The first time I heard of Alien Weaponry I was expecting crossover thrash. I can’t be the only one, can I? The name just screams battle jackets, flipped caps, and skateboards. When I listened to what they had to offer, I thought “for shame, sir”. My expectations were instantly obliterated, and I was an immediate fan of their original blend of groove metal and Maori culture. I even had the opportunity of seeing them perform at Slovenia’s legendary Metaldays this Summer, where they absolutely killed it. Tonight they played their very first Belgian gig, backed up by Mingawash (BE) and Chabtan (FR). Now how would a fast growing band such as these New-Zealanders fare in a low-key venue like Le Cercle in Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont, you ask? Well, I found out all right.
The night kicks off with Mingawash, a ten-piece nu-metal band from Tournai, Belgium. Performing exclusively in French, their mix of metal and comedy works miracles for warming up a crowd that was still a little shy to move around so soon. I wondered at some point whether there were really supposed to be more people on stage than in the crowd. But as we grew more numerous, and once they connected with us through some light-hearted interaction and jokes, the show quickly turned into a party.
They are usually accompanied by their Panda mascot named Roy, but he had to excuse himself due to some serious back pains. No matter though. Their set didn’t suffer, as the energy just flowed off the stage. Both vocalists, Martin & Clément, succeeded in giving the very best of themselves, alternating between growls and clean vocals reminiscent of Sikth and Pleymo. All while being strongly backed by ever-smiling musicians, who seemed to enjoy their own performance just as much as we did. And let’s not forget the two lovely cherries on top of this cirque du freak of a cake, that were Mingawash‘s gogo girls who donned, not corpse paint, but cute panda make-up. This Avataresque heavy metal cabaret had us rocking from start to finish.
Be sure to check them out at one of the following dates:
22/09 – Le Salon – Silly
28/09 – Canal 10 – Hautrage
06/10 – Tattoo Convention – Mons
21/10 – Pacifique FM – Tournai
09/11 – Maison des Jeunes – Tamines
01/12 – Fontaine l’Evêque
FFO: Avatar, Pleymo, Watcha, …
I am sorry to say these Parisians had the worst of luck tonight. Apart from several sound issues during their set (bass too loud, not enough guitars, muffled drums, etc) , they had to cut it short due to a sound check that lasted way too long. You could tell these dudes had played better shows in the past. I was however appreciative of the mesoamerican themes Chabtan brought to the table on a tray of melodeath the likes of early Arch Enemy. I even got nostalgic at some point because their sound was so old school on the more melodic parts, that they reminded me of the metalcore period of 2005-2006. Despite this their set seems less heavy live than it does on their album. And I don’t know if it is to the detriment of their performance or not.
FFO: God Forbid, Arch Enemy, old school In Flames, …
Alien Weaponry (*****)
I don’t like to think of Alien Weaponry as kids, because their skill far surpasses their young age. I was a fan before I even knew they were so young. Besides, music’s what they’re all about. After a little chat with them I could clearly tell I was dealing with driven musicians who are not only passionate about their craft, but proud of it too. They bring us some of the catchiest thrash-influenced groove metal, with lyrical content in both English and Maori.
The New-Zealander trio knows how to rule a stage, be it through the sheer power of their performance, or their interaction with the crowd. The music is easy to follow, yet still heavy as hell. Many of their choruses are immediately singable, which gives you that much more of a connection with the band. Alien Weaponry are invested in their music and love bringing it to us. And we love hearing it. Although the crowd were less numerous than they should have been, the night turned into an unforgettable show with plenty of headbanging, moshpits, stage diving and even some crowdsurfing. The perfect ingredients for a great night out. Five stars, guys. Five stars!
Holding My Breath
Rage – It Takes Over Again
The Things That You Know
Ru Ana Te Whenua
Alien Weaponry returns to Belgium on September 21st at the Muziekodroom in Hasselt, with Hedonist, Spoil Engine and Hell City. Be there or be square!
FFO: Soulfly, Sepultura, Trivium, …