An emotional rollercoaster from start to finish
"Vox in Excelso" is the fourth album from veteran hard rockers Saracen. This truly unique album tells the story of the Knights Templar, beginning at the crucifixion of Jesus and spanning several centuries.
Saracen’s keyboardist Paul Bradder told me “...of all the albums we have released, 'Vox' was the first and only concept/narrated album... so far!” Vocalist Steve Bettney added that “it’s one of those albums you need to listen to over a glass of wine, it tells a story; you need to listen to it in that context”.
So I did..!
Admittedly, I did have my doubts about "Vox in Excelso"; I’m not at all keen on religion and my pet hate is interruptions on albums so when the narrative kicked in, I expected the worst.
But I have never been gladder to say I was wrong!
Never have I heard or experienced anything like "Vox in Excelso" before; the music moved me so incredibly, I was spellbound from start to finish. You can practically see the events unfold before your eyes - songwriter Rob Bendelow is a genius!
Saracen take you on an emotional rollercoaster, the sentiments of the story perfectly portrayed through the music. ‘Exile’ brought tears to my eyes whereas ‘The Power And The Glory’ made me feel like I could take on the world only to have it all washed away by regretful ‘Vox in Excelso’. Finally, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the overwhelming hope in ‘Priory of Zion’. Steve Bettney has an incredibly rich tone to his voice, hitting a vast range of impressive notes throughout the album, particularly during ‘Mary’!
Of course, "Vox in Excelso" isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea; on paper I should’ve hated it, but I find myself recommending it left, right and centre to anybody who’ll listen. I should add that Vox is no history lesson; Saracen play proper hard rock music, taking the listener on a sensory journey. This is a phenomenon that everybody should experience; I challenge anybody to not be moved by this album. Keep an open mind and give it a go.
Although the band has seen several line-up changes during their lengthy career, even since Vox was recorded in 2006, the members featured on the album are vocalist Steve Bettney, keyboardist Paul Bradder, guitarist Rob Bendelow, bassist Richard Bendelow and guest drummer Mark Cross. Narration was provided by Meg Fairlie Maunder and the voice-over by Gwenola Doron-Wells.