What was once a dream is about to become a reality for the Māori thrash metal band Alien Weaponry. Next August they will be the first New Zealand band ever to take the stage at Wacken Open Air, the world's biggest and most prestigious heavy metal festival.
Guitarist and lead singer Lewis de Jong says, “We set a goal when we were 10 and 12 to play at Wacken [Germany] before we reached our twenties.
We would watch YouTube videos of these giant crowds stretching to the horizon, just moshing hard out and doing enormous circle pits and go, ‘Yeah, that’s what we want to be doing.’ I know it’s just the beginning, but being invited to play at Wacken Open Air feels like we’re making it as a metal band.”
The band has known about the opportunity for three months, despite it being officially announced at midnight last night.
“It’s funny because most people are counting down to Christmas at the moment, but we have been counting down to the day we can tell people we’re on the bill at Wacken,” says bass player, Ethan Trembath.
Wacken Open Air attracts metal fans from all over the world each year, with all 75,000 tickets typically selling out less than 24 hours after they go on sale, before the lineup is even announced.
Headliners for the 2018 festival include Brazilian metal giants Sepultura and ‘Godfathers of British Metal’ Judas Priest.
“We are often compared with Sepultura [who sing in Portugese as well as English] because quite a lot of our songs are in Te Reo Maori,” says drummer Henry de Jong. “So it will be cool to play at Wacken with them and hopefully meet them.”
The band is also hoping to meet Judas Priest, either at Wacken or Metaldays in Slovenia, where both Judas Priest and Alien Weaponry are also performing.
“We saw Judas Priest at Westfest in Auckland 3 years ago and they were amazing,” says Ethan. “It’s still hard to believe we will actually be playing the same festivals as them next year.”
Alien Weaponry is grateful to Creative New Zealand for assistance with their travel costs to Europe, and will be announcing more European festival dates via their Facebook page in the coming weeks.
They have just finished recording their debut album at Roundhead studios, which will be released in early 2018 and can be pre-ordered via their crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo.