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.
As the Palaces Burn, picked up for worldwide distribution by SpectiCast, has its area premiere Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Trocadero, 1003 Arch Street. Doors open at 8pm, show at 9pm. For tickets and info, click here. As the Palaces Burn will play in theaters in Philly, and around the country (and the world), beginning later this month.