Less doubling down on the Sepultura/Gojira aspect of Alien Weaponry’s brand of World Metal, Tangaroa is intent to carve its’ own path by creating a defining moment for the young New Zealand trio and solidify their status as one of the brightest stars in the current heavy music scene.
2018’s Tu was one of those records that we massively overlooked not once but twice. And while it did end up on our annual year end best of list, it never got a proper review in these pages. So to say we were excited to rectify that glaring omission when the follow-up arrived in our digital mailbox a few weeks ago would be an understatement. And to say that Tangaroa far exceeds expectations would be an even greater understatement.
Close to the start, “Hatubatu” is a rollercoaster ride of riffs providing a sonic bludgeoning with an especially HUGE chorus that just keeps going and going with a burgeoning intensity which gets heavier and heavier and swells to a monstrous pinnacle then slays with one last swerve before jamming out until the conclusion. “Ahi Ka” rages, rumbling forward from Tūranga Porowini Morgan-Edmonds’s solid bass tones before a mega railing of sounds and then the title track is filled with huge grooves, infusing some nu-metal bounce into the mix.
Things don’t slow down AT ALL until five tracks in when “Unforgiving” brings a soul-baring performance from Lewis de Jong which are echoed with his guitar playing here as well with Henry de Jong’s drumming keeping it complex yet steady with some Prog tendencies before it all escalates into a frenetically frantic finale. “Blinded” is a start/stop rumbler that’s menacingly majestic while “Kai Whatu” is intricately woven brilliance that lurches and lumbers across one heavy ass terrain for a brooding yet bombastic banger.
Speaking of broody, “Crooked Monsters” takes the top prize in regards to that descriptor with this slower but no less powerful presentation of prose. “Buried Underground” gets back to the primitive with a knuckle dragging beastie of a bangin’ beauty with another spectacular chorus and then “Dad” puts the focus on de Jong’s voice with earnest, pained wails growing to one nasty growl with swirling guitars which encircle the sonic vortex like vultures as the drums pulverize to accent the tone of the track.
After that bit of heady heavy, “Ihenga” is a sonic palate cleanser as it stalks and hunts for a chilling five minutes and change to transcend into something almost otherworldly before segueing into closer “Down The Rabbit Hole” which is practically standard Alien Weaponry fare at this point and, at this stage of their early career, “standard” for AW stands for “superior” in the heavy department.
Tangaroa arrives via Napalm Records on September 17th. Pre-orders are up now and can be checked out when you head here or here. For more on Alien Weaponry, follow them on ye olde socials by clicking here, here, or here.