He has played Dracula, Frankenstein's monster and the evil wizard Saruman, but the actor Sir Christopher Lee is only now fully exploring his dark side, when releases his first heavy metal album next week.
The actor, who has starred in the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit and Star Wars franchises, is releasing his fourth album Charlemagne: The Omens of Death on 27 May in time for his 91st birthday.
The record, which features track names such as “Massacre of the Saxons”, “The Devil’s Advocate” and “The Ultimate Sacrifice”, is likely to appeal to fans of Sir Lee’s fantasy films. Lee appears on the cover brandishing a sword and surrounded by fire.
His previous album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross featured symphonic metal music, but this is his first album to exclusively feature heavy metal.
“I’m not screaming or anything like that, but it is definitely heavy metal,” Sir Lee said.
“The first Charlemagne album was metal, of course, but what I sang was more symphonic. Now on the second one, The Omens Of Death, it is one hundred per cent heavy metal.”
Sir Lee said he had played quite a few parts in his career which have appeared in heavy metal songs, such as “Wicker Man” by Iron Maiden and “The Man with the Golden Gun” by Alice Cooper.
The album was arranged by Richie Faulkner, the lead guitarist for heavy metal band Judas Priest.
“Some of the tracks didn’t have any music at all and were just Sir Christopher singing his melodies,” he said. “Most of the songs were already there, but they needed riffs, drum parts and musical parts that reflected what the guys wanted.”
Sir Lee joins a number of high profile actors, such as Hugh Laurie and Steve Martin, who have released albums alongside their TV and film work.
Artists including Zooey Deschanel, Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith have established careers as both actors and musicians, though they are yet to release any heavy metal…yet.