By: Jaime’ En Fuego, Heavy Metal Television, VJ
LAMB OF GOD‘s As The Palaces Burn may not be a concert but it is still a live musical event!
Its seeds were initially sewn in 2005 when the Grammy-nominated Richmond, Virginia group unleashed the Killadelphia DVD upon the globe’s headbangers and in turn sold over a million U.S. units of it in just two years, a feat that none of their albums have even accomplished. The irony of such success was that the release’s greatest appeal might also be its deepest detriment. Besides the powerfully precise performances of LoG live captured during touring for their major label debut Ashes Of The Wake the disc also packed hours of backstage bonus features which were as entertaining as they were revealing, perhaps pulling the curtain back just a bit too far regarding what these wizards were doing when they weren’t busy working. As a result it made perfect sense upon the announcement that a third documentary-style film following 2008’s Walk With Me In Hell would shift focus from the band themselves to instead how their music has affected fans. Despite the intent, one can’t help in hindsight paraphrasing that old proverb about ‘When man makes plans’ or as frontman Randy Blythe sums it up at the midpoint of ATPB: “I like turning the cameras away from us but now they’re back on me.”
That cathartic statement comes during one of the film’s most surreal scenes as Blythe stands atop a rural hill near his home photographing a startling sunset, savoring a fleeting feeling of peace all the while those palaces of prosperity a near two decades of devout diligence built seemed to be burning like that fading light on the horizon.
By 2012 LAMB OF GOD were indisputably one of American Metal’s biggest worldwide exports which was what made a glimpse into the scattered and varied lives many wouldn’t have expected them to inspire so intriguing. There’s Oscar the “part-time taxi driver that’s a full-time metalhead” in Colombia who credits their brand of music for resisting drug cartel involvement, essentially saving his life in the process. Fans in India relate riding trains for upwards of two days to witness the group play live including Pratika, one of two performing Metal frontwomen in a country where such behavior is perceived as a personal problem. Such dedication is a testament not just to their listeners but an undying devotion that exists to the genre in general and a mentality mutually believed by Blythe when the film drastically diverts from as he puts it: “not a story I can write, just a story I can live.”
He ponders this loss of personal freedom after returning to the United States while awaiting trial for accusations that he was responsible for the death of an alleged stage-diver during a Prague performance in 2010, charges that were not brought to major public light until Blythe and his bandmates came back to the Czech Republic two years later. Yet where fear would have likely overcome the average person well aware of the lessened likelihood of extradition, he takes Frost’s road less traveled referencing the title of LAMB OF GOD’s latest album: “Resolution means staying on a path no matter what” and that “sometimes doing the right thing isn’t the comfortable thing.”
The personal accountability on display is probably more than the average viewer who immediately judges ‘Metal’ based on the minute amount they know would expect. Perhaps the same even went for a few fan’s perceptions about the way bassist John Campbell, drummer Chris Adler, his brother Willie and fellow guitarist Mark Morton ‘band together’ behind their brother despite signs of splintering so notoriously documented on Killadelphia, because if vocalists for everyone from BLACK SABBATH to ICED EARTH can be replaced its probably presumed that any frontman is expendable. It might have been easier to start over fresh as opposed to auctioning gear to fund exuberant overseas attorney fees yet once again the road perhaps less traveled was taken and the tears of joy on Willie Adler’s face when Blythe is briefly bailed out after a month in Czech prison reminds of both compassion and kinship within their ranks. It serves as proof that no matter how frightening their music may be to the uninitiated, even the most revered ‘Metal’ musicians are still human like the rest of us. In many ways facing such intimidating odds was not merely about Blythe attempting to clear his own name but to also exonerate an improper impression of public perception about ‘Metal’ as a whole. For that reason alone while it’s a film of immense importance to us within the scene there lies an even greater significance to clarify for non-listeners that aggressive as it may be, music of this variety is NOT condoning violence and DOES have a conscience! Which is why lyrics from the documentary’s theme “Descending” become so powerfully poignant when analyzed within context. By the end it really is about “recovering the pieces to all they’d lost.”
To experience this momentous metal musical event in person head to www.AsThePalacesBurn.com for trailer, showtimes and ticket information! The FINAL Arizona performance is Monday, March 17 at Surprise, Arizona’s Digiplex Surprise Pointe 14.
Jaime’ En Fuego is part of the VJ familia for the world’s first and only 24/7 metal music video channel: www.HeavyMetalTelevision.com
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¡Muchas Gracias Amigos!