Rating:
9.7
Christopher Lee - Charlemagne: By The Sword And The Cross
15 March 2010


01. Overture
02. Act I: Intro
03. Act I: King Of The Franks
04. Act II: Intro
05. Act II: The Iron Crown Of Lombardy
06. Act III: Intro
07. Act III: The Bloody Verdict Of Verden
08. Act IV: Intro
09. Act IV: The Age Of Oneness Out Of Diversity
10. Act V: Intro
11. Act V: Starlight
12. Finale
13. Iberia
14. The Bloody Verdict Of Verden [instrumental version]


I am not going to say that this is crap, nor am I going to say it's the greatest thing since Black Sabbath. It does fall under the symphonic metal genre - even though the orchestra plays more than Manowar and Rhapsody of Fire do. Yes, it does seem like a metal-opera and not an all-metal concept album (a la Kamelot's Epica and The Black Halo). Does that mean it is terrible and deserves to be rated as low as St. Anger? Lyrically, there are places where the rhyming structure is annoyingly predictable, like in most musicals/metal operas. The ever-present 3-to-1-minute interludes can be annoying to those who are looking for a metal album that is relentless in its "assault" - by relentless I mean non-stop metal tracks, back-to-back.

Now the plus-side: yes, there is one. It seems that this album hopes to carry itself off on Christopher Lee's performance and the fact that he is related to Charlemagne himself in order to become epic - and it works. The spine-tingling voice of the actor who has portrayed throughout his long and illustrious career Dracula, Saruman and Count Dooku brought down as that of a powerful warlord great in magnanimity and fearsome to his enemies works well. The quality is definitely something good: unlike most symphonic metal bands who use the symphony to back the band, this one uses the band to back the symphony, which is an interestingly new approach that is sure to be criticized. The story presented is definitely a new one - the tale of probably the most hated name in pagan history second to Olaf Tryggvason (Heri Joensen from Týr listed him along with Olaf, Sigmund Dragonslayer and Attila the Hun as "bad guys" during an interview).

So where does this album stand? It is definitely something that should at least be listened to once in order to have some opinion about it, whether good or bad. I understand that a lot of people, especially in the metal scene, are under the delusion that it is unmanly to appreciate theatre and opera and therefore would not like this album. I'm not saying it's the next milestone of the metal genre, I'm just saying that it hardly deserves to be rated as poorly as it has been.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 10


 


written by spiritofvengence | 10.05.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Ellrohir - 10.05.2010 at 16:02  
Well this album has bright sides (Christopher Lee, "epic-ness"...) and dark sides (boring, not even close to metal at all...)...this is qualifying it as an average for the best...9.7
Valentin B - 22.05.2010 at 21:02  
Wasn't there a rule saying that you can't review an album until 3 months after its appearance?
BitterCOld - 22.05.2010 at 23:26  
Written by Valentin B on 22.05.2010 at 21:02

Wasn't there a rule saying that you can't review an album until 3 months after its appearance?


there is. whomever proofed it likely missed it/didn't check the date. i've done that in the past and now check.
Valentin B - 22.05.2010 at 23:35  
Written by BitterCOld on 22.05.2010 at 23:26

Written by Valentin B on 22.05.2010 at 21:02

Wasn't there a rule saying that you can't review an album until 3 months after its appearance?


there is. whomever proofed it likely missed it/didn't check the date. i've done that in the past and now check.

yeah, i know i lost my fanboy review for Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon that way haha
Introspekrieg - 22.05.2010 at 23:41  
While I respect your opinion and appreciate the points you bring up in the review, I just don't like this album. It is musically and lyrically predictable throughout the entire length, making for a nice snoozefest.

Quote:
I am not going to say that this is crap, nor am I going to say it's the greatest thing since Black Sabbath.


It's funny that you rated this higher than the Paranoid review...
AngelofDeth - 07.08.2012 at 12:04  
Quote:
unlike most symphonic metal bands who use the symphony to back the band, this one uses the band to back the symphony, which is an interestingly new approach that is sure to be criticized


There are many bands who heavily rely on their symphonic elements rather than traditional metal instruments, this is in no way new.

Quote:
I understand that a lot of people, especially in the metal scene, are under the delusion that it is unmanly to appreciate theatre and opera and therefore would not like this album.


I need to only direct you to this page to prove this false. Nightwish as you will see they are the tenth most popular band on this site and feature both heavy use of symphonic elements and OPERATIC vocals.
RavenKing - 08.08.2012 at 01:07  
Written by AngelofDeth on 07.08.2012 at 12:04


Quote:
I understand that a lot of people, especially in the metal scene, are under the delusion that it is unmanly to appreciate theatre and opera and therefore would not like this album.


I need to only direct you to this page to prove this false. Nightwish as you will see they are the tenth most popular band on this site and feature both heavy use of symphonic elements and OPERATIC vocals.


I would add that if there's something overhyped and overrated these days, it's precisely any kind of metal using symphonic elements.
AngelofDeth - 08.08.2012 at 08:22  
Written by RavenKing on 08.08.2012 at 01:07

I would add that if there's something overhyped and overrated these days, it's precisely any kind of metal using symphonic elements.

Being a fan of symphonic I wouldnt say its overrated but it is undeniably a fad right now, with many people/bands jumping on the bandwagon for better or worse.

I dont mind people having different opinions than me but this review is Trash, its full of ignorance and unneccessary accusations towards metalheads that are actually contrary to fact

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