The rising star that is Northland teen metal band Alien Weaponry continues to soar with the band's album Tū judged the best debut release in New Zealand last year.
The band, brothers Henry, 18, and Lewis de Jong, 16, and friend Ethan Trembath, 16, from Waipū, won the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut album award at this week's prestigious Taite Music Prize awards for their debut album Tū.
The band has been wowing audiences around the globe with its unique brand of thrash metal that has songs in te reo Māori and this week's award caps a stellar year for the group.
They ticked off their lifelong goal and became the first New Zealand band to play the world's biggest metal music festival, Wacken Open Air in Germany, which draws about 80,000 metal fans from around the globe.
Despite their newcomer status, the band attracted a legion of new supporters and were left stunned when pockets among the huge crowd joined together to shout their te reo lyrics back to them.
"I saw like 20 Germans all singing the words to our Māori songs and it felt good," guitarist and lead singer Lewis said.
"It's an amazing feeling to have people enjoy what you did up there so much that they'll scream and make a huge ruckus like for a good five minutes after you've even walked off stage because they just wanted more," drummer Henry said.
"It's been our dream to play at Wacken and we're finally here. I just don't know how to describe how stoked I am."
Their blistering performance earned Alien Weaponry a string of rave reviews and left the audience chanting for more, impressing Wacken organisers and veteran festival fans.
They also supported industrial legends Ministry on a 22-date North American tour. As well debut album Tū has been praised around the globe for its unique mix of metal and te reo Māori.
The trio have been on a roll since winning Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats in 2016, and last year also won the Tui for Best Rock Artist, along with a series of other awards.
Taite award judges said their ground-breaking debut album delivered te reo Māori to metal fans worldwide. They receive a $2000 cash prize thanks to Auckland Live.
"Yet again, the outstanding calibre of nominees across a wide range of genres reflects the excellent health of New Zealand's music industry," said IMNZ chairman Mikee Tucker.
"In honour of the 10th celebration of the Taite Music Prize, I'm proud of what IMNZ has achieved for the indie music sector and would like to thank all the board members past and present for their contributions."
The Taite Music Prize highlights outstanding New Zealand albums released in the past calendar year. The award is open to all genres of music from any record label and judged on artistic merit, regardless of genre or sales. Named after the late Dylan Taite, one of the country's most highly respected music journalists, The Taite Music Prize recognises outstanding creativity in an entire collection of music contained on one recording.
The winner of the 10th annual Taite Music Prize is Avantdale Bowling Club (Tom Scott) for the debut album of his latest project;