Album Review: Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa (Napalm Records)

In the past few years, no emerging metal band has shaken up the international metal scene like Alien Weaponry – featuring 21-year-old Henry de Jong (drums), 19-year-old Lewis de Jong (guitars, vocals) and 21-year-old new bassist Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds.

Since releasing their acclaimed Napalm Records debut Tū (2018), the New Zealanders’ kinetic presence and unique sound – combining elements of thrash and groove metal with lyrics in the native indigenous language, te reo Māori — has attracted throngs of fans and media supporters across the globe.

Now Alien Weaponry are poised to dominate with the sheer ruthlessness and untempered passion of their fervid sophomore release, Tangaroa. It will be released on September 17th, 2021.

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If there was any pressure on Alien Weaponry to live up the insane hype that has surrounded them the past few years, you wouldn’t know it. Not only does Tangaroa see the Māori metallers knock all expectations out of the park but the trio also show that they’re developing and moving forward!

Fear not though, the blend of traditional Māori vocals, chants and more are still heavily present. As is Alien Weaponry’s groove and thrash fondness, the two elements coming together as beautifully and as spectacularly as ever. The opener Titokowaru has a chest beating nature about it but the groove of the guitars really keeps this track ticking along. A head-banger that is going to absolutely slay live.

Meaner and meatier sounding, chunky guitars, rolling drum beats and fiery vocals makes Hatupatu another firm favourite. Before Ahi Kā has the band light a fire under heavy metal. A slow burn that turns into an inferno, Alien Weaponry rage against oppression in their own unique way. Easily one of the best tracks the band has put out there.

Not willing to let you forget that thrash is major part of their make-up, the title track features furious bursts of heaviness with cleaner and English-sung lyrics focusing on planetary destruction at the hands of humanity.

How about something really different though? Unforgiving is a lengthy melodramatic effort that builds from powerful and chill melodies into something quite monstrous. The focus initially on the vocals, the guitars freshen things up until a building drum beat signals a change in direction and Alien Weaponry showcase a deeper and more complex style of playing. One of the band’s most unique sounding tracks with a kick-ass solo to add the cherry on top.

The halfway point on this album of the year contender comes with Blinded and the crashing of instruments. A methodical heavy pace and a chorus that will have many shouting along to the lyrics “don’t take me for granted”.

Take a quick breath as the second half of the album sees Alien Weaponry continuing their heavy, head-banging and Māori infused ways with the sharp riff work and thrashy chunkiness of Kai Whatu. Following that, Crooked Monsters is a moody instrumental with a ‘jazz’ feel that transforms halfway through into something rawer and more impassioned.

Simpler, as detailed and important sounding as ever, but just as head-smashingly heavy; Buried Underground and Dad both continue to see Alien Weaponry blow expectations out of the water. Before Īhenga delivers one of the album’s best examples of the progression in this band as we get dark moodiness, Gojira-esqe technicality and a marrying of traditional Māori choir vocals and chants with metal’s nastier side.

All good things must and end and it’s with Down the Rabbit Hole that Alien Weaponry draw a line under their incredible new album. One last fervent display that showcases imagination while being one last chance to head-bang your soul into oblivion.

The hype is real. Alien Weaponry are right on course for world domination.

Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa Full Track Listing:

1. Tītokowaru
2. Hatupatu
3. Ahi Kā
4. Tangaroa
5. Unforgiving
6. Blinded
7. Kai Whatu
8. Crooked Monsters
9. Buried Underground
10. Dad
11. Īhenga
12. Down The Rabbit Hole


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Alien Weaponry - Tangaroa (Napalm Records)
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