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Rebellion - A Tragedy in Steel II: Shakespeare's King Lear Award winner

A Tragedy in Steel II: Shakespeare's King Lear
by Kyle Scott at 22 January 2018, 4:48 PM

In a turn of events no one saw coming (yet seemed to agree it made perfect sense when you thought about it), REBELLION created a concept album based on a Shakespeare tragedy. Their first “Tragedy In Steel” album (yes, their first concept album was based on a Shakespeare tragedy), “Shakespeare’s Macbeth – A Tragedy in Steel” was released in 2002. The band itself and the subject matter aren’t so dissimilar; after all, REBELLION is a Power Metal band from Frankfurt, and King Lear is about an aging British ruler who slowly goes mad after dividing his kingdom amongst his heirs… Wait.

For this review, I actually bought a copy of King Lear just to get a better grasp on the band’s subject of choice. I won’t bore you with details of the play (which, any fans of classic lit should pick it up if you haven’t already, I forgot how good the insults are in Shakespeare), instead I’ll tell you about the nice medieval ballad tone the first song “A Fool’s Tale” leads. Classic instruments like lute clash with modern drums and palm-muted guitars in a whirlwind battle. There are moments of spoken word as lead Michael Seifert delivers passages from the play during solos. Seifert delves further into the play with the introduction of King-scorned Cordelia in “Dowerless Daughter”.

“Stand Up for Bastards” is the rebellious 80s-inspired anthem of Gloucester’s not-son Edmund who aims to gain his (legitimate brother) Edgar’s inheritance through any illicit means necessary; including ruining his brother’s image in the eyes of their father. “Storm and Tempest” is easily the catchiest in the album next to “A Fool’s Tale” with pre-chorus and chorus hooks. “This night will turn us to fools, and to mad men!” Roars Seifert over backing vocals. The hooks don’t stop with “The Mad Shall Lead the Blind”, “Black Is the World” and the high-energy “Battle Song”. Things pick up speed again in “Blood Against Blood” with everyone in each other’s families (Gloucester, Lear, Cornwall, and France) fighting to the death over the third of land that Cordelia refused. “Truth Shall Prevail” and “Farwell” round out the album on a depressing note, “Farewell” is a fitting funeral dirge that references the final act.

All the lyrics are self-explanatory, telling the entire store of King Lear without ever needing to read it, sung in the voice of King Lear’s fool who, despite his title, is the only intelligent character in the entire play. The Fool knew King Lear shot himself in the foot by literally handing over his kingdom to heirs that never really loved him, save for Cordelia, so it’s fitting to have him sing. “A Tragedy in Steel II: Shakespeare’s King Lear” is not your typical Power Metal album about dragons or wizards or dragon wizards (I don’t listen to a lot of Power Metal), and its subject is sure to inspire you to catch up on your classic reading list you’re always saying you never get around to! It’s the perfect companion album that I’m sure Shakespeare would be tickled by if he were alive today. “A Tragedy in Steel II: Shakespeare’s King Lear” comes out on January 26th.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. A Fool’s Tale
2. Dowerless Daughter
3. Thankless Child
4. Stand Up for Bastards
5. Storm and Tempest
6. Demons of Madness
7. The Mad Shall Lead the Blind
8. Black is the World
9. Battle Song
10. Blood Against Blood
11. Truth Shall Prevail
12. Farewell
Michael Seifert – Vocals
Tomi Göttlich – Bass
Oliver Geibig – Guitar
Stephan Karut - Guitar
Tommy Telkemeier – Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records


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