“You are metal beyond reproach.”
Tom’s rating: Eight decapitated bats out of hell spat from the mouth of Ozzy himself out of 10
Tom’s review: You know it’s a good movie when you’re captivated enough by the characters to dream about them the following night. To those ends, Jaeden Martell was in my dreams last night playing out some kind of sequel to Metal Lords.
Although Metal Lords won’t be seen in a movie theater, it is a new exclusive movie on Netflix, which makes it totally worth the price of admission. Even better, they condensed all you need in a plot about a few good high school rockers in an hour and 38 minutes. Perfect.
I might have enjoyed this movie a bit more than some because of my time spent in the high school and college band circus circuit. Hunter, played by Adrian Greensmith, is almost exactly like a dude I used to know who’d drop by the smoking section of the JB’s, have a few cups of coffee, and talk music with me. Emily is exactly that damaged yet amazing bass player that used to play in a local band I opened for. As for Kevin, he’s not me, but he’s also me. I play the drums. I was scouted by local bands wanting drummers. I was in Marching Band. While my story is quite remarkably different than that of Kevin’s, I could also totally relate.
It was kind of cool to see a good film about the old Metal Lords by a new generation, and my goodness the cameos from Scott Ian of Anthrax, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, and Rob Halford of Judas Priest. Just amazing. When the true Metal Lords tell you to not cheat on your girlfriend while inebriated in a hot tub with a hot blonde, you listen. I was so relieved Kevin listened.
At the end of the day, Metal Lords is all about a couple outsider teens that just want to make a band and get signed. Being a teenager also means being in that awkward stage of your life where you’re trying on identities like t-shirts, and Kevin has this internal conflict throughout the movie. While Hunter was the true metal hero of the two, Kevin had to be introduced to it. I loved the playlist that Hunter made for Kevin, written in the most metal of penmanship and passed on as if the befouled Anti-Ten Commandments.
Also being a teen-based film means parental conflicts. While you don’t seen much of Kevin or Emily’s parents, there’s some pretty great humor from Hunter sticking it to his plastic surgeon dad through his American Express card, which funds the band’s equipment, and giving him grief about his clientele dating practices.
Hunter and Kevin are all-in for the battle of the bands after a mishap at a high school party. The only problem is that they don’t have a bass player. Thus enters the complicated character of Emily, who eventually becomes the band’s third — but not after a lot of searching, convincing, some loss of virginity, a traumatic fallout, a trip to a kids’ counselling center, and the eventual hardcore-ification of Emily, the rock goddess of the Electric Cello.
Emily is also the character who saves the day by artistically changing the name of the band from SkullF*$#er to SkullFlower so that they are allowed to actually play in the Battle of the Bands.
While there are a couple pretty hard to swallow moments throughout the movie — there’s no way Kevin could get that amazing at drums in the course of a couple months — there’s no way the band could perform their song for battle of the bands without ever practicing together — all in all, it’s a fun movie that had some great scenes that made you leave with a smile on your face. It’s nice to see great character growth in this short of a movie.
The acting from Jaeden Martell, Adrian Greensmith, and Isis Hainsworth was well done, and I foresee a bright acting future for Adrian Greensmith especially. It was a fun movie, and if you have any history with Metal or just played in a local band in high school, you’ll find something to enjoy in Metal Lords.
- As it turns out, only Greensmith actually had any real musical experience out of the bunch.
- That amp stack though!
- The Electric Cello is pretty metal to be honest.