Book Review: Dark Days: My Tribulations and Trials by D. Randall Blythe

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Title: Dark Days: My Tribulations and Trials

Author: D. Randall Blythe

Release date: June 24, 2014

I’m not a typical non-fiction reader. Some of it’s great, some of it’s middle of the road and some of it I have zero interest in. The biggest thing for me, is that I already know what’s happened. Obviously not all of the details, but I usually know the basics, the beginning middle and ending.

Such is the case with this novel.

I’m a huge Lamb of God fan – even have a LoG tattoo – and was fortunate enough to not only meet the band previously but did so while acting as part of their security team at a signing event in Vancouver at the former Scrape Records. I’ve seen them close to a dozen times and continue to spin their albums weekly. While I’m still partial to Ashes of the Wake as my fav LoG album, each one hits some fantastic musical places and for this metalhead, it’s always a good time

For those who are unaware – in 2011 (and I still remember how shocking it was) Lamb of God arrived in the Czech Republic to play a show, and their singer, one D. Randall Blythe was arrested for manslaughter. A year prior at a show, he’d pushed a stage crasher off the stage. The young man fell, hit his head on the concrete, and died a few months later.

I remember following this story as much as I could, wondering why Randy was still in jail, buying a ‘Free Randall Blythe’ wrist band to support his legal fees and after it was all said and done, watching the documentary that detailed the events.

This novel is a bit different, in that not only does it focus on Randall’s alcoholism and quest to get sober and stay sober, but also his time incarcerated and the behind the scenes look at his trail.

What I liked: Having already followed this case, I didn’t find anything that was ‘new’ or stand out for me. It was “enjoyable” (and I use that word loosely because, let’s face it, he was in prison) seeing his descriptions of events within the prison, the other inmates he befriended or met and the guards – both inept and kind. 

Blythe has an easy way of writing, which works well for the darker moments but also the comedic spots and he’s been frequently labelled the nicest and most easy going front man out there, which really does shine here as he discusses doing what’s right and the ramifications this had on the victim’s family.

At times this was powerful and shows how fast things can go bad and get worse, but Randall handled it in stride and gave a really solid, straightforward perspective, which in a world of people who frequently get angered or enraged at the drop of a hat, was refreshing.

What I didn’t like: I found a lot of the prison scenes/chapters to be a lot. As in, unnecessary and plodding where it really takes you out of the pacing of some of the other scenes.

As well, if you already know what happens, you won’t really gain any new exciting insight to anything here, other than exactly what you’d expect being in prison would be like.

Why you should read this: If you’re a LoG completist or a metalhead fan and want to read this memoir, definitely dive in. If you’ve been a fan of the band for many years and read all the news stories and the interviews etc, you may want to pass. There’s some solid writing here and it is always great to see Randall’s calm approach to situations.

For this reader, it was good and I’m glad to have read it.

3/5

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