Review of As The Palaces Burn documentary

Lamb Of God: As The Palaces Burn

We’re going to try something new here on DCHM and doing a review of the new documentary about Lamb Of God called As The Palaces Burn. It will be showing at the Howard Theatre in Washington DC on March 4th and at the Ottobar in Baltimore on March 14th, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of it to watch ahead of time. We’ve never really reviewed a documentary or any kind of movie on DCHM before but in the last few years the documentary film world has grown bigger and bigger. There have been many documentaries made about heavy metal so maybe if you guys like this kind of thing we’ll start covering them regularly, give us feedback and let us know. Now check out the film’s trailer below and I hope you enjoy the read.

As The Palaces Burn starts off as a behind the scenes look at the guys in Richmond’s biggest metal band, Lamb Of God. You see a bit of their families and home life and the band’s lead singer, Randy Blythe, shows the camera crew a few of his favorite places in Richmond. You get to see the band preparing for their upcoming world tour as well as some old photos and other relics dug up for the cameras. You also get a good sense that while these guys are paying their bills, they’re not billionaires. One band member is shown with his Prius, not exactly the Italian sports car you’d imagine a rock star having. If you’re familiar with the legal troubles Randy went through on this tour then you’ll recognize that a lot of the quotes by the band’s members seem to ominously foreshadow the struggles they’d soon be going through.

Apparently the film was originally intended to not only follow the band around on their 2012 world tour following the release of their sixth studio album, Resolution, but also to highlight some of their different fans around the world while doing so. The first leg of the tour takes Lamb Of God to South America and the film crew interviews a die hard Lamb Of God fan in Bogotá, Colombia named Oscar. He’s surprisingly fluent in English but the film seems to spend a lot of time on his back story. Next we find the band relaxing in Israel and between shots of them visiting various tourist attractions they talk about Randy’s struggles with alcohol and how, at the time of filming, he has been sober for about a year and a half. Next the film goes to India and we meet a fan named Pratika. Out of India’s more than one billion people she is one of only two females to front a metal band there, which I thought was very interesting. Unfortunately the film makers talk to her more about how being a metal head makes you different and ostracized in India, which just isn’t as compelling of a story to me. We then see the band meeting with some very excited fans in India prior to a performance before moving on to the European leg of the tour.

Lamb Of God

About 30 minutes into the film that time bomb we’re all waiting to go off finally does when the band arrives in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. The band is immediately apprehended at the airport and we find out that Randy has been arrested for manslaughter. The documentary takes a drastic turn at this point and is suddenly no longer about the fans and the tour but the legal battle that is unfolding and all the strong emotions tied to it. This is where the film really shines as the crew has excellent access to not only the band members but also the meetings with their lawyers and agents, and even in court footage that really makes you feel like you’re sitting there along with the band throughout this intense situation. If you’re unfamiliar with what happened, the band played Prague in 2010 and a fan named Daniel Nosek jumped up on stage and allegedly Randy pushed him back into the audience, though unfortunately Daniel sustained some sort of injury from this and ended up going into a coma hours after the show and died two months later. The band had no knowledge of this and their arrival in Prague was the first they had ever heard of it. The film does a very good job of explaining how the legal process works in the Czech Republic, something the American press didn’t do very well at all while this was going on. There are also lots of close ups of evidence submitted in the trial and audio, with translations, of several witnesses speaking in the courtroom.

There are some really touching moments in this film about a heavy metal band, such as Randy’s return home to Richmond after spending over a month in a Czech prison, his first show back with the band, and when he looks at photos of Daniel, but I think the way he reacts to his verdict is the best part of the film. Once the arrest happens the film focuses on Randy the most, though there is a good portion where Randy isn’t present due to his incarceration and we see how it is affecting the other members of the band. There are brief on-screen appearances by several big names in heavy music, including Slash, Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Oderus Urungus of Gwar, though I think the most compelling was hearing a member of Daniel’s family speak. The band, and particularly Randy himself, make it clear thoughout that this isn’t just about their own legal struggle but the loss of a fan and how his family is left with far greater struggles than their own.

Free Randy Blythe

This film is very unique and it goes beyond just seeing a band behind the scenes, it really documents how Lamb Of God dealt with a crisis that I’m sure would have destroyed many bands. You don’t have to be a fan of Lamb Of God, or even heavy metal, to enjoy this film either because it’s a very intimate look at how the criminal legal process works for musicians. I was reminded of other legal battles involving Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Varg Vikernes and Tim Lambesis as I watched it. The compelling story that unfolds is presented in a way that keeps your attention throughout its 90 minute run time and left me with a better understanding of what it takes to keep a band together through hard times.

