Lamb Of God have a history of creating in-depth and honest home videos, but in the case of this particular full-length, no-holds-barred feature documentary, they’ve pushed the envelope further than ever before. The film offers fans a glimpse into the traumatic experience of going through Randy Blythe’s arrest and trial for manslaughter in the Czech Republic through the eyes of the people that lived it, although, as guitarist Mark Morton explained to Hammer when we talked to him late last year, that was never the original intention of the movie.
“Anyone that knows the history of the band knows that we put out DVDs that give fans a pretty up-close and personal look at what it is to be a touring heavy metal band,” he begins. “Which I think has created a bond with our fans, and we took a long time cultivating that atmosphere. So, because of that, we wanted to flip the camera and make a movie about our fans. As we’ve met more of our fans, and toured so many wonderful and amazing places, so we’ve become fans of our fans. The idea was to introduce a bunch of our fans to each other and let them tell the stories they had to tell. We met some fascinating people that just happened to be fans of Lamb Of God, and it was refreshing because it wasn’t really about us. It was a pretty unique idea.”
Suddenly and unexpectedly, the film’s focus was flipped due to the unforeseen circumstances that the band found themselves in after that fateful night in Prague. “The Prague incident happened,” Mark sighs. “I mean, we were made aware of it at that time. The whole event had happened a couple of years before and we weren’t even aware that there had been an accident at that show. It’s ironic to me that we had tried to make this grand project about our fans and then, without warning, the camera was flipped 180 degrees back onto us with more intensity than we had ever had before. It’s at this point that the film switches from our original intentions and focuses on Lamb Of God, the family, the tight-knit group that we are. So you start to see the process that all of that entails.”
It’s incredible in a sense that the film continued in any vein at all, such was the seriousness of the situation, but Mark, currently sitting out LOG’s ongoing European tour due to “family issues”, states that the band felt moved to continue with the filming despite the obvious strain events were putting on them.
“The question became, ‘Are we going to continue?’” he says. “The film became such an insignificant thing at first. It really had no bearing on what we originally intended to do. But we made a decision to carry on documenting what was happening and then worry about what we took out and left in later. We’ve always been very candid and open in our DVDs, so we felt that we had to continue to be honest and open to people because we had already established a relationship and it meant that we could really be ourselves. We didn’t freeze up or feel we had to work the camera because this project had been ongoing and we felt comfortable with the crew we were working with.”
There is no doubt that, for better or worse, As The Palaces Burn captures a unique story and offers an insight into a situation that many might not have ever been privy to. Shot by acclaimed director Don Argott, who has also produced excellent features on the likes of Pentagram, the gravitas of the situation at the centre of the film is gruelling, but Mark remains humble about the movie itself.
“It’s not for me to say whether it’s an important piece of work,” he states. “I can’t make that decision. If you have that closeness of the event, it really means that it prohibits you from saying something like that. I just know that, as an artist, if you are being honest, then you are doing all you can do to make the best of the situation. I don’t have the ability or the right to evaluate this film on those terms.”
The movie hits US theatres next month, and it goes without saying that As The Palaces Burn looks to be one of the bravest and most fascinating pieces of work this most thrilling of bands has produced in their career.
As The Palaces Burn is out next month in select theatres. Lamb Of God wrap up their UK tour tonight in Bristol.
Interview by Stephen Hill
from Metal Hammer http://www.metalhammer.co.uk/news/mark-morton-on-lamb-of-god-documentary-the-question-became-are-we-going-to-continue/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mark-morton-on-lamb-of-god-documentary-the-question-became-are-we-going-to-continue