Alien Weaponry

The Maori wardance, or ‘Haka’ is one of the coolest, most metal things ever (here’s a video if you have not seen one ), and I’m surprised it has not been more prevalent in metal, especially considering the violence and bloodshed deeply seeded in Maori/New Zealand history.

Well here is Auckland’s teenage trio, Alien Weaponry (allegedly taken from the movie District 9- more coolness) infusing thrash/groove metal with Maori lyrics, themes and imagery. The metal back bone is a sort of groovy Pro Pain meets Helmet down-tuned almost Nu metal, but the infusion of tribal /haka elements is used to good effect and is a perfect fit for heavy metal, resulting in an often unique and bloodcurdling rousing affair, that has some similarities to Sepultura’s divisive Roots album or Ektomorf when used. Unfortunately, it only encompasses about half of the album.

On (short for ‘Tumatauenga,’ the Māori god of war) there is a clear split between the likes of intro  “Whaikōrero”, “Ru Ana Te Whenua”, “Raupatu”, “Kai Tangata”, “Urutaa” “Kai Tangata”, ““Te Ara” and then tracks like “Holding my Breath”, “Whispers”, “PC Bro”, “Rage- It Takes Over Again”, “Nobody Here” and “Hypocrite”. The former sung in Maori with more tribal elements and chants , and the latter while still often sung in the native tongue and dealing with Maori history and culture are more straight ahead simple, chunky groove metal.

And the quality between the two is pretty clear as well. The standouts are  rousing opener “”Ru Ana Te Whenua”, grooving “Raupatu”, the album’s clear centerpiece “Kai Tangata”, and instrumental “Te Ara”. Not that the others are chopped liver, and they cover some important Maori themes and socio-political issues, it’s just that other than the surprisingly catchy “The Things That You Know” (where you can really hear the Helmet influence) , they really don’t deliver much more than generic down-tuned groove metal, but then again these are basically high school kids we are talking about here.

Still, this is a pretty interesting album, it has a big beefy production,  a nice bottom end, Lewis de Jong has a decent array of clean and hoarse shouts and as a whole, it’s  pretty enjoyable. But considering the age of the band, I expect some development and growth as they mature and further fine tune their unique ethnic influence, which I hop is utilized more on future efforts.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 10th, 2018


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