Metal Lords

"Metal Lords" follows two friends, Kevin (Jaeden Martell) and Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) as they start a heavy metal band at their school.

Netflix has tried its hand at a new movie genre, but it falls a bit flat.

The movie “Metal Lords” follows two best friends, Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) and Kevin (Jaeden Martell), trying to start a post-death metal band and become the next rock legends. However, the misfits are struggling to find their way through high school and try to redeem themselves at the school’s Battle of the Bands.

Overall, this isn’t a must-watch film. It’s a knockoff R-rated version of “School of Rock” that’s not as memorable or iconic. Like “School of Rock,” “Metal Lords” follows the idea of learning about rock like sticking it to the man but with less of an academia vibe. Plus, Hunter has the same amount of passion toward rock that Jack Black does in “School of Rock,” but the writers deliver it differently for the two separate films. Also, it didn’t have a full-on band, but “Metal Lords” added an unexpected touch to the music that isn’t heard from most rock bands, which was a pleasant surprise.

The two best friends, Hunter and Kevin, are almost polar opposites. Hunter’s a diehard heavy metal guitarist who’s a rebel. His main focus in life is becoming a “Rock God” and he’s dedicated to their band. Kevin is more of a shy guy trying to get into metal like Hunter, though he isn’t at his friend’s level of commitment. He’s a great drummer and is in full support of the band becoming successful but knows there’s more to life. Viewers will notice how Kevin is almost shadowing Hunter, but still trying to doing his own thing.

The movie’s focus is music, so there are many references towards rock icons like White Stripes and Black Sabbath. At one point, Hunter gives Kevin a list of rock songs like “War Pig'' by Black Sabbath, “Mr. Brownstone” by Guns & Roses, “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead and other famous metal songs. It also has a soundtrack that rock fans will enjoy.

While the film is about rock bands and heavy metal, it does include aspects on relationships and how awkward a high school relationship can get. Kevin starts falling for a girl named Emily (Isis Hainsworth) and tries to connect with her. The writers focus on their relationship often, but it flows nicely with the pace. This connects back to the idea of Kevin thinking about things outside of the band. 

There are some moments where the writers get a little out of hand. Due to the idea of being dedicated to the heavy metal lifestyle, Hunter rebels by getting into fights, car chases and often bickers with his dad. Of course, R-rated movies involve a variety of vulgar words, but this film went up a level and the language felt more uncensored than some other R-rated films.

Something that people may not know is that “Metal Lords” comes from experiences that writer and producer, D.B. Weiss –– who’s also the co-creator and music producer of “Game of Thrones” — and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello had. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the two discussed how they were fans of heavy metal back in high school and still are as well as their kids, so they wanted to introduce the idea of this music and personality to a new generation. They also explain how casual the brainstorming session was. According to Entertainment Weekly, the idea came to them while they were hanging out in a bar.

As for distribution, streaming “Metal Lords” was a better option than putting it in theaters. This is more of a night-in movie than a night-out movie, so it might’ve had difficulty getting to the top of the box office. It doesn’t have the eye-catching component that a theater exclusive would, but it’s still a nice addition to the array of Netflix originals.

Metal lovers and rock lovers in general will appreciate this movie. It’s not a truly memorable, must-see film, but it wouldn’t be a bad choice for a night where one wants to watch a movie about rock.

Contact Gracie Brogowski at brogowsx@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.