The metal gods came to the Powerstation last night as Waipu’s favourite sons Alien Weaponry concluded their national Level One Tour in front of an energetic and passionate crowd of metal heads.
After making a huge impression on the European festival circuit over the last two years with their Te Reo infused brand of thrash metal, 2020 has been a different challenge for the Alien Weaponry boys, faced with a lack of touring opportunities and a line-up change.
Long-time bass player Ethan Trembath left the band earlier this year and was replaced by Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds, with this tour being Morgan-Edmonds first live outing with the group. Given this, it would be interesting to see how the newbie would slot into the group dynamic and how fans themselves would respond to this new fresh energy.
However, eager fans, of which there were many, would have to wait to see the new line-up, as kicking proceedings off first was Hamilton band Seas of Conflict.
Giving off a Slipknot/Deftones vibe, the boys from the Waikato did a fantastic job in warming up the crowd with some ear-splintering hardcore metal that was very well received I must say.
Seas of Conflict
Whatever lead singer Kody Naidoo does to keep his voice in such good condition given the amount of screaming he does it must work a treat, as he put in so much effort every song. He even chipped his tooth on the mic he was that much into his performance.
With Seas of Conflict well and truly having warmed up the crowd, for Alien Weaponry’s set, this sea of all ages metal fans was up for it and ready to go.
Beginning with a band karakia, brothers Henry and Lewis de Jong and newbie Tūranga had the crowd in raptures from the first song. Henry was ferocious on the drums from the get-go keeping everything in check, while allowing Lewis and Turanga to lead from the front, with their riffage going down a treat in front of a crowd who I guess would have chalked up thousands of metal shows in their time.
Tūranga slotted in perfectly waving his rather large mop of hair intensely all the time while keeping a heavy thud on the bass. You really couldn’t tell he was new, and the way he gelled with the brothers was something to behold. I guess it is no surprise they all went to school together.
Most of the songs in the set were from their award-winning 2018 album Tū and included fan favourites "Raupatu", "Kai Tangata" and "Rū Ana te Whenua", all of which the crowd got down to in a massive way with some of the most intense moshing I have ever seen at a show. The moshing was so intense I was nearly even knocked off my feet on one occasion, despite being a bystander to proceedings.
There was enough time for some new tracks also, many of which retained that classic Alien Weaponry sound that they are starting to perfect. I am talking about that sludgy guitar, thrashing drums and of course, the harmony vocals.
With this, clearly, the band are getting into album mode as they even had time to film a music video during the set, complete with choreographed crowd moves which these metal fans were more than happy to involve themselves in, all be it with some encouragement.
I first saw Alien Weaponry four years ago and it is hard to believe this is the same band. Their progression as live performers has been immense and you would not be wrong for saying they are now world-class when it comes to metal.
As performers, their musicianship is top notch, while the tightness of their playing at times beggar’s belief given how thrash metal, in particular, can be so technical and precise. These guys though are noticeably looser in their playing, allowing overall for a much more passionate performance style which comes across as being more enjoyable for both band and fan.
If last night was anything to go by the future of metal should be in good hands. It was an all-ages show and after all, all it takes is for one of the kids who were watching to want to form a band to ensure Alien Weaponry’s job is done in helping continue the metal lineage in Aotearoa. Rock on hard I say.
Radio 13 thanks and credits Ginny C Photography for all the images in the review.