As a drummer, Chris Adler of Lamb of God has always been an idol of mine (his signature sticks are my go to), and I’ve been a huge Lamb of God Fan for a number of years now. The story of their front man, Randy Blythe getting arrested on Manslaughter charges on landing in Prague Airport, Czech Republic two years after the alleged incident was truly shocking. His book, Dark Days, recounts the ordeal and offers an insight into his incredibly strong outlook on life and how he made it through the other side.
For anyone not in the know, Randy Blythe was charged with having pushed a fan off the stage during a concert, with the fan having died later from brain damage caused by the fall. He spent 5 weeks in prison before having his bail accepted and being allowed to return to the United States. He then returned for trial where he was found innocent of the Manslaughter charge.
The book offers an incredibly detailed account of the process, the “inefficiencies” in the Czech legal system (to put it mildly), the state of the accommodation in Pankrác Prison and some of the people he met along the way.
The read itself is by no means as depressing as it’s subject matter with it being a very entertaining read, with a known positive outcome. It’s a story that would, (in fact did), make a good film : As the Palaces Burn Documentary.
I think it’s fair to say that there’s a stigma around Metal music in the mainstream media, with people only too quick to believe that fans are all devil worshippers, and the like. Anyone with any common sense knows that this is nonsense. It’s also fair to say the majority of people, from looking at Randy, would not expect the level of eloquence and the ability to articulate himself in the way that he does throughout the book.
There are numerous references to his past, with alcoholism and drug abuse having been rife in his earlier years, but it’s a testament to his strength and personal willpower that he managed to keep it together through his ‘Dark Days’ in prison and beyond.
Personal Take Aways
Having watched As the Palaces Burn and read this book, it put a lot of things into perspective for me. Awkward meetings suddenly don’t seem so tough when you think about Randy’s return to the Czech Republic to face trial, of which there was a very real risk he would not have come out favourably, in fact they seem rather trivial.
There’s an immense courage within Randy; reading this made me proud to be a Lamb of God Fan and I think everyone could learn something from him.
I would highly recommend reading Dark Days. Its appeal is obviously going to be stronger for fans of his music, but this is by no means a must.