The cry is so familiar at press shows it almost has its own acronym. ONNAR. “Oh No, Not Another Rockumentary.” As the Palaces Burn is about Lamb of God, a Virginia-bred heavy metal group. For half an hour you think it’s the usual stuff. Rockers staring into their souls and stammering out what they see. Sprinkle concert footage and stir.
Then a novel turn is taken when the band’s lead vocalist is arrested in Prague for the manslaughter of a fan, allegedly pushed off a stage. It’s as if actuality has paid homage to the mandates of artifice: “What this story needs is a good courtroom scene.” So we get it. We get the grilling, the lawyering, the trial, then the three good men and true – judges not jurors – deciding whether Randy Blythe is guilty or innocent. It’s a weird little hybrid movie. It becomes unforgettable at just the point where you were beginning to forget it.