Thrash metal band Alien Weaponry (Niel Hammerhead) made New Zealand music history this year when they won both the Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats competitions. Now, they’re about to launch an assault on the airwaves with their single ‘Urutaa’.
No ordinary three-piece, these young metallers from Northland – 14-year-old Lewis de Jong (guitar/vocals), his 16-year-old brother Henry (drums) and 14-year-old Ethan Trembath (bass) – have achieved more in the space of a few short years than some bands dare to dream of in a lifetime.
With a live show that both startles and awes their audiences, Alien Weaponry have more than earned their right to be called the ‘next big thing’ in New Zealand’s thriving metal scene. And if three teenagers with kick-ass attitude, commanding as much attention as a five-piece band three times their age, wasn’t enough to warrant hard out respect, the fact that many of their songs feature Te Reo Māori absolutely is.
The band explains that ‘Urutaa’ was originally about a clash of ideas and expectations, leading to stress and unhappiness, which was likened to a plague or urutaa. The Māori lyrics refer to specific events, which occurred in the Bay of Islands in the 1800s, in which a pocket watch was inadvertently dropped into the harbour culminating in what is now notoriously known as ‘The Burning of the Boyd’. The historic incident is used as a metaphor for the misunderstandings between cultures and generations and individuals who torment each other through lack of understanding.
Fittingly, ‘Urutaa’ (produced by Shihad drummer Tom Larkin) is a powerful, moving track filled with contrasts, that showcases the skill and craft Alien Weaponry apply to both their lyricism and instrumentation.
Hailing from the small Northland town of Waipu, the lads from Alien Weaponry honed their refreshingly unique sound and vibe while attending Bream Bay College and Otamatea High School. Last year, the band received a $10,000 grant from NZ On Air and this year, their blood, sweat and toil paid off with their history-making double whammy win at Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats.
Smokefreerockquest judge Jeff Newton from NZ on Air: “[Alien Weaponry’s] use of Te Reo was impressive. There’s really nothing like this in the world at the moment.”
And, the world is taking notice already, with the acclaimed UK magazine Metal Hammer recently including the trio in its “10 Best Metal Bands from New Zealand” feature (Oct 2016), describing them as “One for the future.”
The release of ‘Urutaa’ just adds weight to the powerful statement these three Northland teenagers have already made and continue to make. Alien Weaponry is like no other band that’s been before. Brace yourselves for the storm that’s coming!
Alien Weaponry’s ‘Urutaa’ is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, etc. from Friday December 2.