heavy methane review on netflix

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heavy school music

A tube amp spits out a syncopated riff from its speakers, a rack of effects pedals with too many pedals for one foot sits on the floor, the posters of Holy Diver of Dio, of Vulgar Display of Power of Pantera, of Blessed are the sick of Morbid Angel adorn the walls. Hunter Sylvester’s (Adrian Greensmith) lair looks like the fantasized lair of a pre-adult metalhead. Long hair, rangers, torn jeans and jacket with patches, at first glance we suspect that this teenager does not listen to Aya Nakamura (except in secret).

His landmark is the ideal place fora duo of high school students who feel bad about themselves creates a band heading straight for the pantheon of music. No pop, no hip-hop: in their veins runs heavy metal (or in any case in the veins of Hunter). Hunter, on guitar and vocals, assisted by Kevin Schlieb (Jaeden Martell), his friend, partner and best friend on drums, form the SkullFucker, a group in search of identity, glory and recognition.

Lare future Darkthrone (no)

The opportunity to shine soon presents itself: the high school “battle of the bands”, where they will be confronted with an Ed Sheeran cover band, in other words the absolute nemesis of the one who lives only for the Metaaaaaal. But several problems stand on their highway to hell: the search for a bass player, and a lot of teenage shit, from family relationships to school bullying through the first sexual emotions.

Sexual turmoil and the quest for bass player will find their resolutions thanks to Emily (Isis Hainsworth), a young woman plagued by anger issues. For the rest, Metal Lords uses the tropes of the musical teen movie, with a predictable step-by-step progression, without any inventiveness. Because despite the posters, t-shirts, and references to metal culture, the film by Peter Sollett (Free Love) is not what he would like the public to believe.

Certainly, Metal Lords strikes a metallic soundtrack as possible, swinging Black Sabbath, Judas Priest or Metallica. Heavy metal seems to be everywhere… but in reality it’s all just a huge illusion. A vast mirage intended to fool metalheads on the quality of the goods, or to put themselves in the pockets of teenagers in need of rebellion with shameless cynicism.

Metal Lords : Photo Isis HainsworthODoesn’t look like that, but she’s the real metaller

Use Your Illusions

All that packaging is just there to give a different color to the same age-old mainstream comedies. Make no mistake, there is in Metal Lords no 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 make-up to make this supposedly “unique” teen movie. The coating could have been an overlay of hip-hop or that of yet another singing competition reheated a hundred times, nothing would have changed.

While the metal should have been the beating heart of the film, it is only a pretext and causes the same uncomfortable effect as seeing Kendall Jenner and Kylie Kardashian wearing 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 greenness of Pitch Perfect.

Metal Lords : Photo Adrian GreensmithThe art of making up a film

Once the first “metal” type skin of this filmic onion has been removed, only the same eternal issues remain, reviewed thousands of times in the mass of generic American teen-movies produced to land on mainstream channels one afternoon of School vacation. Parent-child relationships are only mentioned, the issues of sexual questioning and the management of the endemic caste system in high schools… A scent of deja vu floats around this overcalibrated product.

All these themes stink of clumsy recycling and suffer from the syndrome of treatment by adults who have forgotten their adolescence. The suffering is identified as minimal, the director’s view of the transitional period between childhood and adulthood isshameless condescensionand even worse, the characters’ malaise is only considered temporary, as is their fondness for metal.

And this is where the film hits rock bottom: it lowers the love of music and the passion for metal to a transitional phase, a symptom of adolescent malaise and a thirst for rebellion due to emotional immaturity. Metal Lords shit the metal cultureand appropriates its codes only to deliver a mindless commercial product that mocks the audience it says it is targeting.

Metal Lords : Photo Adrian Greensmith“Mbut if it’s metal, he’s got a patch jacket” – the producers

Metal Joke

The film betrays itself when Hunter explains that he is setting up a band in order to be successful, because “metal is going to come back into fashion” (“heavy music is gonna rise up” in VO). This is the raison d’etre of the hypocrite Metal Lords : to place oneself on a niche which is not yet saturated with productions cloned on top of each other, hoping to touch the heart, or rather the wallet of an audience in need of metal productions. Never mind the passion, as long as it can pay off.

The film royally mocks the spectator, and conches 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 stands up to the scrutiny of the passionate eye, who will feel insulted from start to finish. The Hunter/Kevin duo who claim to make “post-death-doom metal”, while Skullfucker is a thrash metal band. Suffice to say that Vianney is industrial. To finish the picture of the walking cliché, Hunter plays a character from Dungeons and Dragons called “Malmsteen of Gorgoroth”… Thanks for the joke Peter Sollett, it was not necessary.

Metal Lords : Foto Jaeden MartellWLeader Price hiplash version

Entangled in its own nauseous clichés, the film pukes of intellectual dishonesty, twists and tries to struggle with a phone script, badly conducted, which only holds up a little bit thanks to the trio of young central actors. Trio which owes its credibility and its alchemy only to the brilliant Isis Hainsworth, whose character of Emily, with her mutation from a wise young girl to a metaller fan of Apocalyptica could, or even should, have held on her own which would have been a thousand times more interesting.

In 1h38 of film, Metal Lords produces only one really “Metal” moment: during the final battle band, Hunter, carried away by the adrenaline and the energy released by the mosh pit of the public, rises above the stage, transcended by the music. Too bad that this single success was shamefully pumped on the staging of Rocketman. And no, the cameos of Rob Halford, Tom Morello, Ian Scott and Kirk Hammett do not save anything.

Metal Lords : Foto Jaeden MartellLe only good moment of the film

Devoid of the almost thoughtless energy of Tenacious D in “The Pick of Destiny”far from the sincerity of Lords of Chaos or the burning passion of Sound of Metal, Metal Lords is just an intellectual scam. Hunter’s character declares that “Metal is commitment and sacrifice”, this thing is quite the opposite: it is dismissive parody and infamous commercial complacency.

Metal Lords is available on Netflix since April 8, 2022

Metal Lords: poster (2)

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