Pick Your Rock and Metal

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pain, tragedy and people in Lamb of Gods As The Palaces Burn

MARCH 6th. Put that date in your diary. You will want to make your way to the Queen's Film Theatre to see As The Palaces Burn, the Lamb of God documentary filmed by Don Argott.

On the surface this is just a metal documentary, but it is much more. This is a film about people, people's reaction to music and what happens to people when faced with personal tragedy and real life challenges.

We all know that Randy Blythe was acquitted of the manslaughter of Daniel Nosek, but that doesn't lesson the power of this film, or the tension as Blythe and his legal team prepare for court.

However, this isn't just a documentary about that incident. It is about the impact God have made, and the redemption that exists within the unifying force of heavy metal.

We see Randy Blythe by a river in Richmond confessing that he spent time with the homeless there; we see the humbleness of the band as they prepare for the Resolution tour.

And then the focus shifts and Argott's lens draws us to unlikely parts of the globe to find fans in Colombia; one fan - a taxi driver - who brings Argott to the grave of drug lord Pablo Escoban and the graves of his brothers and friends who were killed in the drug and gang wars.

The implication is clear: heavy metal and Lamb of God in particular saved him from a similar fate.

Then in the heart of traditional Indian culture Argott lets a female fan tell her story of social ostracism because of her tattoos and the fact that she is a singer in a metal band.

Argott captures the excited fans as they tell of 24 hour journeys; journeys of days and devotion across the sub-continent to see Lamb of God. With flashes of the band meeting fans and their relatively 'normal' home lives, so far it is a pretty unique documentary.

Then the arrest as their flight to Prague touches down.

With Blythe on remand and bail being set ever higher it would have been understandable if the shutters had come down on the filming, but no - Argott's given access to the most intimate proceedings in court and behind the scenes.

To see the band going through their rehearsal room to find items to sell to pay soaring legal fees is a reminder that the majority of metal bands don't have millions in the bank to throw around the place.

It has already been stated that Blythe showed conviction and courage to return to Prague to face the charges, when he could have hid behind legal machinations in the US to avoid the case.

The court room images are harrowing - watching the uncle of Nosek in court is painful, and Blythe's demeanour is no coached witness, but it is of a man who feels the pain of the Nosek family despite his innocence.

To say that the return of Lamb of God after the case echoes perfectly the title of Resolution is one of those clich├ęd journalistic phrases that rings true for a change.

Lamb of God and Argott have captured in film power: power in its portrayal of people; people in the band baring their souls; people in the crowd brought to life from the anonymity of the audience; people in pain; people facing a panel of judges; and, ultimately the fact that music unifies people.

March 6th, Queen's Film Theatre. Be there, it will be worth your time.

More information available at  http://asthepalacesburn.com.

No comments: