Sir Christopher Lee: Charlemagne: The Omens Of Death

A knight at the heavy metal opera

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Having affirmed his strong belief that historical drama and symphonic heavy metal are natural bedfellows on 2011’s Charlemagne: By The Sword And The Cross, the now 91-year-old Sir Christopher Lee is having the time of his avowedly epic life on this exuberant follow-up.

While the esteemed knight’s first foray into this musical realm was typified by the kind of long-winded interludes and narrative drift that made Manowar’s Gods Of War such a frustrating piece of work, …The Omens Of Death is a far more direct and fervently metallic affair, underpinned by arrangements courtesy of Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner and driven along by the dazzling showmanship of six-string virtuoso Hedras Ramos Jr.

Sir Christopher’s booming tones dominate proceedings, of course, and despite a few moments of unintentional comedy – not least the howlingly daft chorus to Massacre Of The Saxons – the sturdier musical backdrop ensures that this second plunge into the life of the first Holy Roman Emperor is no more preposterous than the majority of modern power and fantasy metal albums out there. In fact, it’s hugely entertaining.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.