As Capt. James T. Kirk on TV's 'Star Trek,' William Shatner was accustomed to exploring strange new worlds. And as an occasional recording artist, the veteran actor likes to do the same. But even by Shatner's unique standards, he really outdoes himself on his new, guest-filled double album 'Seeking Major Tom,' which includes hard-hitting material originally done by Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.

"Heavy metal was not my thing," the 80-year-old Shatner recently admitted to Classic Rock Magazine. "But if you really get into it — like I should have done when it first came out — you learn to appreciate that raw energy."

Shatner appreciates the "pioneering spirit" of former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde, who plays on an earnest yet slightly comical version of Sabbath's 'Iron Man.'

"Apparently he started out as a tall, skinny kid, and he's turned into what somebody described recently as a beast — tattooed, long hair, the archetype of a heavy metal guitarist," Shatner said.

While no music fan would ever think he was a dead ringer for Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan, Shatner says he was offered the opportunity to sing with the band in London this year -- but had to decline due to other commitments. Those commitments include a one-man show in his native Canada, plus promoting his new book 'Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large' and the 'Star Trek'-themed documentary DVD 'The Captains.'

'Seeking Major Tom,' which hit stores earlier this month, also includes covers of several other classic rock greats, including a "one-of-a-kind rendition" of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' Read our review of that video here.