Aotearoa's Alien Weaponry, hailed as one of the most exciting young metal bands in the world, unite with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for two special performances in May.
Stronger Together in Kirikiriroa Hamilton and Ōtautahi Christchurch will be a unique music experience for audiences, the NZSO and Alien Weaponry. The concerts are Alien Weaponry's first with an orchestra and the first collaboration with a metal band in the NZSO's 75-year history.
Embraced by audiences and critics around the world, the three-piece from Waipu have gone from strength to strength since their 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," says Lewis.
"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."
"Being trained as a classical pianist when I was a child, I've always wanted to play in the true orchestra experience," says Tūranga.
"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 says audiences will be blown away.
"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&M with the San Francisco Symphony sold in the millions.
"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 says the band are one of 2021's breakthrough acts.
"We've been singing Alien Weaponry's praises for a while now, and they've lived up to our wildest expectations at every turn."
The Hamilton concert is at Claudelands Arena on Saturday, May 22 at 7.30pm.
Tickets are available at ticketek.co.nz