Netflix’s “Metal Lords” Is Both Intense and Insightful

Katie Schwartz, Staff Writer

“Metal Lords,” produced by the creators of “Game of Thrones,” was released to Netflix on April 8. This R-rated, one hour and 38 minute long production packed a lot into that time spam, some parts good, others bad. Personally, I found the film to be a bit intense with valuable lessons sprinkled throughout.

“Metal Lords” starts out in main character Hunter Sylvester’s (played by first-time actor Adrian Greensmith) house where he and the other protagonist Keven Schlieb (Jaeden Martell) hold a band rehearsal for their heavy metal duo. This scene gives the impression that the band has just formed because Kevin can barely read the sheet music that Hunter has written and comes across as a total newbie to metal. On the other hand, we get the impression that Hunter is a talented and ambitious musician, later finding out that this hobby has been a way of coping since his mom left several years back.

Hunter and Kevin’s backstory, which plays a significant role in the film’s dynamics, is provided from the get go: best friends since third grade. This band was Hunter’s idea so he controls it, a fact which later proves problematic. Because the group’s initial title is profane, it ends up changing to SkullFlower as per the Battle of the Bands school rules. SkullFlower endures a mix of challenges and successes throughout the entire film, up to their final performance. 

In part by Kevin’s friendship-turned-romantic-relationship with Emily (Isis Hainsworth), a girl he meets via late night practice sessions, the movie explores themes of trust and betrayal in love and friendship alike. Be warned, however, that like any movie centered around high school teens, there are instances of drinking, bullying, inappropriate or profane language, and talk of mental health that could be triggering.

Although some may find it difficult to relate to the film, with its focus on heavy metal and its multitude of references to artists from that genre, this does not hinder one’s ability to comprehend the storyline, which in and of itself is relatable: outcasts develop a strong bond through a shared interest and proceed to achieve a self-defined goal.

The end scene features our heavy metal trio (now including Emily) after losing Battle of the Bands. It is at this point they realize their friendships, talents, and lives need not be validated by winning, but rather by themselves as individuals and as a team. In order to come as far as SkullFlower does in the end takes courage to be the bigger person, and to finish with dignity and pride no matter what.

I’d recommend “Metal Lords” to a wide variety of audiences because I feel that many could gain a new perspective from this film. Plus, anyone into heavy metal music would love it! Unfortunately, if you tend to be sensitive towards, or shy away from adult topics, this might not be the right film for you.