 and 10 years old and the
band’s name was also decided then – inspired by the movie District 9.
Bass player Ethan Trembath (16) met Lewis while they were honing their unicycling skills at the
local circus school in Waipu, where the de Jong brothers moved to in 2012. He scored the job in
Alien Weaponry because he could play the ukulele and (at age 10) he was the first one of their
friends who could reach the end of the bass guitar. Now, he is the world’s youngest and New
Zealand’s only Spector bass endorsed artist.