As we all know, Randy Blythe, lead singer of Lamb of God had been charged and then acquitted of manslaughter in Prague. He spent five weeks in a Czech prison. The charge came as a surprise to everyone especially Blythe and the band. The charge stemmed from a 2010 concert when the singer pushed 19 year-old Daniel Nosek off stage. Nosek suffered from a head injury and later died in a hospital. The band had no idea about the death and his arrest as he arrived at the airport in Prague in 2012 was a complete shock.
Now comes a masterpiece of a film entitled “As The Paces Burn” which was being filmed prior to the above events as a documentary with a positive spin that followed the groups trek around the globe. It was a highlight of the fans, the band being retrospective on where they came from, the partying they used to do, and Blythe’s out of control alcoholism that threatened to implode the band at any moment.
During filming, Blythe was still awaiting trial and did not know what fate had in store for him. "Honestly what I'd like to happen is be found not guilty," Blythe says, but adds, "This kid's family, they need some honesty. They need to know what happened ... [I want to] look them in the eye, and tell them."
In March of last year, Blythe was acquitted of all charges, following a trial that featured expert testimony that brought into question the logistics of Nosek's fall, and creating reasonable doubt if he was actually pushed by Blythe. "I am a free man," Blythe posted on Instagram, "Please remember the family of Daniel Nosek in your thoughts & prayers in this difficult time. I only wish for them peace"
The film begins along a river where Blythe once lived, homeless. It features interviews with all members as the documentary is created and they talk about how, after all these years, they are still uncertain as they are not one of the bands flying around the globe on private jets with a logo on the back, the drummer drives a Prius which he loads up while spending time with his daughter. In fact, all of the members make a point to discuss how turning 40 and having families is separate from the band and also harder to leave them for the long tours. It truly gives some nice insight into the band members as human beings vs. the rock star persona fans seem to grab on to.
There is a lot of nice personal build up and then, the band lands in Prague and we now get a feeling on just how confused and shocked they all were once they landed. The authorities were everywhere and the band thought, “Wow, we must be flying with a criminal.” They then they were separated from everyone else on the plane and brought into a different room where officers produced the paperwork accusing him of being a killer. You can see the disbelief on their faces to this day as they talk about it.
We see manager Larry Mazer on the phone in his office as he and everyone else tries to make sense of it all. His anger at how there was “radio silence” by everyone for two years and how no one ever reached out to the band about the incident is truthfully unexplainable. How can the band address this issue, let alone be aware at all if no one ever bothers to contact them? He talks about how Randy had changed his life and was a new person, how Randy had become his ‘go-to-guy’ for the press since he quit drinking and partying. And now this happens.
The film then goes to scenes from the actual show and footage shot by fans as they try and decipher when the alleged incident took place and even who it is that actually gets hurt if anyone. Finally, they see a fan trying to get onstage and security pulls him back. The deceased (allegedly) hit his head on a metal barricade, was seen lying on the floor, and is being berated by one of the security guards. This is what makes it all seem scary to them as they talk about, and show on film, just how physical the fans can be at these shows with body surfers, mosh pits, and how the band does not ever want to see anyone hurt at a show. It is all very surreal. You are drawn into the entire matter from an insider’s perspective. The band is always very honestly asserting just how bad they feel about any kid getting hurt and you believe it.
Blythe was allowed to go home to the US after those five weeks where the band had a show with Slipknot set up. Corey Taylor discusses the incident and how glad he was that he was coming home to do the show. Blythe does a very personal interview with Metalhammer where he discusses what he had gone through, and while he admits his situation and experience was horrible to that point, he worries more about the trauma of the family of Daniel Nosek.
If you thought that none of this mattered or that metal performers (and fans) were heartless people, you now know just how wrong that perception is; metal is a community that accepts everyone period. It is our outlet to scream at injustices in the world and for everyone to feel and know that they are not alone in this world. Tragedy is something that makes us all pause and mourn as we, as a community, wish no harm on any person and feel sorrow for the family of this sad story.
“As The Palaces Burn” is a masterful inside look at a truly tragic situation that took the world, the fans, and especially the band by complete surprise. It is documentary, it is true-life drama, and it is a story that you simply have to go experience.
You can attend the screening of “As The Palaces Burn” in Syracuse at The Palace Theater on Friday, March 21st at 8:00PM. Pre-sale tickets are $12 and are $15 at the door. There is a 95X pre-party there at 6:30PM.
Get your tickets:
Lamb Of God – As The Palaces Burn
The Only Way Out Is Through The Fire
EPIC Records (US)
Roadrunner Records (World)
Lamb of God line up:
Randy Blythe - vocals
Mark Morton - guitar
Will Adler - guitar
John Campbell - bass
Chris Adler – drums