Reo Māori metal band Alien Weaponry have released their début album 'Tū' that has shot to the number one spot on the charts despite the same-day release with popular New Zealand reggae band Katchafire and their album Legacy. The Waipū-based trio dropped Tū on June 1st and it has already had over a million streams on Spotify. The two brothers of Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Raukawa, Lewis and Henry de Jong along with Ethen Trembath comprise the band whose songs have sing-a-long melodies, political themes, catchy riffs driven with thunderous metal thrashing reo Māori vocals.
15-year-old lead singer Lewis De Jong told Kawekōrero their success had even been announced at his schools' assembly. Drummer and older brother Henry says their success so far has been a 'buzz'.
"I just can't believe that we've come as far as we've come in the past couple of years, and if you'd have asked me a year ago where we would be right now I couldn't have told you this, I couldn't have imagined it," says Henry.
Earlier this year the band signed a deal with independent Austrian record company Napalm, known for taking in metal and hard rock bands. Alternative music magazine Hysteria has a favourable review of Tū writing, 'Driving riffs echo the pounding footsteps of a war party in Kai Tangata, an emotionally layered vocal range laces the very political Nobody Here, while Raupatu runs with a trash-heavy riff and a meaty bass line that destroys all the other tracks as the album’s most brutal song.'
For many first time listeners, the mix of metal music and Māori is impressive.
"A lot of people have drawn that comparison with haka and metal, both being really aggressive, and very passionate and often talking about some very courageous stories and passionate things, so really it just works for us and we were inspired to do that by the Smokefree Pasifika Beats competitions so we entered that's why we wrote Rū Ana Te Whenua which was our first song we ever wrote in Māori," says Henry de Jong.
The trio are off to Australia and Europe in July to promote their album internationally.