As The Palaces Burn
Fascinating documentary about Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe's trial for manslaughter
Lamb of God are a seriously heavy rock band from Richmond, Virginia, who alongside Machine Head, Trivium and Shadows Fall helped revive the sound of thrash for a new generation of metal heads. They’ve sold a shit load of records; picked up multiple Grammy nominations; headlined festivals and toured with the great and good of metal including Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and countless others. They've had success but are far from a household name locked into an endless cycle of circumnavigating the globe playing live to pay the bills. Add to this the fact that vocalist Randy Blythe had just turned 40 and was now two years sober and you already have a pretty interesting set up for an on-the-road rockumentary.
Director Don Argott’s original plan was to follow the band as they toured their 2010 album Resolution. And for the first 30 minutes it’s just that; an engaging fly on the wall doc focussing on how much LoG mean to their fans in South America, India and Europe. Then as they land in Prague something unforeseen happens – in the band's own words 'things couldn't have shit the bed more' – Blythe is arrested and charged with manslaughter.
Blythe was accused of pushing a stage invader back into the crowd while on tour in 2010, unfortunately the young man in question (Daniel Nosek) hit the ground and hit the ground hard. Sadly he died. Soon Blythe is in custody and facing up to 10 years in a foreign prison. After 38 days he posts bail and returns to the States where fans, fellow musicians and band members rally round.
Blythe could have run and hid, staying in the United States, but instead he returns to the Czech Republic to stand trial. The final third of the film turning into a tense courtroom drama. Blythe faces everything head on proving himself to be a compassionate, caring, considerate and thoughtful man who never once forgets the tragedy at the centre of this case.
For fans of Lamb of God, or metal in general, this is essential viewing. Even if you can't cope with the blast beats and shredded riffs this is still a fascinating portrait of a man standing up and facing the challenges life throws at you with genuine courage.
General release from Fri 28 Feb.