By the time of his collaboration with Manowar [on “Dark Avenger”] Lee was already a bona fide metal recording artist in his own right, having released the galloping symphonic metal album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross earlier in 2010. On it, the actor-turned-musician – who released the record’s lead single, “Let Legend Mark Me as the King,” on his 90th birthday – chronicled the history of the first Holy Roman Emperor in sung and spoken parts. “He was, in fact, my ancestor and we can prove it,” Lee told an audience at a speech in University College in Dublin.
Here’s an official video for a track from Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross. Our best guess is that it’s about shedding the blood of the Saxon men:
Rolling stone continues:
Three years later, the actor took things to a new level of confidence and power with the heavier, more majestic Charlemagne: The Omens of Death, which was arranged by guitarist Richie Faulker right before he replaced K.K. Downing in Judas Priest. “It is entirely heavy metal,” Lee said in a promotional clip.
In the widget below, you can hear samples from both Charlemagne albums, as well as assorted other releases:
Explaining his metal career, Lee offered some words to live (and die) by in a December 2014 interview with Metal Hammer:
“I have a great belief that things – no matter what they are: music, literature, anything in life – should from time to time surprise people and that’s what I believe in: surprising people. Heavy metal has, since its very beginning, surprised in the best sense of the word, and people all over the world. To be involved in that, and to show people that even now I can still surprise my audience, it’s very important. I’ve spent my entire career taking risks. Acting is a risk, it has to be. I’ve never been afraid, and I’ve done my best to take those risks.”