As the Palaces Burn is a 2014 documentary that follows the heavy metal group, Lamb of God, during their 2012 world tour. As the movie starts, the members of the band go through the emotions of being in a band. They party happily with one another at times. Other times, they’re at one another’s throats. Still, they’re a band and overcome their conflicts to record their sixth studio album.
Meanwhile, the band begins working on their tour. While on tour throughout the world, the movie introduces us to many of their hardcore fans. We meet a taxi driver, who absolutely loves Lame of God’s music. We are also introduced to a rocker chick, who sings in her own band. She explains her love for their music.
Then, we’re introduced to the struggle of the group’s lead singer, Randy Blythe. Over the years, Randy has been struggling with alcohol. Finally, he has kicked the habit, but then everything goes wrong. As we hit a high point, we’re immediately dragged down to Randy’s lowest of lows.
At one of the group’s concerts in the Czech Republic, a 19 year old fan, Daniel Nosek, sustained a fatal head injury, which resulted in a coma and eventually his death. Two years after the incident, Randy is arrested at the airport and charged with manslaughter. Several videos surface, which show Daniel climbing onto stage and being pushed from the stage by Randy.
As Randy languishes behind bars, his bandmates scramble to raise money to pay Randy’s bail. After selling many of their prized possessions, Randy’s bond amount is doubled. Finally, after five weeks behind bars, Randy is released from jail. His bandmates await his arrival at the airport and these heavy metal monsters turn into regular people.
Of course, we’re far from the end of the line. With a court date looming over his head, Randy attempts to get back to his normal way of life. Will he be able to continue rocking out with Lamb of God or will he end up with an extremely long sentence? Will Randy take the blame for Daniel Nosek’s death? You’ll have to watch this intriguing, depressing documentary to find out.
As the Palaces Burn is an excellent documentary and a brief study of the Czech Republic justice system. Of course, the underlying plot revolves around the loss of life and tragedy. This is definitely an emotional ride that is uplifting at points, but bleak throughout. When Randy needs them the most, his friends come through. When facing manslaughter charges, he maintains his fans, friendship and level head.
Could this have transformed into a miscarriage of justice? Quite possibly, but should Czech Republic’s justice system be blamed? America’s jury system still has its fair share of crazy trials and absurdly erroneous verdicts. When the verdict is read, you’ll feel a bit of joy and feel a little grateful that this story didn’t turn into something much more sinister.
Overall, As the Palaces Burn is definitely a worthwhile watch. You’ll thank yourself afterwards, even if you’ve never heard of Lamb of God. This documentary deserves an 8.5 out of 10.