As the Palaces Burn, about the band Lamb of God, isn’t just a documentary for heavy metal diehards. Like Don Argott’s previous films -- The Art of the Steal, which chronicled the epic battle to relocate the Barnes Museum from its old Main Line digs to a new complex on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and Last Days Here, about the comeback try of another metal musician, Pentagram frontman Bobby Liebling -- the Philly-based director has landed a story that resonates way beyond the niche interests of music or art lovers.
As the Palaces Burn begins with Lamb of God lead vocalist Randy Blythe walking along a concrete foot bridge on an isolated stretch of river in his hometown, Richmond, Virginia, considering the weird twists of fate that have made him a rock star, and not another “dirtbag down by the river.”
“Music,” he adds, ”is the only reason why I’m not in prison, or dead.”
Give this riveting movie a half hour, and that line about prison, and death, takes on a whole, and chilling, new significance. The world of Blythe and his bandmates is turned into a Kafka-esque nightmare when Blythe is carted off a plane in Prague and arrested and charged with manslaughter, for the death of a LOG fan at a concert that happened two years previously in the Czech Republic.