'Walk with me in hell' :- possibly the most apt song to self-associate with Randy's trial.
'As The Palaces Burn' (released in cinemas 6th March 2014) tells the background story of how Lamb of God started off as an up and coming metal band in the depths of Richmond, Virginia and became one of the most successful metal bands within the last two decades; celebrating 20 years this year, furthermore it goes behind the scenes during the Randy Blythe manslaughter trial in Prague, Czech Republic.
During the film, there is this constant feeling of being connected with not only Randy Blythe, but with Lamb of God in general. That is, what challenges they faced throughout their career, from the constant drinking and internal conflicts (ironically strengthened them to play shows) to the traveling to far flung countries and of course ultimately the emotions expressed during the trial.
Kicking the film off, Randy Blythe delivers a passage at one of his favorite places before shifting to the band's recording studio and expressing the glorious fact that their album 'Resolution' charted #3 on the Billboard charts, that in itself seems to show that this was one emotional album, furthermore fans will have noticed that the tracks also correlate to the personal journey Randy has gone through.
Musician Slash (ex-Guns 'N' Roses') willingly admits that whilst Lamb of God are not a household name by any means, unlike your Iron Maiden and Slayer, they are still a highly popular band, one that successfully enables listeners to engage with the music, resulting in this release of built up emotions.
The film takes a look at how they set out, showing stock footage from a show way back in 1997, progressively showing that they took a natural and dedicated approach to their musical career, continually and progressively taking newer challenges head on.
"Real metalheads drive (Toyota) Prius', not first class' :- Chris Adler
The emphasis then shifts to the band's time in South America; where they show what the settlements are like and what their fellow metalhead brethren grow up in, firstly in Colombia where they show that metal is used to release emotions, with Randy admitting that when he stands at sees a kid in the crowd, he says that's me; reflecting back on that emotional connection between the band and the fans.
One Colombian metal fan believes that you can identify yourself with the music and lyrics respectively. Whilst later on during a Lamb of God show has Randy agreeing with him that it is: "not a good idea to tie up your shows in the middle of a mosh-pit.
The film then shifts towards Venezuela, Mexico and then Israel, the sense that not only is Lamb of God an internationally recognized metal band, but in tow with that comes the clear fact just how global metal music in general has become. However, it was during the time in Israel that you begin to see that Randy was at some points a bit of a demon of himself through his unrelenting drinking habits, eventually leading the nervous breakdown and made him sort his life out for the better.
"Resolution represents staying on a path of correcting your issues and solving them"
The band then head to India where at a concert they are playing at, fellow Indian metalheads express how long it took them to get to the concert, some taking as long as 39 hours to get there. Now that is extreme dedication. The band then head to the Czech Republic, however....
Police are on Lamb of God's Lufthansa flight which just landed in Prague, some of the bandmembers expressed their worries that on board could be a drug dealer, or something worse and then as soon as they started disembarking, the police escorted them; leaving the band with a sick feeling (flashes to a Czech gig at Club Abaton in 2010), which gotten worse as they arrest Randy for suspicions of manslaughter, of which came as the result of Daniel Nosek apparently dying from a head injury at the concert; Randy accused of shoving him off stage and crashing head first into a barricade.
Meanwhile back in Voorhees, the band's manager Larry Mazer is adamant that nothing happened, there was no incident that took place and argued that two hours later police called the promoter who had already gone home, they then want to know the band's whereabouts and during the two years afterwards, nothing has been spoken of this incident. Whilst this was happening, Randy was formally charged with manslaughter, an accusation he persistently denied.
Moreover during the time spent in court, the initial ball of $200,000 was upped to $400,000, despite the claims by Marin Radnan; Randy's Czech attorney, of him being innocent whilst Lamb of God's US attorney believes he will face charges, during this part of the film various evidence is shown and given. He is eventually released from prison 38 days after his arrest but has to return to face his forthcoming trial; meanwhile back in the USA a social campaign had began, wanting Randy's release to happen as soon as possible.
During the brief period between the release and trial, Lamb of God performed at Slipknot Festival and promised to give the fans 'hell'. Randy admitted that he wanted this film to originally be about the fans and to turn the cameras towards them, not at the band all the time.
3 months later and Randy returned to Prague to face his trial, his Czech defense team set out the task of building up an argument against his accusation. Unlike the British system, the Czech court has 3 judges and no jury; to the judge's left is the prosecutor and to his right is the defense team and the defendant: Randy Blythe.
"Sometimes doing the right thing, is not the most comfortable" :- Randy Blythe
It comes to be that there was no evidence to show any altercation between Randy Blythe and Daniel Nosek, the trial fell into a state of chaos as various witness statements flitted about from being contradictory or appearing to be confusing. Resulting in Randy being totally exonerated from any charges. The closing scenes involve the band back at practice and inevitably feeling stronger from the ordeal Randy had faced, Lamb of God will motor on, stronger than ever.
If one Lamb of God song could sum up the entire documentary, it would be 'Walk with me in hell', as this is what they have successfully shown to their fans. Here's hoping this gets released as a DVD.