New Zealand based heavy metallers, Alien Weaponry, return with a brand new single called Ahi Kã, part of the latest Adult Swim compilation album, Metal Swim 2.
Alien Weaponry pretty much took the world by storm with their debut album, Tū, in 2018 via Napalm Records. The three young lads seriously impressed with their punishing riffs and thrash influences melded together with the tribal sounds of their ancestral Māori. We loved the new album but it wasn’t until seeing Alien Weaponry play at Bloodstock Festival 2018 that we realised that well, the hype was real. Read about that “I was there” moment here.
Alien Weaponry are Lewis de Jong on guitar and vocals with his brother, Henry de Jong on drums. Ethan Trembath is on bass guitar and vocals as well. All three members have Māori ancestry and several of their songs are written in te reo Māori.
Ahi Kã, like many of Alien Weaponry’s songs tells a story about an event in Maori history. In 1953, the Auckland city council elected to burn down a dilapidated Maori village ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II. This event fuelled a four-decade long battle as the Ngati Whatua tribe sought to reclaim their land. Part of the land was returned among growing global criticism.
Guitarist, Lewis, told Billboard (who premiered the track), “We decided to write about it because it’s one of these untold stories in New Zealand history that really had a great impact on a lot of Maori.” His brother Henry added, “For us, it’s something we felt needed to be brought to light more than it was. Me and Lewis are big fans of Adult Swim and all the shows. We thought this would be good for their compilation. If you really look into it, it’s also a commentary on what’s happening in the world, too. That’s happening to people all over the world still. I can’t understand it.”
Ahi Kã starts off with a little tribal, traditional sounding wind instrumentation and a deep toned guitar melody. Little drum rolls fill it out while a passage recited in Maori. It fills out more with guitars and drums before switching into a catchy building rhythm and then again into a punchy riff. It’s a great start. The vocals come in, sitting nicely on top of the hard hitting riff. They are higher in tone and have loads of backing shouts keeping that now familiar Alien Weaponry sound. As we hit the chorus, it fades away into a morose melody as samples from Queen Elizabeth II’s speech upon her visit to New Zealand are played. It’s different and cleverly done.
Her speech section fades out and turns back into the catchy ascending lead guitar from the intro. The second verse and chorus follow the same pattern but this time the sampled chorus comes from the Maori perspective before we move into the guitars again. A few cymbal crashes lead into a breakdown of sorts as the band shout the title on repeat while the instruments pound out a heavy riff and beat to pit hard to. A few repeats of this breakdown see the song come to a sudden stop.
Ahi Kã is a cracking song with a powerful message. I love how it has been pieced together. It’s very clever. The intense melodic tone and building anger. The samples used as choruses. It shows maturity and understanding way beyond their years. As importantly though it is just a very good metal song. The riffs are pretty standard but they are enough to get the point of the song across and to get heads banging. Good effort.
You can check out Ahi Ka at all the usual streaming services now. You can also check it out over at Adult Swim here. Find out more on these talented youngsters at their website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Ahi Kã by Alien Weaponry