The NZSO will mix classical music with thrash metal when it plays with
Northland band Alien Weaponry. Photo / Latitude Creative
Classical music and thrash metal will collide when Northland's world-famous Alien Weaponry play with the NZ Symphony Orchestra.
The band - from Waipū, but now known around the world for their mix of te reo and metal - have been hailed as one of the most exciting young metal bands in the world.
They've earned the reputation playing at some of the largest metal festivals across the globe and some prestigious support slots.
And in May the power trio will unite with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for two special performances.
Stronger Together in Kirikiriroa, Hamilton and Ōtautahi, Christchurch will be a unique music experience for audiences, with the NZSO and Alien Weaponry performing together.
The performance will include material from their award-winning 2018 album Tū and their soon-to-be-released second album Tangaroa.
The concerts are Alien Weaponry's first with an orchestra and the NZSO's first collaboration with a metal band in its 75-year history.
Embraced by audiences and critics around the world, the three-piece from Waipū have gone from strength to strength since debut album Tū in 2018.
The band have sold out headline shows in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and North America; opened for metal heavyweights Slayer, Anthrax, Ministry, Black Label Society and Prophets of Rage; and played main-stage sets to record crowds at some of the world's biggest and most prestigious music festivals.
Alien Weaponry deliver emotionally and politically charged stories of conflict and grief with a warrior-like attitude, with many of the songs sung in te reo Māori. Some, including the high-octane Kai Tangata, incorporate taonga puoro.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Lewis de Jong, drummer Henry de Jong (Ngāti Pikiāo and Ngāti Raukawa) and bass player Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds (Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Wai and Ngāti Hine) can't wait to play with the NZSO, led by renowned New Zealand conductor Holly Mathieson.
"I've always loved the idea of incorporating orchestral music with contemporary music, and when I heard that the NZSO wanted to collaborate with us I was really excited," Lewis said.
"I think there is going to be a very interesting mix of people who come to the show, mixing the metalheads with the classical music fans. One thing for sure, the mosh pits will be insane."
Tūranga said being trained as a classical pianist when he was a child, he had always wanted to play in the true orchestra experience.
"And now to be able to be a part of something involving the talented team of the NZSO, I am super excited, and I'm so glad I get to join it with our passion for heavy metal too."
NZSO chief executive Peter Biggs said audiences will be blown away by the performances.
"Classical and metal share much of the same DNA. Many of metal and hard rock's biggest names, including Eddie van Halen, loved and took inspiration from classical composers and performers. Metallica's live album S with the San Francisco Symphony sold in the millions,'' Biggs said.
"While we've collaborated with some of Aotearoa New Zealand's best-known bands and artists, for us to finally play with a metal band of Alien Weaponry's calibre will be one of the highlights of 2021."
In 2019 Alien Weaponry beat the likes of Metallica to take the top spot in a Finnish music magazine's poll for best metal album of the decade.
American music magazine Revolver said the band are one of 2021's breakthrough acts.