Mixing metalheads with classical music fans: NZ Symphony Orchestra rocks out with Alien Weaponry

By Te Ao - Māori News
Te reo Māori thrash gets the classical mix. Photo credit / NZSO

Te reo Māori thrash metal gets a classical sound, as Alien Weaponry joins the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for two special performances.

The performances, titled Stronger Together, will be held in Hamilton and Christchurch later this month.

The three-piece band from Waipū have gone from strength to strength since their debut album Tū in 2018, with sold-out headline shows in Aotearoa, Australia, Europe and North America, and have played at some of the world's biggest music festivals, such as Download Festival. The album has also beaten the likes of Metallica, voted the best metal album of the decade in a Finnish music magazine's poll.

With their upcoming collaboration, it will be a first for the band to work with an orchestra and in the NZSO's 75-year history to work with a metal band.

Band members Henry de Jong, Lewis de Jong (Ngāti Pikiāo, Ngāti Raukawa) and Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds (Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine) say they can't wait to play.

"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 says.

“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 is 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,” Tūranga says.

NZSO chief executive Peter Biggs says classical and metal music 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.”

The performances will be at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton Bay on May 22, and the Christchurch Town Hall performance will be on May 29.