But wait, there’s more! If you go to one of the film’s screenings you’ll be able to watch an exclusive (as in, will not be on the DVD version) 30 minute Q&A with the band and the film’s director, recorded on what appears to be a tour bus. This is footage that Lamb Of God fans do not want to miss as they discuss things like why Randy’s wife wasn’t in the film, if they’ll ever play in the Czech Republic again and how the events have changed the band. The bottom line: you will not look at Lamb Of God the same way after seeing As The Palaces Burn and while you’re watching it, you’ll feel like you’re a member of the band as they struggle to deal with the tragic loss of a fan’s life.

As The Palaces Burn ticket give away

Lamb Of God: As The Palaces Burn

As The Palaces Burn is a new documentary about Richmond metal band Lamb Of God and select cities are getting special screenings of it which, lucky for us, includes Washington DC. On Tuesday, March 4th (that’s Tuesday of next week!) the Howard Theatre will be showing the movie for DC area metal fans. This is a band documentary like no other (there’s more details on what it is about in the next paragraph) and DCHM is giving away a free pair of tickets to this screening to one of you readers of the site. To enter: just let me know what your favorite heavy metal related movie or documentary is by leaving a comment on the bottom of this post. Maybe it’s This Is Spinal Tap? Some Kind Of Monster? The Story Of Anvil? Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey? At 5pm EST this Friday, February 28th, a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to receive two tickets to this special screening! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets right now for $18.30 here.

In 2012 Lamb Of God embarked on a world tour with a film crew following them along as they played in different cities around the world. As The Palaces Burn, named after the band’s 2003 album with the same name, starts as a sort of tour diary with behind the scenes interviews with band members and interactions with fans encountered on the tour. Where this documentary takes a drastic turn was when Lamb Of God arrives in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic to play a show. Their vocalist, Randy Blythe, was arrested for manslaughter upon their arrival for an incident that allegedly took place at a Lamb Of God concert in Prague years before involving the death of a fan. The documentary follows the legal and other issues they all face as the tour is halted immediately and Randy’s freedom, and the band’s very existence, are in jeopardy. The best thing about this documentary is you don’t even have to be a fan of Lamb Of God to enjoy As The Palaces Burn as it tells an intense tale that no other movie about a band does. If you’ve never been to the Howard Theatre before you’ll find that it is just off the U Street Corridor near the 9:30 Club, DC9 and Velvet Lounge. The historic building was originally built in 1910 and eventually closed only to be reopened in 2012 after $29 million in renovations. It’s a beautiful building inside and out and should be a great place to sit back with a beer and watch As The Palaces Burn. Please note that this film screening is a seated event. Now watch the trailer for As The Palaces Burn below and tell me what your favorite metal related movie or documentary is in the comment section below!

Official Trailer:

Review of Caesious by Torrid Husk

Band: Torrid Husk
Album: Caesious
Release Date: 4 February 2014
Record Label: Grimoire Records
Buy digital ($3), cassette ($5) or CD ($7) from Bandcamp: Here

Cover of Caesious by Torrid Husk

DCHM album reviewer Tal was particularly taken by the new Torrid Husk EP Caesious and she really wanted to review it. I’m not one much for turning down enthusiastic album review requests and this is a pretty sweet slab of black metal from West Virginia. Be sure to check out Tal’s other writings, such as local concert reviews, on her personal blog here and of course you can stream a song from this EP at the end of the post.

If you’ve read any of my other reviews (here), you probably know I adore melodies. I also like heaviness, intensity, thunder, darkness – and Torrid Husk’s Caesious delivers on all these fronts. It’s poignantly melodic and atmospheric, with all the evil-sounding raspy vocals and blast beat thunder you’d expect from a black metal band.

The first song, “Cut With Rain,” sets the melodic bar rather high – the other two songs don’t quite meet that level of melody, unfortunately. “Cut With Rain” begins softly, but soon turns into an intense melodic assault with blast beats on top of flowing tremolo guitar work. The repeated flowing melody gives the impression of sheets of heavy rain sweeping across the land, and the raspy vocals give this land a sense of darkness — and then death, as the vocals dip into guttural death metal territory. The vocals are a little lost under the onslaught of guitars and drums, and there’s no hope of understanding what Tyler Collins, the guitarist/vocalist, is saying. Halfway through the song, we’re granted a breather, as the drums slow down for an atmospheric bridge. It doesn’t last long before the assault starts again. Toward the end of the song, there’s a neat moment where the band suddenly charges into headbang-worthy classic heavy metal riffs (played with black metal techniques), but they quickly become distorted back to a black metal sound, before becoming totally chaotic. The song goes out on an extremely fast note as the drums and vocals seem to race each other to the finish. For its combination of melody and aggression, “Cut With Rain” is undoubtedly my favorite song on the EP.

