By the Sword and the Cross

In what is surely a case of life imitating the imagination of the Flea, on New Year’s Day, Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ, announced that he is working on a symphonic metal album based on the life of Charlemagne (or Charles the Great)—King of the Franks, and foremost leader of a Frankish empire that would later become the Holy Roman Empire.  The album derives its name from Charlemagne’s motto (or dictum), and is due to be released in mid-March of this year; the Manchester Guardian has more details:

“To my surprise and indeed great pleasure, I have suddenly found that there is another string to my bow,” Sir Christopher said in a video message. Due on 15 March, Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross features the 87-year-old singing and acting alongside a full orchestra, choir, and a large cast of undisclosed guest vocalists. “There’s a lot of characters in this particular album,” Lee explained. “A lot. There’s Charlemagne himself of course, which I sing, and then there’s young Charlemagne, Charlemagne’s father, Charlemagne’s brother, … [even] the Pope.”

… “It’s pretty unexpected,” Lee admitted. Although he has previously worked on metal projects – narrating several records by Italian band Rhapsody of Fire, and collaborating briefly with Manowar – he has never released an album before. This particular project resonated not just with the actor’s dark, storm-whipped soul – but with his family tree. “I am through the Carandini family [his mother’s] actually descended from Charlemagne,” he revealed.

“It’s fascinating for me that at this stage in my life, people are beginning to look upon me as a metal singer,” Lee said. “When this comes out as a complete album, it’s going to be sensational.”

— Michaels, Sean.  “Christopher Lee to release ‘symphonic metal’ album.” Manchester Guardian, 5 January 2010.

We at the Company like to think of this as Sir Christopher’s belated apology for that whole Count Dooku thing, not to mention the last half-hour of The Man with the Golden Gun—where Scaramanga gets stupidly himself killed well in advance of the finale, and then James Bond spends a lot of time pointlessly fighting Scaramanga’s pint-sized henchman Nick Nack/Tattoo.

Here are some samples of the tracks on the forthcoming album:

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RELATED: Christopher Lee singing with Italian symphonic metal band Rhapsody of Fire, on their 2005 single The Magic of the Wizard’s Dream.


Also, Cracked magazine has a pretty entertaining overview of Christopher Lee’s life and career.

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