Maori metal band sign international deal

Kiwi thrash metal band Alien Weaponry have signed an international deal with Napalm Records, which will bring their Te Reo Maori-infused music to a wider audience. File photo.

New Zealand's ‘Te Reo Metal' sensations, Alien Weaponry, have signed an international deal with Napalm Records in Europe, which will see their debut album marketed and sold worldwide.

The deal comes in the wake of the band signing with German-based management agency das Maschine last September, and announcing a European Festival tour which includes coveted slots at MetalDays in Slovenia and Wacken Open Air in Germany.

Sebastian Muench, A&R for Napalm Records, says the three Northland teenagers are ‘the youngest musicians we have ever added to the Napalm band roster, [and] also one of the most exciting and unique bands in recent years'.

“Their combination of old school thrash metal and Maori culture elements and language creates intense and energetic songs that should be highly attractive to all true genre fans, especially those who stopped listening to Sepultura after the ‘Roots' album.”

The young New Zealand music icons are equally thrilled to be working with Austrian-based Napalm – one of Europe's two big independent metal labels.

"Napalm is a great label for us to work with because their whakapapa includes a lot of thrash metal, which is where our roots are,” says 17-year-old drummer Henry de Jong. “So we fit within their whanau, but we're also doing something different, introducing our own language and style… we think we will both grow and benefit from this relationship.”

"Being based in Waipu [Northland], we are pretty much as far away as you can get from the heavy metal centre of the world (which to most metal fans is Wacken, Germany), so this is a massive step for us towards establishing our career internationally,” adds 15-year-old bass player Ethan Trembath.

Henry's younger brother, lead singer and guitarist Lewis de Jong (also 15) says the Napalm deal will make a huge difference to how their debut album is released.

“We were planning to release the album ourselves, on Waitangi Day, and although we have had to put it back a few months, it will allow us to take our music to the world. Napalm are also going to do a vinyl release, which lots of our fans have been asking for, so in the end it will be worth the wait.”

The album was recorded at Roundhead studios in Auckland over a period of two years, and will be released in the second quarter 2018, in advance of the band's European Festival tour, which kicks off with MetalDays in Slovenia at the end of July.

One of the band's most popular songs is ‘Ru Ana Te Whenua', which is about the de Jong brothers' ancestor, Te Ahoaho, who fought in the historic Battle of Gate Pa in Tauranga. It has more than 125,000 views on YouTube.



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