Alien Weaponry's Tangaroa: Māori metal sensations come of age

Kiwi groove metal upstarts Alien Weaponry dig deep into the roots of Māori culture and colonialism on second album Tangaroa

Alien Weaponry Tangaroa
(Image: © Napalm Records)

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In the 18 months that followed the release of debut album , New Zealand’s Alien Weaponry became arguably the hottest new metal band on the planet. Infusing their Māori roots with huge grooves and hooks was original and inspired – made even more impressive when everyone found out the members had an average age of 18 – and, when they took their live show across the world, people discovered they were really bloody good at that as well. Anticipation, therefore, is understandably high for their sophomore release, but after such a meteoric rise and a recent line-up change, it’s understandable to worry whether the young trio have managed to take everything in their stride

Thankfully, Tangaroa is the natural successor to . It’s a more mature release that sees Alien Weaponry both consolidate their sound and progress as an outfit. The factors that made them so beloved are still there. The album is stuffed with riffs and stories about their ancestors sung in their native Māori tongue, such as opening number Tītokowaru, but there’s more in terms of their personal lives and more recent, cultural history delivered with a boat-load of spite and anger. Ahi Kā speaks out about the colonisation of New Zealand by Britain, for example, whilst Crooked Monsters rages against abusers that escape justice.

Outgoing member Ethan Trembath contributes vocals on the venomous Dad – a bile-filled outburst against an absent parent. His successor, Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds, has taken to his role as bassist well, even contributing a guitar solo on the sprawling Unforgiven. As for the De Jong brothers – drummer Henry and guitarist/vocalist Lewis – they continue to be the beating heart that drives the band forward in every other aspect. With Tangaroa, they prove they’re not a flash in the pan; Alien Weaponry have come of age.

Tangaroa is released September 17 via Napalm