Alien Weaponry Release Historically Minded New Adult Swim Single 'Ahi Ka': Premiere

Alien Weaponry
Piotr Kwasnik

Alien Weaponry

Alien Weaponry has certainly kept things heavy since blasting out of Waipu, New Zealand, some five years ago. Now, the group takes on a heavy, dark episode in its homeland’s history with “Ahi Ka,” its contribution to new Adult Swim compilation Metal Swim 2 that’s premiering today on Billboard.

“Ahi Ka” was inspired by the Auckland city council’s decision to burn down what is considered to be the unsightly indigenous Maori village of Okahu Bay in advance of Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 visit. The eviction sparked a 40-year battle for the native Ngati Whatua to reclaim their land, including protests and battles with the police. Amid worldwide criticism, a small portion of the original land was ultimately returned with an apology and some compensation.

“We decided to write about it because it’s one of these untold stories in New Zealand history that really had a great impact on a lot of Maori,” guitarist Lewis de Jong tells Billboard about the song. His older brother, drummer Henry de Jong, adds, “For us, it’s something we felt needed to be brought to light more than it was. Me and Lewis are big fans of Adult Swim and all the shows. We thought this would be good for their compilation."

"If you really look into it, it’s also a commentary on what’s happening in the world, too," Jong cintinues. "That’s happening to people all over the world still. I can’t understand it.”

Listen to “Ahi Ka” below:

Adult Swim writer/producer Laura Sterritt approached Alien Weaponry to participate in Metal Swim 2, which arrives May 3. The streaming-only compilation features tracks from bands including Eyehategod, Baroness, Sunn O))) and Nervosa. “Ahi Ka” also serves as a between-albums teaser for the teenage trio, who hit No. 1 in New Zealand with their 2018 debut album, Tu.

The set (like the new single) is sung in New Zealand’s Te Reo Maori language, and features songs about British rule over the Maori (“Raupatu”), one of the de Jongs’ freedom-fighter ancestors (“Ru Ana Te Whenua”), ancient Maori warrior customs (“Kai Tangata”) and the country’s current political climate (“Holding My Breath”) that showcase a muscular blend of blazing guitar and a thundering rhythm section.

Alien Weaponry will also be releasing a video for “Ahi Ka,” featuring footage that was shot while recording the song. It comes in advance of the act’s upcoming North American tour, their first as a headliner after previously supporting industrial veterans Ministry. The trek, which is promoting Tu, will begin May 4 in Mexico City. Alien Weaponry also has been rehearsing in the studio and working on new material, as well as filming a video for another upcoming track called “Don’t.”

“This whole month we’re doing songwriting and recording,” reports Henry. “I think we’ve all been blown away by the response we’ve had. It’s so much more than we ever could have expected as a tiny little New Zealand band.”

“It’s made us excited to do more,” adds Lewis. “We’re just hoping that the second album can be even better.”

Alien Weaponry tour dates:

May 4     Mexico City@Domination Festival*

May 6     Dallas@Cambridge Room@House of Blues

May 7     Houston@Bronze Peacock Room@House of Blues

May 8     Austin@3TEN@Austin City Limits Live 

May 11     Rockingham, N.C.@Epicenter Festival*

May 12     Washington, D.C.@DC9

May 13     Boston@The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub

May 15     New York, N.Y.@Saint Vitus Bar

May 16     Montreal@L’Esco

May 17     Toronto@Velvet Underground

May 19     Chicago@Chicago Open Air*

May 22     Minneapolis@First Avenue & 7th St. Entry

May 24     Pryor, Okla.@Rocklahoma*

May 26     Denver@Bluebird Theater 

May 28     San Francisco@Bottom of the Hill

May 29     Los Angeles@The Roxy Theatre

*: Festival date