The earth will tremble on 8 July when thrash metal band Alien Weaponry takes the stage at Totara Street, Mt Maunganui. The performance coincides with the much anticipated release of their single Rū Ana Te Whenua (The Earth Trembles) on June 30.
The teenagers made headlines a year ago when they became the youngest act ever to be awarded a NZ On Air Making Tracks grant to record the song, which they originally performed at the Smokefree Rockquest and Pacifica Beats finals in 2015. However, when the band won the national finals of both competitions in 2016, the release of Rū Ana Te Whenua was put on hold while they recorded and released four more tracks – Urutaa, Hypocrite, Raupatu and PC Bro – and played a number of sold out shows around the country to support these.
“Rū Ana Te Whenua was supposed to be our first single,” says bass player Ethan Trembath (15). “But when we won Rockquest and Pacifica Beats, we had obligations to fulfill, and it was great that we got funding to record more songs, so even though it’s been a long wait, it has worked out well.”
The band chose the Bay of Plenty venue at Totara St to begin the release tour for Rū Ana TeWhenua, because the song is about the de Jong brothers’ ancestor, Te Ahoaho, who fought in the historic battle at Gate Pā nearby. In the 1864 battle, 230 Māori dug themselves into the hilltop at Pukehinahina and withstood the heaviest artillery bombardment the British army has ever delivered, resulting in a crushing defeat for the 1700 strong British forces and changing the course of history.
“When we were younger our Dad would tell us stories about all sorts of events and battles as we were driving places,” says lead singer/guitarist Lewis de Jong (15). “At the time we didn’t pay that much attention, but now we incorporate those stories into our music.”
The brothers, of Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Raukawa descent, attended a full immersion kura kaupapa Māori until the ages of 7, where singing waiata and performing haka were a daily routine; and about half of their songs are in Te Reo Māori.
“Thrash metal and Te Reo Māori are a great combination,” says drummer Henry de Jong (17). “Both the style of thrash metal and its messages have a lot of similarities with haka, which is often brutal, angry and about stories of great courage or loss.”
The performance at Totara St on 8 July will be the first time Alien Weaponry has played at the Mount in three years – they supported Devilskin on their We Rise tour in 2014 after bass player Paul ‘The Axe Man’ Martin played their demo material on his show The Axe Attack.
“We have been really fortunate to have the support of people like Paul Martin and (producer) Tom Larkin, as well as Rockquest and NZ On Air,” says Lewis de Jong. “It has definitely helped us to move forward.”