When Grammy-nominated metal band Lamb of God decided to create its first documentary, "As the Palaces Burn," the film was originally conceived with a positive slant: Following the group's trek around the globe, putting a spotlight on their fans, and emphasizing the power of music to create common bonds.
During the filming, however, things took a dramatic and irreversible turn.
In 2012, when Lamb of God arrived in Prague for a show, frontman Randy Blythe was apprehended by police at the airport. He was arrested on charges of manslaughter, stemming from a 2010 incident in which he pushed a 19-year-old fan, Daniel Nosek, off stage. Nosek suffered a head injury, and later died in the hospital.
The arrest came as a total shock; the band had not been informed of the fan's death. Blythe spent more than five weeks in a Czech prison before he was allowed to go back to the United States on bail. If convicted, he would have faced up to 10 years in prison.
Blythe resumed work on the documentary, but — as might be expected — the tone of the production shifted.
In this exclusive first glimpse of "As the Palaces Burn," Blythe offers a look into the indescribable pain he's endured attempting to process the death: "It's like walking around with a lead helmet on all the time."
He also touches upon the surrealness of the situation — being a criminal to some, but still a hero to others: "You get back on stage in front of 10,000 fans, and they're still happy to see you. It's freaking weird," he relates.
At the time of the shoot, Blythe was still awaiting trial and did not know his fate. "Honestly what I'd like to happen is be found not guilty," Blythe says in a bleak tone, but adds, "This kid's family, they need some honesty. They need to know what happened ... [I want to] look them in the eye, and tell them."
Last March, he was, indeed, acquitted of all charges, following a trial that included expert testimony bringing into question the logistics of Nosek's fall, and creating reasonable doubt as to whether he was actually pushed by Blythe. "I am a free man," Blythe posted on Instagram following the ruling. "Please remember the family of Daniel Nosek in your thoughts & prayers in this difficult time. I only wish for them peace"
As the Palaces Burn" opens in theaters Feb. 27. For a complete list of screening and ticket information, visit here.