Alien Weaponry released their debut album in 2018 and have since sold out headline shows both at home and in Europe and North America.
The metal band from Waipu has gained huge popularity both here and overseas, with songs that include taonga puoro, and lyrics in te reo.
The band is made up of brothers Lewis and Henry de Jong, and their long-time friend Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds.
Having played with some of the world's biggest metal acts, they’re now taking the stage with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for Stronger Together.
“Growing up, our dad used to listen to baroque music and there’s so many elements of orchestral music and metal that just go really well together,” Lewis says.
“Being able to really work that into what we’re doing with our music and being able to complement it with this huge orchestra is really great."
It’s like listening to an epic movie soundtrack, he says. “A few songs in particular just really make me think of scenes from Lord of the Rings where you’ve got these wide sweeping shots of the hobbits and everyone running across these wide-open fields, like this gigantic quest and it’s got this huge soundtrack behind it, but then you add the metal.”
Audiences can expect to hear taonga puoro, like the pūtātara and pūrerehua, over orchestral backdrops but don't expect the band's signature sound to soften. Tūranga says the heaviest moments in their set are just as heavy with the orchestra, if not heavier.
“I’m not even knowing quite what to expect myself,” Henry says, “but I definitely think there’ll be a mosh pit there and I guess it’ll be interesting to see how the classical music heads take that kind of metal scene.”
“Hopefully no broken bones,” Lewis adds.
Stronger Together will be conducted by award-winning conductor Holly Mathieson, who's returned from overseas to lead the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the first time.
Speaking from managed isolation Holly says you’ll see “some pretty mental stuff from the orchestra” but in a way that doesn’t overpower the band.
The team from the orchestra were clear from day one they didn’t want Alien Weaponry delivering world class music with “beige orchestral music behind them”. It was important for it to be a collaboration and for the orchestra to amplify the music, she says.
“They’re the perfect two music genres to mix because metal heads and classical music heads are both obsessed with extremity of sound in a way that other music genres aren’t. Those are the two music genres that take it as far as it can go in every direction and both genres are really harmony based instead of melody based.”
Stronger Together will be performed in Hamilton on 22 May, and Christchurch on 29 May.