New Zealand’s kick-ass thrash metal band, Alien Weaponry, just dropped a new music video. It’s called “Whispers,” from the band’s recent debut album, called Tu.
Alien Weaponry is made up of Lewis de Jong (vocals, guitar), Henry de Jong (drums), and Ethan Trembath (bass). The de Jong brothers are of Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Raukawa descent, referring to themselves as “Stealth Maori.” They attended Maori language school until they were seven years old. Part of the daily discipline was singing waiata and performing haka.
In 2017, their song “Raupatu” won the APRA Maioha Award. The song is a thrash metal dissertation on what was called The New Zealand Settlements Act of 1863, allowing for the arrogation of land without compensation from any tribe declared “in rebellion against her majesty’s authority.” Essentially, it was a land grab.
Many of the band’s songs are in New Zealand’s native language, Te Reo Maori. Their previous music video, “Ru Ana Te Whenua” collected over one million YouTube and Facebook views, and spent two weeks atop Spotify’s NZ Viral chart, hitting the number two spot on iTunes’ global metal chart.
“Whispers” is about the Foreshore and Seabed Act of 2004, and the Trans Pacific Partnership of 2016.
“The government’s words are like whispers in our ears, telling us lies, to hide away our fears!”
The articulated intro to the song is an excerpt from a radio interview by journalist Kim Hill with Don Brash, who advocates elimination of supposed “special privileges” for Maori.
As drummer Henry de Jong explains, “It’s kind of scary how many people share his views. They don’t seem to understand that the current policies are there to help redress the imbalance that was caused after over a hundred years of colonization. During that time, millions of acres of Māori land were stolen, they were excluded from voting and children were punished for speaking Māori in schools, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. That sort of thing can’t be fixed with compensation alone – it takes time and goodwill from both sides.”
After the spoken introduction, “Whispers” opens with muscular guitars and Thor-like polyrhythmic drums. The energy projecting from the music pulsates with harsh-textured energy, so buff it almost hurts. De Jong’s growling, rasping tones imbue the tune with tight, nasty hues, like an impermeable membrane of raw urgency.
In the solo section, Alien Weaponry wisely foregoes blazing licks, opting for cavernous guitars and rumbling drums, infusing the tune with prodigal, wicked, Jovian gusto.
“Whispers” hits home with somatic consequences, like crashing into a train. This song is double-bing-bang hellishly superb.