Knights of the Cross (album)

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Knights of the Cross
Studio album by Grave Digger
Released 18 May 1998
Recorded Principal Studios - Senden/Münster, Germany
Genre Heavy metal
Power metal
Length 52:30
Label GUN Records
Producer Chris Boltendahl & Uwe Lulis
Grave Digger chronology
Tunes of War
(1996)
Knights of the Cross
(1998)
Excalibur
(1999)

Knights of the Cross is the eighth studio album by German heavy metal band Grave Digger released in 1998. It is the second of the Middle Ages Trilogy.

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed & arranged by Boltendahl/Lulis except "Deus Lo Vult" by Katzenburg. All lyrics by Boltendahl & Yvonne Thorhauer

  1. "Deus Lo Vult" - 2:28
  2. "Knights of the Cross" - 4:36
  3. "Monks of War" - 3:38
  4. "Heroes of This Time" - 4:10
  5. "Fanatic Assassins" - 3:41
  6. "Lionheart" - 4:33
  7. "The Keeper of the Holy Grail" - 5:57
  8. "Inquisition" - 3:48
  9. "Baphomet" - 4:13
  10. "Over the Sea" - 3:51
  11. "The Curse of Jacques" - 4:53
  12. "The Battle of Bannockburn" - 6:42

The Digipack-version also includes:

  1. "Children of the Grave" (Black Sabbath cover)

Album line-up[edit]

The story[edit]

The album tells the story of the Knights Templar from the times of the Order's birth in 1119, through the years of its glory, and finally to its fall in 1312. The first song describes the First Crusade organised in the West after Muslim victories in Asia Minor over the weakening forces of Byzantine Empire ("Deus Lo Vult", "Knights of the Cross"). Subsequent songs mention the foundation of the Knights Templar by French knight Hugues de Payens in 1119 after the establishing of the Kingdom of Jerusalem ("Monks of War"), and the new danger to the Franks brought some time later by Saladin's Egyptian armies and Nizari sect of Hashashim ("Heroes Of This Time", "Fanatic Assassins"). Then the album deals with cruelties of the Third Crusade led by Richard I of England and Philip Augustus of France ("Lionheart"), and with the myth of Templars holding the Holy Grail ("Keeper Of The Holy Grail"). The next four songs deals with the tragic end of the Order: putting hundreds of Knights Templar under arrest in 1307 to face the Inquisition on false accusations by French king Philip the Fair of heresy and homosexual practicies within the Order ("Inquisition"), prisoners' statements - forced under torture - about worshipping the demon Baphomet which led to Order's cancellation by Pope Clement V in 1312 ("Baphomet"), the escape of some former Templar Knights into Scotland ("Over the Sea"), and the execution of Order's last Grand Master Jacques de Molay in 1314, who was believed to curse the King and the Pope from his stake while being burned alive, so both of them would die the same year he did ("The Curse of Jacques"). The last song deals with the alleged help of former Templar Knights to the Scots during the Battle of Bannockburn, which allowed them to acquire independence from the English rule ("Battle of Bannockburn").

Historical accuracy[edit]

The story incorporates many myths and legends (i.e. the Holy Grail, the curse of Jacques de Molay, the cult of Baphomet), but its historical content is mostly close to the truth (at least on the level of names, dates and places). Many scholars believe that the end of the Order was truly orchestrated by Philip the Fair due to his debts and deep hatred toward the Templar Knights, who in fact were most likely innocent of any heresy. They also become virtually obsolete after the Acre was lost to the Saracens, marking the fall of Kingdom of Jerusalem, for now there was nowhere to fight Pagans, except for the Eastern Europe where Teutonic Knights have a de facto monopoly due to the major political role of Holy Roman Empire supporting them.