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Alien Weaponry: Tangaroa

Alien Weaponry have been making headlines for a while now, and it's not too hard to see why. A power trio from New Zealand made up entirely of young dudes with Maori ancestry, and they make no effort to conceal this in their new album Tangaroa. Rife with tribal beats and chants and with many of the songs in the traditional Maori language, Alien Weaponry are delivering their history and culture in the form of a modern groove metal assault. Funnily enough, while all of this sounds fresh and innovative to some degree, after a few listens through Tangaroa, I can't help but feel that I've heard almost all of this before on a sonic level.

All three guys in Alien Weaponry can carry their own as far as their respective instruments go, and that's for damn sure. There's plenty of tight rhythmic riffage, double kick fills, and wandering thumping basslines to be had throughout Tangaroa, and during the more complex moments it's all very Gojira-esque. That said, while there are good riffs here and there the album as a whole tends to drag on at one speed and many of the songs tend to plod and groove on and on but rarely lead to any sort of interesting payoff. There's very little to differentiate some of the songs on here, and it highlights a problem with this style of syncopated chug-a-thon groove metal that has always bothered me. The lack of dynamics just make everything sound the same. The vocals don't help much to rectify this, as they are firmly planted in "mid range bark" land, with very little variation.

Right from the start with the album opener "Titokawaru" there's a very obvious comparison to a fairly divisive album from years past that needs to be made. Tangaroa definitely gives off very strong Sepultura Roots vibes with the pounding and ritualistic tribal beats and gang vocals that ooze from every minute of the album. I never liked that album, and if you didn't either then you aren't probably going to find a ton to like here. While the riffs and production do bring a more modern edge to Alien Weaponry's sound, the similarities are all too obvious to ignore.

If the guys could actually get out of this slow to mid-tempo rut they find themselves in on here, I could actually see myself getting into Tangaroa given what they do well. The standout riffs on "Titokawaru" and some of the killer drum fills and bass runs on the album are actually quite stellar, and if they could just keep that going for longer than a brief spurt then we'd be talking. All the interesting bits of the album just can't escape the black hole of tedium that is the groove metal skeleton of Tangaroa.

Alien Weaponry are very young, and the future remains bright for them regardless of what I think about their latest album. Metal like this has been all the rage for the better part of a decade now and with new albums by Gojira and all their sound-a-likes this year I don't see it stopping anytime soon. Add in their unique origin and (commendable) mission to tell the tales of their ancestors and native land and they have a recipe for media attention and success that should serve them well. Personally, until they cut the fat and just decide to let loose and serve up the riffs and deliver songwriting with a purpose, I'll pass.

1. Titokowaru
2. Hatupatu
3. Ahi Kā
4. Tangaroa
5. Unforgiving
6. Blinded
7. Kai Whatu
8. Crooked Monsters
9. Buried Underground
10. Dad
11. Īhenga
12. Down the Rabbit Hole

Added: December 22nd 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 856
Language: english

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