Review of Metal Lords: A Game of Thrones showrunner is personal on music

In August 2019, just a few months after the polarizing finale of Game of Thrones airing on HBO, hosts DB Weiss and David Benioff have signed a $200 million deal with streaming giant Netflix. Their eagerness to move on to other projects was evident by the end Thrones‘ run, but the flow of new materials so far is still very little. The two served as executive producers on Short film led by Sandra Oh in 2021 Chairbut new teen movies Metal lord was the first taste of post-Thrones written from either of them since they made the deal with Netflix. The duo co-executive produced the film, but the script was a solo project by Weiss, based on his own boyhood playing in high school bands. It’s a light-hearted movie and an almost involuntary sequel for the most part Game of Thronesbut Weiss has the personal experience to make his modest ambitions a success.

Metal lord revolves around a pair of childhood best friends with the gap widening between them in their teens. The Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) is constantly resisting the contours of a world he’s grown to loathe – an overwhelmingly white, rich suburb. His angular and skinny frame is a physical echo to his edgy temperament. Kevin (IT and Pull out the knifeJaeden Martell’s, oddly styled to resemble Porcupine Tree’s young Steven Wilson) is a more subdued presence. He has a mild-mannered and nervous demeanor, and is often devoured as Hunter’s larger personality. But he’s also curious about girls, parties, and everything else his more popular classmates might enjoy.

Hunter is a wool-dyed metalhead and a serious guitarist. Kevin doesn’t know much about music, but he agrees to play the drums in Skullfucker, the high school band that Hunter believes will conquer the world. Metals ultimately deepen the bond between the two, but the tension they exert throughout drives the film and allows for some keen observations about what it means to give one’s all. an appropriate art form.

Kevin (Jaeden Martell) hits a whale on a drum in a neon scene in Metal Lords

Photo: Scott Patrick Green / Netflix

Plenty of films have explored the obvious internal connection between social alienation and heavy metals. A foundational film for the pseudo-generation is Jim VanBebber’s Short 1994 My sweet Satanwhich dramatizes the true crime story of teen metalhead and murderer Ricky Kasso. Jonas kerlund also looks to real life for inspiration for 2018 Lords of Chaoschronicles the rise of the ferrous metal scene in early ’90s Norway and the dark cloud of church burning, suicide, and murder that followed its young anti-heroes.

Movie 2013 full of mood Metalhead was provided with something resembling a photographic negative from those films, depicting a grieving young Icelandic woman whose only consolation came from the lightless void of ferrous metal. Lukas Moodysson 2013 Anarchy Feature We are the best! – obvious influence on Metal lord – steeped in punk, not metal, but it also makes loud music for disgruntled teenage protagonists like a talisman against the conformity of their native Sweden. In all of these movies, the heavy guitar riffs and pounding drums become a lifeline for kids who can’t cope with the world. Something almost supernatural seemed to draw them into this mixed, harsh music that square society couldn’t stand. That describes Metal lord‘Hunter – but it clearly doesn’t hold true with Kevin, or with the final third member of Skullfucker, classically-loving cellist Emily (Isis Hainsworth). Metal lord Its most interesting work in the gap between the relationship of the prospect with the category.

At the beginning of Metal lord, Hunter sold his soul for metal. His black wardrobe, the posters on the walls of his rehearsal space, and his knee-jerk rejection of all kinds of non-metallic music are no doubt again. He is a historical drama protagonist, a kid from a broken family with behavior problems and an inability to relate to his peers. He put all his energy into cultivating his encyclopedic knowledge of metal and practicing the guitar. Every spectator has had a Hunter in his life.

Kevin (Jaeden Martell) and Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) watch the drum kit in Metal Lords

Photo: Scott Patrick Green / Netflix

In contrast, Kevin represents a less well-documented demographic of metal fans: passionate and committed newbies. Forget the bulletin board rumours who say the opposite: No one is born knowing the difference between early and mid-life Morbid Angel. Every metalhead spends a few months or years discovering what they love about the genre and Kevin’s journey in Metal lord might be the best on-screen description of that process. The smile on his face when he listens for the first time Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” – the warm-up song on the playlist Hunter gave him for his homework – captures the indescribable sense of magical discovery. The day a metalhead first heard “War Pigs” (or “Puppet Master,” or “Number of Monsters”) often ends up feeling like the first day of their lives. Martell’s performance enlivens that joyful moment in a wonderful way.

Less convincing is the film’s portrayal of Emily, a Metal Pixie dream girl who acts as a love interest for Kevin, as well as what Hunter adamantly calls “Yoko” for Skullfucker. She is featured in a scene where she screams at the director of the school’s marching band (author Chuck Klosterman) and throws her clarinet onto the field. When Emily later reveals she’s only acting because she hasn’t taken the “happiness pill,” it’s clear she’s more than just a bunch of girl-shaped clichés. The script doesn’t let the audience know the exact state of Emily’s mental health, but the way it leisurely throws aside her medication reveals how little it really cares. Everything she does in the movie can be excused or explained by the presence or absence of mood stabilizers. She rarely looks like a real person.

That doesn’t discredit Hainsworth, who delivered a quietly strong performance despite the script’s shortcomings. Emily eventually joined Skullfucker as a cellist, helping to usefully recreate the Skullflower band so the band could play in their high school Battle of the Bands. But her interest in metal is both passive and clearly tied to her fascination with Kevin. Their romance is cute Netflix, in one To all the boys I’ve loved before something like that, but the lackluster depiction of Emily’s personality gives the lead women of metal, most of whom don’t have to fall for a boy to understand Judas Priest’s power.

Emily (Isis Hainsworth), in the full green, white, and yellow of the marching band, bursts out onto the field and leaves Chuck Klosterman behind in Metal Lords.

Photo: Scott Patrick Green / Netflix

Metal lord‘climax’ went to that high school concert, where Skullflower bucked his classmates’ boos and performed “Machinery of Torment,” written by executive producer and guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against. the Machine. In The school of rock musicanother spiritual precursor to Metal lord, says Dewey Finn of Jack Black, “One great rock gig can change the world.” Weiss has explicitly codified this principle. No problem for the first 90 minutes of Metal lord, it needs to culminate in a great musical moment. Skullflower delivers on that promise: The young stars’ performances are legitimately sublime, all the energy and smiles ear-to-ear. The movie calls Hunter, Kevin, and Emily as three distinct types of metal fans (and musicians), but the power they create when they come together is far greater than the sum of its parts.

There’s a bit of “Who is this for?” baked into Metal lord. Game of Thrones Those who are obsessed with seeing what Weiss is up to will have a hard time squinting at the similarities between the two projects, and the irrit-minded will surely find something to ponder in the occasional depiction. confusing about their favorite genre. (Contrast: Game of Thrones Metal is hell, and metal crystals should just get through on their own.)

It’s also a teen movie, but the specifics of its theme aren’t exactly tuned to Gen Z frequencies. In 2022, classic heavy metal isn’t parental music. age – but the music of their grandparents. The central thesis of Metal lord That is, for those lucky enough to enjoy metal siren songs, the experience of falling in love with the genre is a universal and timeless ritual. There’s no social currency to be found in metal, especially at a high school where the only other band played quiet covers of Ed Sheeran to warm applause. Anyway, Hunter, Kevin, and Emily embraced it, devoting themselves to it as fans and musicians. It makes a strong case for any teen out there interested in pursuing something that no one they know cares: Do it anyway.

Metal lord currently streaming on Netflix.

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