How a 90-Year-Old Man Made the Most Metal Album Ever
Christopher Lee -- the English actor most famous for playing Dracula, Saruman, Count Dooku, and the mad scientist in Gremlins 2 -- recently turned 91 years old. While most people commemorating their 10th decade of life would limit the celebration to a 3:00 p.m. dinner reservation at Red Lobster, Lee decided to mark the occasion by releasing a heavy metal album.
Because this album just wasn't metal enough.
This is because Christopher Lee is secretly the metalest dude to have ever walked the planet Earth. He's more metal than Glenn Danzig slaying a griffin with a broadsword forged from the bones of Dimebag Darrell. Here is why:
This Is Not His First Metal Album
Christopher Lee has made cameos on several heavy metal albums and released his first full-length solo effort, called Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, in 2010. The album is a collection of words akin to heavy metal Yahtzee. Here's what the music video looks like:
We'll pause a moment while you shave your newly grown chest hair.
Those are shots from the song "The Bloody Verdict of Verden," and as you can see it is the metalest goddamn thing ever constructed. A bunch of dudes shredding in front of a burning castle while Lee dresses up like the doomed king of Morgul and sings "I shed the blood of the Saxon men" over and over again. And by "singing," we really just mean "speaking." We'd have linked to the video, but YouTube took it down, most likely out of fear.
See, that's the thing -- Lee doesn't have to change anything about himself to be completely freaking metal. He's a bearded, scary old man with an echoing doom voice -- give him a sword and a crown, and he's a walking Helloween song. He seems to be totally aware of this, because he keeps making albums.
"It's either that or boil the world alive with the terrible power that lives within my blood."
He even did a metal Christmas album, wherein he covered "Little Drummer Boy" so hard, we're amazed it didn't make Santa's balls explode with unholy fire and burn down every Christmas tree in the Northern Hemisphere.
He Was Metal Before Being Metal Was a Thing
Perhaps heavy metal comes so naturally to Christopher Lee because, for most of his formative years, "heavy metal" was just everyday life for him.
At 18 years old, he had already met one of Rasputin's assassins and witnessed the last public guillotine execution in France. Crazy wizard beards and decapitation are two of the stoutest cornerstones of heavy metal, and again, that's in the first 18 years of his life. From there, things only got more metal, as he spent his older years murdering Nazis in the British Special Forces and playing Dracula in like 10 different movies.
"Played Dracula ... yes."
Before Christopher Lee finally ventured into the music world, at least three different metal songs had been written about his various roles. Heck, Black Sabbath once referred to him as "the Emperor of Metal" because of the years of inspiration his films had provided. He'd be crazy not to have at least appeared on an album cover at this point.
Speaking of which ...
Metal Is in His Blood
And we're not just talking about hemoglobin here. At first glance, the cover art of Christopher Lee's albums seem like pretty basic collections of heavy metal iconography -- swords, kingdoms, Gothic crests, fire, and the dead-eyed glare of a terror wizard.
"What did I do to get in character? Wake up."
But here is where Christopher Lee stands out. That crazy sigil on the back is his family's actual crest, the coat of arms of the Roman Empire bestowed by the crusading emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Because Christopher Lee's bloodline used to hang with Charlemagne, meaning all the swords and castles and fire are so deep within his wheelhouse that they're probably fucking heirlooms.
Christopher Lee isn't just singing about some bullshit he read in a book -- he's reciting chapters from his actual ancestry. His albums are essentially a man giving a history lesson intercut with the howling fury of death metal. He's just a guy embracing his lineage and expressing it in the most natural way possible -- with fucking metal.
This actually isn't from the album at all -- it's his Christmas card from 2012.