2022-08-18

In the charming coming-of-age movie “Metal Lords,” misfit teenage musicians form a band. Not just any band — a heavy metal band. These are kids who lag in gym class and get shoved into lockers, but in the privacy of their makeshift practice space, they sure know how to solo, riff and headbang.

The movie (on Netflix) opens on a basement band practice. Posters of Motörhead, Black Sabbath and Slipknot line the walls, and a stack of amps is ready for use. In the middle of it all is our hero, Kevin (Jaeden Martell), who takes his cues — musical, social and otherwise — from his bestie, Hunter (Adrian Greensmith). Kevin’s on drums while Hunter assumes lead vocals, guitar and fantasies of stardom.

Don’t you dare confuse them with a pop group. These boys are hardcore. Just take their band name: It starts with “skull” and ends with a word too obscene to use in their local Battle of the Bands. A metal fanatic and rabble-rouser, Hunter is hellbent on winning the music contest; Kevin is more intrigued by parties with the popular crowd and by his budding romance with a mercurial cellist named Emily (Isis Hainsworth, a magnetic newcomer).

Written by D.B. Weiss (“Game of Thrones”) and directed by Peter Sollett (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”) — and with Tom Morello of the rock band Rage Against the Machine as executive music producer — the movie shows a keen awareness of how nerdy, shy or bullied children are drawn to metal music for its brute power and the high caliber of expertise it demands. Conventional but genuine, “Metal Lords” comprehends the riot of adolescent emotions and the many ways teenagers manage them.

Metal Lords

Rated R for teen rage against the machine. Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

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