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Tom Morello: “Zakk Wylde doesn’t love heavy metal as much as I do!”

Tom Morello Metal Lords
(Image credit: Press/Netflix)

Tom Morello makes no secret of his love of old school metal. “Metal was my first love, classic heavy metal is the music that got me into music, it was the posters on my wall, it was what I aspired to be as a person,” the Rage Against The Machine guitarist tells Metal Hammer. “As an outcast in my community, it felt like a world tethered to excitement and it was powerful and it transcended what was being handed to me.”

It’s that lifelong passion for the genre that made Morello the obvious candidate to come onboard as Executive Music Producer on Metal Lords, a brand new Netflix movie written and directed by Game Of Thrones showrunner DB Weiss.

“Dan [DB Weiss] and I are heavy metal Dads at school, our kids know each other and they actually play in a band together,” Morello says. “Dan was the guy in a Mastodon shirt and I was the guy in the Judas Priest shirt, we are both from the Chicago suburbs, and so we bonded over that before we even got to talking about Game of Thrones or Rage Against The Machine.

“Dan told me about the idea for this movie and would I like to be involved, that is low hanging fruit, I would love to do it.”

The film centres around a pair of outsider schoolfriends who form a band, Skullfucker, to enter a Battle Of The Bands competition. Weiss asked Morello to come up with the song the band would play in the contest. The result is Machinery Of Torment, an full-on metal rager than owes more to Megadeth and Celtic Frost than RATM’s rap-metal.

“I asked him, ‘What’s my job?’ and he said ‘I definitely need you to write a song, and the song will be called Machinery of Torment,’” says Morello. “I said ‘I’ve been waiting my whole life to write a song called Machinery of Torment!’ So, I did!

“Honestly, I couldn’t wait to do that song. Over the course of 22 records, I’ve made metal that is mixed with rap and rock and alternative. What do I do when I make metal that is cut with nothing but more metal? What is that going to sound like? So as my fingers were writing these riffs, I had that in mind, this is only going to be a metal song!”

Morello says that he and Weiss are prepared for the inevitable backlash from the scene’s ‘That’s Not Metal’ contingent who will take umbrage that ‘outsiders’ have stepped on their turf.

“I know that the metal community can have opinions, let me tell you,” says the guitarist. “Dan Weiss loves heavy metal, completely, and sincerely. That’s how I know him, because of his unfiltered, and sometimes unwashed, collection of Metal T-shirts!

“For me, I was always an outcast amongst outcasts, I was the only black kid with an afro at every Dio show – kind of a double outcast. Dan could have got Zakk Wylde to do this, but Zakk Wylde doesn’t love heavy metal as much as I do! He might look like he does, but he doesn’t!”

Metal Lords lands on Netflix on Friday April 8

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