SARACEN – Vox In Excelso

SARACEN - Vox In Excelso


Escape Music
Release date: July 21, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Saracen is a band that has been around for a long time, originally forming in the late 1970s. However, they have only released four albums in that time frame; prior to the release of 2003’s Red Sky, the last album that had the band’s name on it was 1984’s Change Of Heart. Only two original members of Saracen are recording with the band now: vocalist Steve Bettney and guitarist Rob Bendelow.

Saracen returns with Vox In Excelso, an epic concept album that takes on the legend of the Knights Of the Templar, attempting to tell the story of the rise, fall, and resurrection of this group of warrior monks who grew to great wealth, influence, and power in Europe during the Middle Ages, only to be betrayed at the height of their strength and sent into hiding. Truly an epic tale. A controversial one too, since the album subscribes to the theory that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalane had children together, and their bloodline (which the Templar Knights are sworn to protect) exists to this day.

Befitting its broad subject matter, Vox In Excelso fills an entire CD, having a playing time of about 79 minutes. Once you sit down to it, you’re in for the duration. The story is long and detailed, but is constructed in such a way that it’s easy to follow, both in the lyrics and the helpful narration the runs between many of the twelve songs. If you didn’t know anything about the Knights of the Templar before hearing this album, you will by the end of your first listen, and you may even be inspired to learn more about this interesting time in history. Music: it’s educational too!

Vox In Excelso is a history lesson in musical form, but it’s not dry and stuffy: it’s sweeping, epic, and filled with drama, action, greed, suspense, and betrayal. Much like reading a good book, you’ll get caught up in the story and will want to find out what happens next. The story takes some surprising twists and turns, and you won’t want to miss any of it.

Musically, Vox In Excelso feels like a product of another time, when pompy, Symphonic bands like Kansas ruled. Saracen uses lots of big, impressive “old-school” keyboard passages, sounding much like a heavy band from the 1970s on this album, but in a good way. The soaring guitarwork of Rob Bendelow is quite good too, and he contributes some memorable solos and nice riffs. Steve Bettney injects his vocals with heart and passion, both in the verses and in the big choruses that dominate this album.

Vox In Excelso was five years in the making, but the wait was worth it; Saracen has crafted a winner of an album.


  • Gary McLean

    Gary was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of the small Ontario, Canada town of Sault Ste. Marie, right on the border of Michigan, USA. When it comes to Metal and Hard Rock, Gary likes quite a few different bands, from stalwarts like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, to newer, hard-hitting groups such as Primal Fear, Hammerfall, and Paragon. Other favorites include the likes of Nightwish, Running Wild, Therion, Accept, Stratovarius, Dream Evil, Helloween, Rammstein, Dirty Looks, Crimson Glory, Tristania, and Gamma Ray. He thinks AC/DC deserves a paragraph all their own though.

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