Lamb of God, a crew of Virginia pummelers who have been riding the rock-and-rollercoaster since their formation as Burn the Priest in 1990, had this year reached a point that veteran bands often do, when the momentum of their early, hungry stage was replaced by a machine-like state of perpetual activity. Crowd after crowd, city after city, their life had become a blurred non-stop cavalcade of busywork. The January release of seventh long-player Resolution (Epic/Roadrunner) seemed another iteration of this endless groove-core metal machine. And yet, when the band walked off of a plane into Ruzyně Airport on June 27 to play a show in Prague, a massive monkey wrench was about to be tossed into their gears.
At a Prague show in May of 2010, a fan was injured after climbing the stage, and later died. The exact circumstances leading to 19-year-old Daniel Nosek's death are a point of Rashomon-like contention, but Czech authorities allege that singer Randy Blythe pushed Nosek off the stage, and arrested him on charges of "bodily harm resulting in death." For Lamb of God, the everyday business of being modern metal titans ground to a halt.
"He spent almost 40 days in jail," says bassist John Campbell, "and the whole time it was unclear if he would ever come out. Until we saw him at the airport [released August 3 on $400,000 bail], it was unclear if they were going to let him go. We kept being told one thing, and then another thing would happen. We're very happy that he is here now, but the matter is still unresolved, and it's hard to really be excited. It's a very trying and difficult situation."
Blythe will have to face trial back in Prague at some as-yet-undetermined date, putting his future, and the band's, in limbo — which is a tricky place to be as the band gears up for another massive tour. "It's been great playing again, but it's an odd feeling," Campbell says. "I mean, there was a good bit of time where it was unclear whether we had played our last show. So it's nice to be back onstage, great to get out and perform — but what exactly is going to happen from here is still unknown."
When Blythe sat in prison, there was even talk of a replacement singer. "That situation was floated at one point. I mean, we're all in our late 30s and early 40s, and with maturity you realize that you've got to plan for what's ahead." Part of that planning ahead entails the real possibility of a Czech tribunal giving Blythe between five and 10 years — but until that happens, Lamb of God have little choice but to put their collective heads down and get back to work doing what they do best, for the time being.
LAMB OF GOD + IN FLAMES + HELLYEAH + SYLOSIS :: House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston :: November 25 @ 6 pm :: All Ages :: $37-$52.50 :: 888.693.2583 or hob.com/boston