There's a simple reason why Randy Blythe's 2015 memoir is titled Dark Days — the book recounts his experiences in prison and on trial in the Czech Republic under charges of manslaughter for the death of a fan following a Lamb of God show, and that period truly was a pitch-black and sometimes seemingly hopeless one for the LOG vocalist. Yet, as extreme as the circumstances were, those were hardly the only dark days that Blythe has navigated over the course of his 47 years of life so far.
Through it all, music has been there for him — even when he didn't have a way to play them while in prison, certain songs were always there in his head, helping him to keep going. For our continuing "Songs for Black Days" series, presented in partnership with Hope for the Day, we asked the singer to share a few songs he turns to in dark times. Below is what he offered up.
Everybody talks about PMA [Positive Mental Attitude] now — it's entered the cultural lexicon. The phrase comes from the self-help books of Napoleon Hill, but it was the almighty Bad Brains that took this philosophy to the punk-rock masses with the song "Attitude." It's a battle cry, a ripping one-minutes and 20-second-long refusal to let anyone or anything into your mental space. I could run through a brick wall when I hear this tune.
It has been said that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Yes, the world is going to try to drag you down, and it will succeed if you let it. You have to fight back and resist. That's why I have "Rise Above" tattooed below the Black Flag bars on my neck.
There are all sorts of prisons — mental, emotional and physical. I didn't have any way to play music while I was locked up for a bit, but I sang this song endlessly while I was in prison overseas for a short while, and it helped keep my mind straight.
When I first heard this song, I thought [Hatebreed frontman Jamey] Jasta had finally lost it — the tune is, like, two riffs total, I think. But when I saw them Hatebreed do it live, I understood. The tune crushes. It's about examining yourself, rooting out weakness and destroying it. Improving yourself takes work. This song will get you psyched up to do just that.
The entire Age of Quarrel record should be blasted at excruciating volume whenever you're sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. It will knock you out of a funk and raise the old fighting spirits. I know, because I've been cranking it for just that purpose since I was 16 years old. Hard times will definitely come, so you better get yourself an attitude adjustment before they arrive. True words in this song from people who definitely lived through some crazy stuff.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.