The second song, “Thunder Like Scorn,” is rather chaotic and churning. Various sounds in the song give the impression of thunder – the repeated buzzsaw riffs at the beginning, the cacophony of drums and guitars later on, the booming low growls. Even as the song slows a third of the way in, the tempest seems to churn on. There is a tranquil melodic segment in the middle, like the eye of the storm, but just as it starts to get relaxing, the drums thunder in even more aggressive than before. The song slows again toward the end, as though the storm is drawing away, and the vocals become more prominent – up to that point, they’re a bit lost among the instruments.

The last song, “Paranoia,” starts off just as fast and intense as the song before it, with a frenzied sound again matching the title. Interestingly, the two songs are connected by a ringing feedback note that ends the previous song and starts this one. “Paranoia” is a bit more varied than “Thunder Like Scorn,” though, with some slower atmospheric guitar, sometimes laid over hammering drums and sometimes dominating the tempo; a bridge that, with its dissonant buzzing notes followed by gentle strumming, gives the impression of a catatonic state; and vocals ranging from drawn-out, agonized screams to furious ranting. The drums, whether battering fiercely or insistently enforcing a slower tempo, the uneasy-sounding guitar riffs and the agonized or infuriated vocals certainly create the impression of intense anxiety.

Compared to Torrid Husk’s earlier album Mingo (released in June 2013), the drums are more prominent on Caesious, and the guitars and vocals take a back seat to them. Rather than being swept over by cascades of atmospheric guitar, Caesious is dominated by blasting drums. As I greatly enjoy atmospheric guitars, I find this a little disappointing. Despite this, Caesious is still a solid release that should put a dent in anyone’s cravings for darkness, thunder and even a bit of melody.

Suffocation ticket give away

Suffocation at Metro Gallery

Death metal masters Suffocation are playing at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore on Saturday, February 22nd and DCHM is giving you a chance at a free pair of tickets to the show! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite death metal band is. Old or new, even broken up death metal bands count. At 5pm EST this Friday, February 21st, a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from right now for $23.50 here.

Suffocation completely disrupted the world of death metal in 1991 when they released their classic debut album, Effigy Of The Forgotten. The album raised the bar on technicality in death metal while still being extremely brutal, and the band has never relented since then. This show is a special one off for Suffocation, not part of a tour, so they could end up playing almost anything from their intense back catalog. There’s also several locals on this show including Strong Intention, a band somewhere between thrash, grind and hardcore punk, as well as Visceral Disgorge, who always bring brutal slam-death beat downs. Other support acts include Demiz, March To Victory, Limb By Limb and Metanium, a band whose latest album was reviewed on DCHM here. Now check out these killer tunes by bands playing the show and tell me what your favorite death metal band is in the comments!

Suffocation – Infecting The Crypts

Suffocation – As Grace Descends

Strong Intention – 3rd Space Gorilla Generator

Visceral Disgorge – Skullfucking Neonatal Necrosis

The Sword ticket give away

The Sword at the Rock & Roll Hotel

The Sword is the biggest and best doom metal band from Austin, Texas and they’re coming to DC on Friday, February 21st at the Rock & Roll Hotel on H Street. DCHM is pretty excited about the show and so we’re giving away a pair of tickets to see this very show! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite beer named for a band is. Maybe it’s the Iron Maiden beer, the Clutch Dark Sour Ale or even The Sword’s own Winter’s Wolves beer (more on that one below). You can enter with a beer even if you haven’t had it, maybe it’s your favorite just cause it has the best label. At 5pm EST this Friday, February 14th, a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly right now for $22 here, they’ll be $25 the day of the show if they aren’t sold out.

The Sword burst onto the metal scene in 2006 but they play an old school style of doom with a stoner edge full of fat riffs and catchy hooks. This show is sponsored by DC Brau as well as Baltimore’s Oliver Ales and both will have special beers at this show. DC Brau will be debuting their new double IPA Solar Abyss (which is about 10%!) and Baltimore’s Oliver Ales will have their The Sword: Winter’s Wolves dark ale on draft as well. To make things even better both beers will have big discounts on price for the show. Drinking a The Sword: Winter’s Wolves while The Sword plays their song Winter’s Wolves live in front of you can definitely happen at this show! Let’s not forget about the other bands though, Big Business is a Seattle based sludge band featuring two members of The Melvins. This isn’t just some Melvins spin off though, they’re pretty damn good (and have a great sense of humor as well). The opening act is O’Brother from Atlanta, a heavy rock band that should be a perfect start to this show. Now get to thinking of which metal beers I should try you choose to enter with while listening to these killer tunes below by the bands playing.

