As the Palaces Burn (tbc)

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The ViewWellington Review

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Review byJennifer tate27/02/2014

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 91 mins

Following the Virginian heavy metal band, Lamb of God, As the Palaces Burn is an entertaining and insightful rockumentary that quickly turns into a nail-biting legal thriller after the lead vocalist is arrested and accused of manslaughter during filming.

What’s it all about?
Directed by Don Argott, As the Palaces Burn is a feature-length documentary following the platinum-selling heavy metal band, Lamb of God as they embark on their 2012 world tour. During the Czech Republic leg however, lead vocalist Randy Blythe is arrested and charged of manslaughter after a young fan dies during one of their gigs, causing the documentary to switch its focus dramatically. Filmed in Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, India, Israel and the United States, As the Palaces Burn studies Randy and his band members as they endure countless legal trials and media hoo-ha to prove his innocence.

The Good
Originally meant to be a focus study on the five-man band and their international fan base, after Randy is arrested the film quickly switches track and becomes an enjoyably tense legal thriller. Beginning with an interview with Randy (pre-arrest) as he talks about his childhood and (rather ironically) how music saved him from prison, the documentary gives the audience a thorough introduction to the lead vocalist and his personal struggles, so that when the incident does occur, we are inclined to sympathise with him. The film also features familiar talking heads (Slash, for example), which share interesting opinions on the band and there’s some stunning photography of the tour’s international locations.

The Equally Good
Despite switching focus to Randy’s legal trials, director Don Argott pleasingly still manages to provide a detailed insight into Lamb of God, both as a musical group and as individuals, carefully avoiding the risk of disconnecting any viewer without much prior knowledge of the band. There’s some strong footage of the band’s live performances, giving viewers that aren’t big metal fans a taste of their musical style, and the emphasis originally placed on individual fans demonstrates how much their fan base means to them.

Worth seeing?
As the Palaces Burn is an entertaining and engaging documentary that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Even non-heavy metal fans should find something to like about it.

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Content updated: 19/12/2018 00:07

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