There have been quite a few films about high school and music. They seem to go hand in hand for some reason. Coming-of-age films lend themselves to a music plot most of the time. It’s a way for young people to express themselves. Metal Lords is another example of a coming-of-age film where music plays an integral part of the plot. This time, it’s metal music.
Jaeden Martell (It, St. Vincent, Knives Out) plays a drummer in his high school band when another student (Adrian Greensmith) with long brown hair and a Judas Priest shirt approaches him about joining him in a band. He gives him a bunch of bands he needs to listen to so he can get into metal music. Together, they decide to enter the high school battle of the bands. They name their band Skull Fucker. They also decide they need a third member, and the drummer kid notices a girl who was in the marching band (Isis Hainsworth) with him playing cello by herself. She is pretty amazing, and he wants her to become the third member of the death metal band they are forming.
This film has a lot of vibes similar to School of Rock, starring Jack Black and directed by Richard Linklater, albeit with a harder edge to it. The influence of metal music is shown throughout the film. Songs from Avenged Sevenfold and other metal bands play as part of the soundtrack of the film, but Judas Priest, Slayer, Black Sabbath, Slipknot, and Metallica are the main ingredient of this film celebrating heavy metal music. I’m a little biased, though, because this is my favorite genre of music. I love any genre of rock, to be honest.
The director Peter Sollett used a few things to get the script by D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones) to come to life. A dream sequence where one of the main characters gets advice from actual metal rock legends Kirk Hammitt (Metallica), Scott Ian (Anthrax), and Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) helps the audience see where his head is. Also, the other main character gets sent to a wellness center for kids who act out or are addicted to drugs or alcohol. The doctor of the center is played by Joe Manganiello. He’s sympathetic to the kid’s plight of forming a death metal band and wanting to get to the battle of the bands.
Like many coming-of-age films, this one has a subplot of bullying. Kids that dress and look different tend to get picked on quite often. This film deals with finding your niche in life and people who support you and what you care about. A parental figure in the movie is out of bounds regarding how he treats his child. He’s just not a good parental figure. Even if his son acts out or is hard to reach, parents like him need to be more supportive of their children.
Metal Lords is the follow-up to Game of Thrones for D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, the writer and producer of the film. Their love of metal is very evident in this story. How these kids deal with their problems and interpersonal relationships is the key to whether the film works or not. I am here to say it works perfectly. The music and guest appearances by all are great as well. I ate this film up from beginning to end, and it was a filling meal. I am stuffed with all the glorious metal music, and this coming-of-age story was fun from start to finish. Netflix has another hit on its hands.
3 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media