Can this guy get any cooler? I grew up watching Christopher Lee in the old Hammer Horror films, and he’s always been something of a “fantasy grandpa” to me. His late-career turn as Saruman in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings was awesome enough, but now he’s set to release a symphonic metal album based on the life of Charlemagne! (Full disclosure: Lee is the direct descendant of the first Holy Roman Emperor.)
“To my surprise and indeed great pleasure, I have suddenly found that there is another string to my bow,” Lee says. The album, By the Sword and the Cross, is set to drop in March, and features not just the 87 year-old thespian, but also a full orchestra, choir and a cast of special guest vocalists. I can only hope that the great Ronnie James Dio — who is currently fighting stomach cancer — is among them.
“There’s a lot of characters in this particular album,” Lee says. “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.”
Take that, “Jesus Christ Superstar!”
“It’s fascinating for me that at this stage in my life, people are beginning to look upon me as a metal singer,” Lee offers. “When this comes out as a complete album, it’s going to be sensational.”
You can check out samples here.