Each song will dance across the mind, in poetic, yet dark and haunting fashion, due to Eric Clayton's meloncholy vocals, which are the key to the music.
20th Anniversary - 1990 Demo Limited Edition
When I found out that I would be receiving this album, I had to take a deep breath, and then begin listening to the stuff I already have from these guys. I then came in from work to see it laying on the table waiting for my ears, and my wife had to scrape me off the floor. This album, Legend III:I, and Saviour Machine 2 are the 3 albums I currently do not have. Of course upon receipt of this one I checked it off the list. I then proceeded to go back and find the first studio album they released in 1993 (Saviour Machine I). Naturally I have always been digitally advanced so I have this particular album on cassette. Yeah I said cassette. Don't laugh. Anyway, on with the review.
Some of you might not relate, or understand or accept the 'goth' culture, especially in relation to its Christian counterculture. But I for one have been close to this subculture for years. Of course I never had Christian goth metal bands to listen to growing up until the mid to late 90s. Upon hearing my first Saviour Machine album (Legend I) I began searching for more. I found what I was missing. The band themselves have gone through a number of lineup changes, beginning with its founders, Eric and Jeff Clayton. Jeff has since left the band. The lineup also included some very interesting additions and changes throughout, including Sam West (drums) who is currently with Stavesacre and had a stint with The Violet Burning, and Scattered Few. It also included former members of Rackets and Drapes, and a current member of Narnia. All these artists alone are well seasoned metal musicians and have brought a certain presence to the band, making it what it is today; still recognized as one of the leading Christian goth or doom metal bands. Christian goth bands get a bad wrap from alot of Christians, and these guys have caught the hardest flack for their shows and musical style...but i believe that Rich Mullins said it best with this:
"It's so funny being a Christian musician. It always scares me when people think so highly of Christian music, Contemporary Christian music especially. Because I kinda go, I know a lot of us, and we don't know jack about anything. Not that... I don't want you to buy our records and come to our concerts. I sure do. But you should come for entertainment. If you really want spiritual nourishment, you should go to church...you should read the Scriptures."
The album is comprised of what was to be the first full length studio album from the band. And over time, some of the tracks on this album ended up on others. This particular incarnation of the demo includes three rare demo tracks originally recorded in February, 1991, "Ludicrous Smiles," "A World Alone," and the never before released original studio recording of "Church of the Vatican Slaves" that were not on the original.
Upon putting the disc in and playing, the listener will find themselves suddenly drawn into an atmospheric realm, almost like floating inside the music. The keyboards and orchestrations were combined in such a fashion as to make the listener stop and soak in the sounds. The guitars and drums join together to drive the rhythm of each song towards the "Grand Finale" as it were which is in and of itself a single masterpiece, and could easily stand alone. But thankfully Clayton made sure to end the album on this note. Each song will dance across the mind, in poetic, yet dark and haunting fashion, due to Eric Clayton's meloncholy vocals, which are the key to the music. His lyrics are deep, powerful yet, strikingly uplifting at times, which is unexpected of most Gothic style bands. Highlights of this album include, "Ludicrous Smiles" (which has an amazing guitar lead in, and goes from near orchestral boom into a hard driving goth-metal fury), "Silent Vision" (for its cataclysmic ballad sounds, and ocean deep, questioning lyrics), and of course my personal favorite track on the album is the apocolyptic 22 minute finale "The Revelation," which is segmented into 5 parts, entitled "The Blood of the Lamb," "The Plague," "The Veil of Armegeddon," "The Wrath," and "The Resurrection", which begins low and dark and builds to an orchestratally heavy and triumphant finale.
As a whole I was truly pleased to finally hear this album which is highly sought after in the goth community., and people are paying a super high price for the original version without the 3 extra tracks. The cover and album art are typical to a Clayton creation, simple black with stone looking words, and black and white images of the band. very clean and not distracting.
I would recommend this record to anyone searching for something entirely off the beaten path musically or to any fan of dark metal, goth, or any of the harder music styles. This a definite eye opener. However, if you are frightened by guyliner, mesh sleeves, black, pink, purple or skunkstriped hair, or have a deep seated concern for people that wear all black in the middle of summer, then this is not for you.
As a side note there is promise of the finale SM release, Legend III:II coming on the near horizon. Most information for the band and their entire discography can be found at the official website: www.saviourmachine.com as well as their facebook site www.facebook.com/saviourmachineofficial. They are also planning a completely unplugged and unmasked tour that will be in select cities.
RevMC (Mike Cooper)