heavy school musical
A tube amp spits a syncopated riff from its speakers, a rack of effects pedals with too many pedals for one foot rests on the floor, the posters of holy diver of God, of crude display of power of panther, of Blessed are the sick of Morbid Angel adorn the walls. Hunter Sylvester’s (Adrian Greensmith) lair looks like the fantasy lair of a pre-adult metalhead. Long hair, rangers, ripped jeans, and patched jacket, at first glance we suspect this teen doesn’t listen to Aya Nakamura (except secretly).
Your landmark is the ideal place toa duo of high school students who feel bad about themselves creates a band that heads straight into the pantheon of music. Neither pop nor hip-hop: heavy metal runs through his veins (or Hunter’s veins anyway). Hunter, on guitar and vocals, assisted by Kevin Schlieb (Jaeden Martell), his partner, duo and best friend on drums, form SkullFucker, a group in search of identity, glory and recognition.
The opportunity to shine soon presents itself: the high school “battle of the bands”, where they will face a gang of versions of Ed Sheeran, in other words, the absolute nemesis of the one who lives only for the Metaaaaaal. But several problems stand in his way to hell: the search for a bass player, and a lot of teenage shit, from family relationships to bullying at school to early sexual emotions.
Sexual turmoil and the search for a bass player will find their resolution thanks to Emily (Isis Hainsworth), a young woman plagued by anger issues. For the rest, metal lords It uses teen movie musical tropes, with a predictable step-by-step progression, without any inventiveness. Because despite the posters, t-shirts and references to metal culture, Peter Sollett’s movie (Free love) is not what he would like the public to believe.
Indeed, metal lords Hit a soundtrack as metallic as possible, rocking Black Sabbath, Judas Priest or Metallica. Heavy metal seems to be everywhere… but it’s really just a grand illusion. A great mirage destined to fool metalheads about the quality of goods, or to get into the pockets of unrebellious teenagers with shameless cynicism.
use your illusions
All that packaging is there to give a different color to the same conventional comedies of yesteryear. Make no mistake, there is metal lords without sincerity The movie is really justa generic teen comedy with no personality, on which the producers applied a “Metal” coating. Metal is used here as a layer of makeup to make this supposedly “unique” teen movie. The liner could have been a hip-hop overlay or that of another singing competition reheated a hundred times over, nothing would have changed.
While metal should have been the beating heart of the film, it’s just a pretext and has the same awkward effect as seeing Kendall Jenner and Kylie Kardashian in Slayer t-shirts. Replace the OST with classics from WuTang, Dre and Tupac, correct the posters with 90’s rap icons, call it “Hip Hop Lords” and the sauce would have been the same. metal lords is light years away from the almost youthful inventiveness of a Ferris Bueller’s Crazy Day or even the uninhibited greenery of Perfect tone.
Une fois la première peau typée “metal” de cet oignon filmique enlevée, il ne reste que les sempiternels mêmes enjeux revus des milliers de fois dans la masse des teen-movies américains génériques produits pour atterrir sur des chains grands publics un après-midi de school holidays. Only parent-child relationships, questions of sexual questioning and the management of the endemic caste system in secondary schools are mentioned… A smell of déjà vu wafts around this overcalibrated product.
All these topics reek of clumsy recycling and suffer from the syndrome of treating adults who have forgotten their adolescence. Suffering is minimally identified, the director’s view of the transition period between childhood and adulthood isshameless condescensionand what’s worse, the characters’ malaise is seen as only temporary, as is their fondness for metal.
And this is where the film hits bottom: it lowers the love for music and the passion for metal to a transition phase, a symptom of adolescent malaise and a thirst for rebellion due to emotional immaturity. metal lords fuck metal cultureand hijacks their codes only to deliver a nonsensical commercial product that mocks the audience it claims to be targeting.
The film betrays itself when Hunter explains that he’s building a band to be successful, because “metal will be back in fashion” (“heavy music will rise” on VO). This is the raison d’être of the hypocrite. metal lords : to place itself in a niche that is not yet saturated with productions cloned one on top of the other, hoping to touch the heart, or rather, the wallet of a public in need of metal productions. The passion doesn’t matter, as long as it can bear fruit.
The film majestically mocks the viewer, and arouses any form of intelligence in the public, even more so in the metal audience. Right here it’s all disdain for heavy metal, and nothing withstands the scrutiny of the passionate eye, which will feel insulted from start to finish. The Hunter/Kevin duo claims to do “post-death-doom metal”, while Skullfucker is a thrash metal band. Suffice it to say that Vianney is an industrialist. To finish off the picture of the walking cliché, Hunter plays a Dungeons & Dragons character called “Malmsteen of Gorgoroth”… Thanks for the joke Peter Sollett, no need.
Entangled in its own nauseating clichés, the film spews intellectual dishonesty, squirms and tries to wrestle with a misguided phone script that only holds up for a bit thanks to the trio of young central actors. Trio that owe their credibility and their alchemy only to the brilliant Isis Hainsworth, whose character of Emily, with her mutation from wise young woman to Apocalyptica metal fan, could, or even should, have single-handedly sustained what would have been a a thousand times more interesting.
In 1h38 of film, metal lords ne produit qu’un seul moment vraiment “Metal” : lors de la battle band final, Hunter, brought by the adrenaline et l’énergie dégagée par le mosh pit du public, s’élève au-dessus de la scène, transcendé par the music. Too bad this unique success was embarrassingly pumped in the staging of Rocketeer. And no, the cameos of Rob Halford, Tom Morello, Ian Scott and Kirk Hammett are not spared.
Devoid of the almost thoughtless energy of Tenacious D in “Destiny’s Choice“far from the sincerity of lords of chaos or the burning passion of metal sound, metal lords it’s just an intellectual scam. Hunter’s character declares that “Metal is compromise and sacrifice”, this is quite the opposite: it is a dismissive parody and an infamous commercial complacency.
Metal Lords is available on Netflix from April 8, 2022