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Charlemange:The Omens Of Death
Released: 2013, Charlemange Productions
Christopher Lee is back with his 4th solo album, and second ‘Metal’ album with is a continuation of his Charlemange project. Back in 2013 I reviewed THE SWORD AND THE CROSS, and I didn’t give the album a high rating (2/5) because it wasn’t very heavy or ‘Metal’ at all really. When the follow up was announced it was said that the album was going to be much heavier and I’m pleased to say that it has lived up to the promise.
In the intervening three years there have not been too many changes, the whole Metal Opera was again written by Italian composer, Marco Saibu and this time Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest was involved as well. CHARLEMANGE:THE OMENS OF DEATH is a nice package with a good booklet, full lyrics, photos and liner notes with details of the numerous narrators and vocalists who each play a role.
Naturally, the highlight is the voice and vocal delivery of Sir Christopher Lee. As a descendent of Charlemange he was destined to play the role. He speaks as much as he sings and he has ample choral style back-up vocals. There have been some unsubstantiated rumours that the vocals tracks are the same as the first album but now they are sung in a ‘Metal’ way instead of a symphonic manner. If it is true, I didn’t notice and it didn’t bother me at all. Lyrically the albums is a type of continuation of the first story of the life and times of the titular character but this time focusing more on his death, destiny and fate.
Musically, the album is faster, heavier and darker. There is way more guitar and driving double-kick drumming making this firmly a Metal album. I would say it approaches a Savatage level of heaviness blended with the pomp and ceremony of a good rock opera. The symphonic elements have been dramatically reduced, which is a bit of a shame because they were so well done last time. The pace never gets too fast but surges along nicely. The production is better this time around with crunchy guitars up front and a better mix with the vocals more evenly balanced in the mix.
Much has been made about Lee’s age and his past resume, but in reality none of those details are relevant to the making of a Metal Opera. Interesting, yes. Relevant? No. Let’s strip Lee participation out of the equation for a moment. Would I recommend this to a Metal fan, for any reason other than novelty value? The first release, I said, ‘No’. For THE OMENS OF DEATH, I would recommend it to fans without hesitation.
1. The Portent
2. Charles the Great
3. The Siege
4. Massacre of the Saxons
5. Drawing of a New Age
6. Let Legend Mark Me As the King
7. The Betrayal
8. The Devil's Advocate
9. The Ultimate Sacrifice
10. Judgement Day
Christopher Lee Vocals
Hedras Ramos Guitars
Ollie Usiskin Drums
Hedras Ramos Sr. Bass
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