The Sword – The Veil Of Isis

The Sword – Winter’s Wolves

Big Business – Grounds For Divorce

O’Brother – Lo

Review of Morbid Saint at American University

Last Friday, the 31st of January 2014, was a good night for the area’s metal heads. Attila sold out Empire in Springfield and Amon Amarth, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch played the Fillmore Silver Spring. However I decided to skip both of those shows for the rare chance to catch Morbid Saint play a DIY show on the campus of American University. So who the hell is Morbid Saint?

Well they were a thrash metal band from Wisconsin that in 1988 put out their only album, the underground classic Spectrum Of Death. They were a frequent opener on Death’s tours in those days but unfortunately broke up in the 90s. In 2010 they reformed and if you went to Maryland Deathfest X in 2012 then you got to see them play Spectrum Of Death from start to finish on one of the big outdoor stages there. That was a pretty great performance in the midst of many at MDF X but last Friday’s show at the Kay Spiritual Life Center at American University was something else altogether. There was no lighting rig, no barrier between the bands and fans, no big stage, hell there wasn’t even a stage. The room was small, packed, and hot and you couldn’t hope for a better DIY setting to see an old school thrash band in. Most of those old thrash bands from the 80s have either blown up like Slayer and Megadeth, disbanded after the rise of grunge, or regularly come through the area to places like Empire promoting whatever new album they may have. Those shows are all good but this show wasn’t like any of them and I knew it going in. Basically, I couldn’t let myself miss this show!

I showed up a bit late but apparently there had been an issue with the electrical box at the start of the night and everything got delayed. The show was sold out when I arrived but I had ordered tickets online ahead of time cause I knew it would. The room was basically a big oval with merch tucked into a small room on the side opposite the venue entrance. Normally it is used as an on campus religious center for any religious denomination that wants to use it but this night it would become a place to worship metal! When I got there the first band, Genocide Pact, was still playing. Genocide Pact features members of another local band, Disciples Of Christ, but isn’t quite as grindy as D.O.C. is and instead has more focus on the death metal sound. They were fun but since the room was already packed I didn’t get up front to see them. The next band up was Baltimore’s Noisem, formerly known as Necropsy. These guys are young but ever since getting signed to A389 Recordings they’ve really started to garner attention, and not just locally. They opened on a run of 22 shows for The Black Dahlia Murder and Skeletonwitch last fall and they’ll be the opening act on the entire upcoming Decibel tour with Carcass headlining. They’re definitely getting better in the live setting, that showed even when performing at a DIY show with no stage. Their high energy death/thrash really got the audience into the show and the pits got pretty intense a few times. Next up was another A389 band, the (mostly) DC based Ilsa. They play a crusty style of death/doom that is full of mosh friendly riffs and very heavy slower parts as well. It has been a little while since I’ve seen Ilsa live and in that time they’ve replaced one of their guitar players with a guy who used to play with several of them in a band called Time Of The Wolf that was a precursor to Ilsa’s formation. Their set was heavy but I do wish the band members would face the audience more. Most of the show they formed a circle facing inward at each other, aside from vocalist Orion who looked all around the room with his vice grip on the mic he was screaming into.

Finally it was time for Morbid Saint to play and after the delay and several sets you could tell the audience was getting a little restless. The audience wouldn’t settle for a bad performance from the headliner at this point and Morbid Saint delivered. The crowd erupted into a mosh pit from the first note played and frontman Pat Lind really kept the intensity up the entire show despite the heat that was becoming overwhelming. The band did not play Spectrum Of Death start to finish as they had at MDF but instead kept the set list pretty varied, they even played songs off their never officially released 1992 demo Destruction System and some other obscure material as well. They had a few extended pauses between songs because the drummer was overheating but they mostly played songs back to back to back. There were crowd surfers and people flying in and out of the mosh pit the entire set with the intensity reaching its apex when Morbid Saint played “Lock Up Your Children.” Maybe I’m just getting old but by the time it was over I was feeling pretty drained and headed straight to the water fountains. A big thanks goes out to Mariana and the AU Independent Arts Collective for making this show happen. I hope they put on more awesome metal shows in the future. Getting the chance to see one of the classic old thrash bands up close in a small, sweaty, sold out room was like stepping into a time machine back to the days of Heavy Metal Parking Lot and despite the other options that night, there’s nowhere else I’d have rather been.


Noisem at American University

Noisem at American University

Noisem at American University


Ilsa at American University

Ilsa at American University

Ilsa at American University

Morbid Saint:

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University

Morbid Saint at American University