Generally when you pick up a memoir by someone in a rock or metal band you kind of know what to expect, a little something about the band starting out as complete unknowns, something about them getting signed and releasing their first album and probably a lot of stuff about drink, drugs, groupies and hedonism that’s become an associated cliché with being in a popular (for its genre) rock/metal band.
Dark Days by Lamb of God singer D. Randall Blythe ,more commonly known as Randy Blythe, is completely and utterly unlike any of those books.
Whilst in Prague on the last days of the bands latest tour to the surprise of himself, his band, his road crew and later his family, Blythe found himself arrested and charged with Manslaughter and implicated in the death of a fan at a gig. Blythe was soon in a Czech prison potentially facing five to ten years imprisonment for a crime he had no recollection of.
Dark Days is engrossing, informative, surprisingly comical and occasionally emotionally wrenching as Blythe finds himself in a decrepit crumbling prison where hardly anyone speaks English, dealing with the bewildering Czech legal system and a Mongolian cellmate with a habit for whistling endlessly and a fondness for vodka.
Blythe is an eloquent writer and makes a point of stating that the book is his own work and not the product of some ghost writer. Whilst broken down into 4 parts Prague, Pankrac, The Trial and Epilogue, some of the chapters break from the story of his incarceration as he shares brutally honest stories of being an alcoholic for years and the struggle of being an addict, especially in a touring metal band where people are always offering you drinks and various other substances. This contrasts massively with the often more romanticised approach to alcohol and drugs in other books, Blythe openly admits he’s done profoundly stupid things whilst wasted and is also somewhat amazed that his friends and family haven’t disowned him previous to him getting sober for good.
One thing that radiates from the pages of Dark Days is the fact that Blythe is a man of honour and steadfast resolve in an age when many are more than happy to throw people under the bus at a moments notice, or blame someone or something for all their problems. Despite having no recollection of the events he is charged with he quickly accepts that he will face the consequences if he is indeed responsible.