Randy is free. The court just returned their verdict in the manslaughter trial against Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe, with the singer being acquitted of all charges. “Randy is finally free,” a statement on Lamb of God’s Twitter read. It linked to an article from Novinky.cz, a Czech news agency, proclaiming “The court acquitted metal vocalist Blythe is innocent.” Since he’s been ruled innocent, he doesn’t have to compensate the victim’s family, either. Blythe faced up to ten years in prison for allegedly being involved in the death of 19 year-old Daniel Nosek, who died several weeks after attending a Lamb of God show in which he had fallen from the stage.
“I have been found not guilty & acquitted of all charges against me, Blythe said in the text that accompanies the Instagram photo above. “I am a free man. This photo was taken by my friend @aceyslade– it says it all. Please remember the family of Daniel Nosek in your thoughts & prayers in this difficult time. I only wish for them peace. Thank you for your support- Randy”
Yet despite the relief, the trial still took place because a fan of the band lost their life, a statement echoed by Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton, who tweeted “Very relieved for my dear friend. But we still think of Daniel each and every day. There is nothing about this that can be “celebrated.”
While it all began on May 24, 2010, it wasn’t until over two years later, on June 27th 2012, when Lamb of God returned to Prague to play a show at Rock Cafe that anyone in the Lamb of God camp knew anything had happened that night. In an exclusive interview with Metal Insider, drummer Chris Adler explained how they found out their frontman was charged with manslaughter.
So we’re getting off the plane along with everyone else, and they’re pulling us aside one at a time. At first I didn’t think anything of it, and then they pulled me aside and I still didn’t think anything of it… So we walk in this room and there’s ten guys that look like they’re ready for the apocalypse. Scary, scary dudes with black ski masks on, huge machine guns, full body armor, guns strapped to thighs, calves and chests, and mace out. This is where it gets very scary, and we realized it was something far more than what someone had in their bag. The plainclothes officer explained to us in broken English that they were investigating a homicide… Then they hand us all a piece of paper that explains in broken English about the situation that happened in 2010. They said they needed us all for interrogation, but they’re taking Randy with us now. That’s when it hit us. No one had heard anything about this, it was very very scary to be involved in, and we realized with the SWAT team standing around us that there was nothing we could do about it.
It was alleged that Nosek stage dove several times, and security is shown in a video pushing stagedivers off stage, although none of them were Nosek. According to unofficial reports, Novek sat at a table for about half an hour after the incident drinking water, and friends helped him out of the venue after the show, when they called him an ambulance. Nosek died of a brain hemorrhage several weeks after the concert.
Blythe was held in Pankrac Prison in Prague for over a month. After paying a $200,000 bail, it was then doubled to $400,000, and even after that was paid, his bail was denied again. The repeated bail denials eventually led the band to officially cancel a tour with Dethklok and Gojira that had been set to start on August 1. In the meantime, a petition to demand his release got over 25,000 signatures and was officially recognized by the Department of State. Finally, on August 3, Blythe was released from prison and was free to return home.
Whether it was the beginning of an image overhaul or the result of a month plus in jail, the Randy Blythe that gave a post-release interview was calm, level-headed, and ready to face the consequences regardless of the outcome, and that’s the attitude he’s kept up since. He stated that he was treated fairly the whole time he was imprisoned and stated that it would have been “irresponsible and immoral” for him to not return to Prague for the trial. His Instagram account has also been a good glimpse into his mental attitude. The band’s fall tour with In Flames, Hatebreed and HELLYEAH was, as Adler told us, “like therapy.”
At the end of November, Blythe was officially indicted on manslaughter charges, and several weeks later, the trial was scheduled for February. There had been several different accounts in court, with concertgoers disagreeing over whether Blythe was actually seen shoving Nosek offstage, as well as psychologists at odds over whether Blythe exhibited antisocial personality traits. In addition, the trial took a one-month break, which gave Blythe an additional month of freedom back in the States.
As one of the most popular metal bands of the last 15 years, Lamb of God’s place in the metal landscape can’t be understated. Forming as Burn the Priest in 1990, they worked their way up from tiny label Legion Records, to Prosthetic, and eventually to Epic, a label they’ve remained on for the past nine years. Their last three albums, Sacrament, Wrath and Resolution, all debuted in the top ten on Billboard’s charts, and as their Prague concerts proved, they’re a draw worldwide.