Album Review: Tū by Alien Weaponry
I’ve said it from the beginning and I’ll say it again right now, just like Wu-Tang, Death Comes Lifting is for the children. Always has and always will be. THAT is why it just so happens that nothing makes me happier than seeing a band of youngsters carrying the torch for heavy metal. Not only are they carrying the thing, they’re raising it up higher, and screaming as they burn shit to the ground… and they’re doing it WELL. Not even relative to their age, they are just a kick ass band and that I’d put up against any band in the genre right now. It only makes it that much cooler that the oldest member of the trio is seventeen. While they’re songwriting capabilities are there, its the spin the put on their music that makes them soar above the rest.. in a UFO shooting laser beams targeted to melt the faces of generic metal bands. While they do not reinvent the metal songwriting wheel, they rather add their own spin on it. Alien Weaponry must be a bunch of adolescent mad scientists in a experimental laboratory of tribal chanting, chugging riffs, blast beats, along with vocal growls and melodies that Corey Taylor would throw a head banging nod to. They infuse all this madness into the record with a strong sense of culture and history of their native land, New Zealand. The history ain’t necessarily pretty, but neither is this record; and that’s what makes it so damn good.
Tū is aptly titled and largely representative of and infused with their Maori culture. The band being loud and proud descendants of the Ngati Pikiāo and Ngati Raukawa tribes, they effortlessly infuse this into their music throughout the entire record. Not only in the often deep, brutal, and war cries of lyrics, but also in the actual music itself. From the drums to literally having tribal chants and singing in the native language (!); it is legit as hell. I, admittedly being oblivious to the specifics of the Maori culture and history, did some research on that and the band itself. After reaffirming myself with that situation, it is not at all difficult to draw a few parallels between Alien Weaponry and their bad to the bone ancestors. For example, the haka is a traditional Maori war dance that Alien Weaponry took artistic license to blend into their breakdowns, effortlessly increasing the catchiness and heaviness of their thrash metal piece of barbaric metal. And, it’s basically just the coolest thing ever. As mentioned before, their native language is being sprinkled in pretty heavily throughout the album. Specifically, about half of the songs are in Maori, or at least partially. So when the english-spoken chorus hits in a few of these tunes, it hits hard. The melody Alien Weaponry conjure up and throw against the backsplash of ancient tribal anthems and native war cries really makes an intriguing contrast that ends up being super effective on the listener. They may be young, but the ain’t dumb… far from it. In fact, many songs are basically ripping thrash metal versions of history lessons; recounting tales of war and their warrior culture, as well as protest the 1800’s New Zealand colonial government for injustices thrown upon their people. And as you could imagine, this group of little dudes are pissed about it. And I respect the hell out them for it.
What makes this band, and this record, so important is their cultural embrace and desire to educate the world about it. In a heavy metal world full of rebellion and rejection (which I do not mind at all, mind you), throwing up middle fingers to your culture, society, authority, etc is generally the gold standard; especially from a group of sophomores in high school. That’s why its so refreshing and just simply cool of them to be proud of their culture and turn the hate back around on the bastards trying to suppress it. Its clearly something they don’t take lightly, and neither should anyone. It will, or should, at least, make you look at your own history or ancestry and spark the desire to embrace it in the same sense. That could be considered true rebellion, being proud of your homeland and standing up for it… no matter how dark or fucked up it may be. Alien Weaponry offer pure inspiration in that way. Leave it to a group of teenagers in 2018 to make crazy thrash metal deep, historical, and meaningful again. It seems like they’ve become some hometown heroes for having the courage to not only stand up for their culture, but for heavy metal. They’re doing a really special thing for heavy metal and flocking more people to it that otherwise maybe wouldn’t be interested. Alien Weaponry show that heavy metal is smart and insightful too, and we’re not all a bunch of dumb drunk kids beating up each other and praising Lucifer. It left me wishing more bands would do the same.
Although the record is full of the history and the culture stuff, it isn’t all that, which also works very well. Its not a complete tribute to their glory days of war, sacrifice, and death. Those songs are played very well against politically charged and anti-technology anthems that show these dudes are way ahead of their time in not only songwriting, but thinking. They drive home hard points and heavy rhythm sections that’ll make your blood boil (perfect for the gym, by the way. Alien Weaponry have become regulars on the lifting playlist with this one). The songwriting is there, the subject matter is there and well-balanced, the musicianship and passion are DEFINITELY there, and thats really all you can ask for. In addition everything packed into this 55-minute ancient extraterrestrial warrior musical experience, when you boil it down, its just an awesome, driving, fun, and exiting heavy metal record. And that’s exactly what it should be. Sure, all the songs are not 100%.. some things feel a little forced, a little jaded, maybe a tad cheesy; but that’s all minor. Very few bands are perfect and they’re no exception… I also don’t have to mention their age for the tenth time, but I cut them some slack for that anyways… And I don’t want them to fly to Pittsburgh and beat the shit out of me. All love, homies.
At the end of the day, this record rocks. This band kicks ass. You will learn something. It is one hell of a unique, refreshing, energizing, and rocking listening experience that I would recommend to any one. So, who’s down for a trip to New Zealand?? Until I make it there, I greatly anticipate what Alien Weaponry will do in their undoubtedly long and bright future. The boundaries of the cosmos seem to be the limit.
Rock Rating: 4/5
Gym Rating: 5/5
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