Rebellion In William Shakespeare's King Lear

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If you encountered me during my misspent youth as an 80s metalhead and asked if Shakespeare and metal went well together, I’d have pondered the question deeply for several seconds before hurling a half empty Schlitz can at you whilst cursing your ancestral line as posers and PMRC collaborators most foul. In the fullness of time I’ve come to realize the great English scribe’s body of work is, in fact, potent fodder for metal, teeming with sinister plots, betrayal, murder and war, sweet war. This pairing has been field tested with 2 concept albums based on Macbeth, one of which coming from German’s second-string grave exhumers, Rebellion. Now, 15 years after tackling that timeless story of kingly ambition run amok, they return to Shakespeare’s…show more content…
“Blood Against Blood” is a decent number weighed down by community theater grade voice acting, while “Truth Shall Prevail” is more voice-over than actual song, despite some inspired guitar interplay. This thing is also too long at over 1 hour. Look, I get that King Lear is a sprawling, epic tale, but if Slayer can cover “In a Gadda Da Vida” in just over 3 minutes, Lear too can be compressed into a manageable time frame. While the lyrics are often fairly well rendered, some are pretty awkward. The refrain of “you gave them the rod as you pulled your britches down” reoccurs in several songs, paraphrasing the original text, but less would have been more there for…show more content…
He’s spent his career emulating Grave Digger‘s Chris Boltendahl, and he lacks the sometimes useful ability to actually sing. Despite this, he goes all in, delivering an enthusiastic and at times impressive performance. On some songs he’s almost unrecognizable and he handles the serious material rather well. That said, he’s ultimately limited to growling, squawking, caterwauling and mewing, which in all fairness, King Lear does plenty of. Music-wise, this is easily Rebellion‘s most mature release with a lot of subtle guitar-work, folk instrumentation and emotive set pieces. Guitarists Oliver Geibig and Stephan Karut shine throughout, elevating their playing well above the usual gallop and crash of the genre, delivering some outstanding solo-work and moody noodling along with the required bruising riffage. There’s quite a bit of diversity musically and longtime fans will do double-takes on multiple tracks. Shakespeare’s King Lear is a very ambitious outing for Rebellion, and they pull it off far better than I expected when I snagged this from the promo sump, cackling sardonically over the comedic gold this misbegotten concept would provide. Alas, all that glitters is not sump gold, and I’ve been deprived of a chance to properly savage this album. This may not be the typical balls to the walls fare that fans expect from these Krautrockers, but it’s entertaining, educational and pretty damn epic. Shakespeare would be scared

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