Raise Your Horns for ‘Metal Lords’ [Review]

Metal Lords is a must-see new comedy that celebrates the glory of heavy metal, and gives hope that a new generation of headbangers are about to rise up to once again and rule the music world with righteous angst and epic riffs.

The film is written by D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones) and directed by Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), powered by the best soundtrack of the year from executive music producer Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), with audio work by legendary guitarist Steve Vai and cello virtuoso Tina Guo.

It’s basically an old school Battle of the Bands movie, with best friends Hunter and Kevin putting together a metal band to compete in the contest, even while no one else in their high school likes or cares about heavy metal. The only problem is they really need a bass player, but it’s new girl cellist Emily who soon bonds with Kevin, while the always band-first-minded Hunter fears she may be their own Yoko Ono.

Played by Adrian Greensmith and Jaeden Martell, respectively, Hunter and Kevin are not the popular good-looking CW-ready boys in the more mellow modern rock band their classmates fawn over. They are gawky weirdos, with Hunter being the more outspoken of the two, and Kevin the more shy and cautious. It is as much a coming of age story, for both the main characters but for different reasons, as it is an underdog redemption tale.

These were the guys I hung out with in high school, awkwardly out of place at the cool kids’ house party, and right at home jamming out at band practice with our buds. I dressed like Hunter, wearing dark band t-shirts featuring gory artwork with my not-quite-Doc-Marten black boots, and I was shy and largely unable to talk to other people my age, like Kevin.

Isis Hainsworth is immensely likeable as Emily, who hates that she has to take medication to keep from lashing out in a rage at people, but she may have found a new outlet for some of that aggression.

When the climactic Battle of the Bands event arrives, the stage is set for our heroes to either set the competition on fire with a blistering original song or go down in a crushing blaze of defeat to their clean cut and more experienced rivals.

It’s like School of Rock but with f-bombs, nudity, and lots more distortion.

I can’t say enough about how great this soundtrack is, featuring an amazing setlist of classic songs punctuating and kickass score by Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones, Westworld). As a longtime metalhead myself, Morello has assembled fitting needle drops from all of my favorites, including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Guns ‘n Roses, and the almighty Pantera, to name just a few. And there are some awesomely hilarious cameo appearances of some true metal royalty in the film, as well.

While it may not get every single note exactly right, Metal Lords ascends with its unabashed affection for not just the genre, but for the outsiders, the freaks, and the geeks that it has always spoken loudest to. I feel like this movie was made for me, and the guys I hung out with in high school, and I love it for that as much as I hope it touches my son’s generation and inspires a legion of new metalheads to form an army of young bands shaking the neighborhood with rumbling double bass and monster chords coming from their parents’ garages.

Filled with laughs and heart, crank this one up to 11, put your devil horns in the air, and hit play.

Metal Lords premieres on Netflix on Friday, April 8.

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Matt Artz

Founded Halloween Daily News in 2012 and the Halloween International Film Festival in 2016. Professional writer/journalist/photographer since 2000.