Christopher Lee: 'Metal Is a Direct Evolution of the Sounds Wagner Imagined'

Iconic actor discusses the sound of metal and his latest album "Charlemagne: The Omens of Death."

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Iconic 91-year-old actor Christopher Lee recently discussed the historical aspect of his latest release "Charlemagne: the Omens of Death," reaching the subject of the very roots of metal music.

Lee showed a great deal of appreciation for the music of legendary German composer Richard Wagner, stating that it was his work that expressed the initial emotion of metal music.

"My work, my acting has always been influenced by the German composer Wagner," the actor told Skullbanger. "Now that I have been able to listen to many metal albums, I realize that the genre is a direct evolution of the world and the sounds that Wagner imagined. I am of course very pleased and honored to have been able to carry these themes through."

Focusing on his current album, Lee described some of its historical aspects, calling it "a fun way of learning what is arguably one of the most important times in history."

"The album is based entirely on the historical events that happened during the life of Charlemagne," he said. "We tried to keep any creative license to a bare minimum. So yes, it will be a good way to introduce the story to the younger generations, who hopefully will enjoy the music."

The actor also revealed that he is involved with several musical projects at the moment, one of which he will announce in the near future.

"Charlemagne: The Omens of Death" dropped on May 27 as a sequel to 2010's "Charlemagne: by the Sword and the Cross," marking Lee's 91st birthday.

72 comments sorted by best / new / date

    JuteJute
    Got nothing important to say, but Lee is just a badass. Good day.
    HARTATTACK69
    The man is a true Legend, he actually disputed a scene in the Lord of the Rings with Peter Jackson because he didn't like the scripted reaction he had when being stabbed as he had actually seen men be stabbed in the back during his time in the Special Forces during World War II.
    fatgleeson
    This is the first Ive heard about his metal music and I think my head is going to explode from all the badassery
    dalejandro88
    not even getting his head cut off by lightsabers can stop him from rocking
    JMZ08
    The comparison to Wagner feels so true! Christopher Lee is one manic dude.
    vikingman369
    did he listen to Bathory any? because "Now that I have been able to listen to many metal albums, I realize that the genre is a direct evolution of the world and the sounds that Wagner imagined." That would be an appropriate claim for Twilight of the Gods or the Nordland albums
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    classical probably had the biggest influence on metal after the blues and punk, the virtuosity of the lead guitar players directly correlates to the virtuosity of classical soloists, only the guitar due to advances in technology has taken the place of the violin and organ.
    Hamburger89
    A sith vampire that makes metal music... that's pretty brutal
    TryTheKetchup
    Sometimes I think we should replace the word 'metal' with 'Christopher Lee' Like: "ChristopherLeelica"
    Punk_Kid
    ChristopherLeehead doesn't really work that well
    Ibeanez
    Neither does "Christopher Lee up your ass".
    shwilly
    Funny because even though I was aware of the fact that the Nazis idolized the man and his music, it wasn't until yesterday that I realized what a complete sack of manure Wagner was If anyone's interested, I think you guys should watch this clip (from the 37th minute onwards):
    l0ld4v3
    Hopping late into that train are we?
    shwilly
    That's funny because the nazis used trains to... well, you know the rest :p
    shwilly
    I was gonna say travel long distances in an age during which aerial transportation wasn't a very affordable option for cross-country travel Should've made that clearer
    Chronologo
    Anyone who knows music history is aware of the fact that Wagner was like the first Nazi of musical history. He always was about "german superiority" and stuff. But that doesn't make his music any less fantastic and awesome
    N7Crazy
    Because when you mention trains and nazi's, we all immediatly think of how affordable it was compared to aerial travel...
    HardAttack
    Great actor, and I just listened to some of his music. This guy needs like... 50 lifetime achievement awards right now.
    Martin Hohner
    Metal and rock music originated from plant workers. Working on heavy, noisy machines, they imitated their sound through their instruments
    Tonganation
    You may be right, as far as Britain (Black Sabbath) and metal are concerned. Rock music developed in America though as a fusion of R&B and the Pop music of the day with artists such as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard. This is also the sound that inspired a lot of British rockers like the Beatles, though the later British hard rock bands also took a lot of influence from blues music (Led Zeppelin).
    jacobdubya
    While Christopher Lee isn't generally what you would think of as a metalhead, it seems like he's adopted this metalhead notion that metal is somehow the modern day classical music. While I agree that some metal music is very well composed and has classical influences, I get tired of hearing the pretentious attitude about it. There's some punk out there that has classical influences. There's electronic music out there that has classical influences. There's also a lot of metal that's shit. So it'd be nice if metalheads stop acting like their genre of music is the most important around today. Cue: Shitstorm.
    Lord_Doku
    Your post is entirely composed of truth, however it is not Bach we're speaking about, or Beethoven, or Mozart, or any other composer other than Richard Wagner. Christopher Lee speaks of the similarity between modern metal and Wagner as he himself considers it, not modern metal and Byzantine chants. It is exactly that which you propagate in your post, so what's the problem ? .. I'd love to see Christopher Lee sing Byzantine chants now. It would be awesome.
    6-String_Madman
    You got it spot on, Doku. Of course, Wagner. The person who revolutionized the Orchestra by loading up the lower end of his orchestra. That powerful bass sound almost destroyed venues where his orchestra performs.
    Kueller917
    Well in Lee's defense classical music doesn't mean good. What he's saying is more of the fact that metal is a successor to the heavier direction Wagner was taking music. Now, I don't think Wagner would start going to metal concert everywhere if he came back to life. He'd be as shocked as any old musician about the state music has evolved to. But given some time I could see him adapting to the more grandiose forms of metal. Maybe film scores too.
    l0ld4v3
    He's talking about Wagner specifically. I thee loathes generalizations, stride away from them first.
    Jazz1992
    What's so pretentious in saying that a lot of metal is well composed and has classical influences? That doesn't imply that every other genre sucks, or that all metal kicks ass simply because it's metal. If you're going to criticize metal fans for being pretentious elitists, at least pick a case where they are, instead of putting words in our mouths.
    ysalimari
    I hate to be "that guy", but maybe I'm missing something; I found the first album he did to be extremely boring and not at all very good.
    munkybusiness
    Love this guy. Always thought he was an ultimate bad ass ever since seeing him Dueling Roger Moore with a single fire golden gun. "Oh, Mr Bond, I only need one". (shot/bullet). LEGEND.
    A/R/T
    I have to say quite cool since if i recall right he did his first album with the guys from Manowar... I may be wrong but im pretty sure he did. well whatever the case good for him being a metalhead and liking the stuff, as i say it doesn't make you greater per say but it gives you a greater variety of musical interest. In my mind that heightens your love for music and builds a far better understanding for it.