Saviour Machine - Legend - Part I
Dubbed as "The unofficial soundtrack to the end of the world" the Legend project gives new meaning to the term concept album. This ultimate study of end-times Biblical prophecy was originally planned as a concept told through three separate releases, but here, 10 years and three releases down the road, I am still anxiously awaiting the conclusion of the third and final part, which has somehow expanded into two separate albums.
Saviour Machine is an acquired taste and "Legend - Part I" is not an easy listen. Though the concept is inspired by The Bible you do not have to be religious to enjoy the album.
Beauty and chaos both roam free in the music with often awe-inspiring beauty taking the lead in a constant battle of musical extremes. Sweeping, bombastic, challenging, breathtaking, grand and extraordinarily non-heinous are all words that describe the music. One moment your auditory meatus is caressed by piano, choirs and a soft voice vibrating with emotion and the next, heavy guitar, booming drums and an agonized vocal delivery bring a sense of impending doom.
Compared to the first two releases "Legend - Part I" is less song oriented and more focused on bringing a complete aural experience. That it delivers this is without question.
Songwriters Eric and Jeff Clayton continue the evolution of the first two albums and head in an even more theatrical direction this time. The album has a very connected feel with themes and passages being referenced and explored through different songs.
The album covers an amazing broad spectrum. From its opening positive splendor through to its dark crushing ending it is a journey that can be looked back on with surprised wonder of how things slowly but surely manage to switch from one extreme atmosphere to another.
I find the album mesmerizing. Even 10 years after my initial discovery the album is fresh and explorable and actually keeps on growing. The sign of a classic.
The first many listens can be frustrating, but give the album time and each song will begin to stand out. The Overture that opens the show brings an ominous atmosphere instantly and then gives way to a grand sweeping score that would suit a movie. The continuing 4 songs flow together and open the album in the boldest and most majestic way possible. The way each song rises in momentum is something to behold. Legend I: I uses layered vocals in a way that adds an extra atmospheric dimension and when it finally bursts open the feeling is overwhelming.
Moving on with a foreboding atmosphere The Eyes of the Storm has a beginning where I want the soothing interplay between bass and guitar to go on forever. Instead the song successfully builds momentum and intensity for The Birth Pangs where the heavy guitar does a lovely job of raising it even further.
Through the album the songs have a tendency to up the intensity and chaotic nature of the music further and further. It works extremely well and makes listening to the album feel like a journey. Reflecting on the songs they feel very thought through and impressively well written.
The few breathers the album has are welcome moments.
The Woman opens with one of these. The combination of Eric Clayton's voice and piano always creates something special. Here the piano allures and hints at the powerful sections that appear several times through the song. Pure and powerful.
The Night has one of my favorite passages on the album. A section that is sung with a tremendous feeling of sadness and showcases Eric Clayton's unique voice.
Behold the place of slaughter
The earth is a tomb
The smell of death upon her
The child has torn the womb
A Middle Eastern feeling roams free in several songs and gives the album a slight oriental flavor. Gog: Kings of the North opens with an uncomfortable atmosphere that took a while to understand. In fact it took several years before I warmed to the song. Amazingly it rises and evolves through its 8 minutes into something spectacular.
The Invasion of Israel uses distortion to add to the chaotic war-like atmosphere that reigns in the song. It took a while to get used to this as well but it works effectively. One interesting thing to note is how the guitar seems to rise and rise, constantly growing more urgent and powerful.
Darkness reigns through the last part of the album were a tremendous tension is built for the next chapter. It is the perfect ending with Ten - The Empire and Antichrist I being especially chilling.
"Legend - Part I" should be savored and enjoyed by anyone with an open mind and a thirst for musical challenge. It is not often an album such as this comes along and I am unable to justifiably compare it to anything else I have ever heard.
If you are looking to discover Saviour Machine then I urge you to start out with either Saviour Machine I or Saviour Machine II. For a "quick listen" I prefer the first two albums where the focus was on the individual songs, but Legend is something different altogether. Unique and impressively crafted it is an experience beyond most.
The album is hard to rate. It should be seen in the context of the whole concept but I will get to that when it is finished. On its own the album is a genius and original piece of art. As a whole the Legend project seems destined to be hailed as a modern musical masterpiece and I anxiously await its conclusion.
Meanwhile, chaos was about to erupt.

Written by Steen
Friday, April 4, 2008
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Comment by Dark Lord (Member) - Saturday, April 5, 2008
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Comments: 33
Ratings: 89
Hi Steen,
At last you did it :D

In my opinion, it's quite hard to review "Legend" albums; I don't know how, but you've done a great job so far; and I'm sure you'll do the same with the rest.

As Steen said, keeping an open mind and not being judgemental about appearances is the key to enter the "Legend's" dominion.

The beauty of music, in combination with Eric's voice, is beyond words.
Every member of the band does their job perfectly; and the combination of Eric Clayton's vocals and Nathan Van Hala's keyboard is unique and unearthly.

Diversity merged with complex simplicity, powerfull and passionate singing and excellent use of each individual instrument, won't happen by chance. I can't think of any musician as dedicated and perfectionist as Eric Clayton; I hope he feels better soon and finish Legend III,II.

"Night" is one of my all time favorites, especially the live and Theatrical performance in "Live In Deutschland" DVD (2002).

Behold; A legend is born.

Posted by Dark Lord
Saturday, April 5, 2008

Comment by Steen (Staff) - Thursday, April 10, 2008
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Comments: 518
Thanks! Yes, it did indeed take a long time to make this review feel right.
I got the 2 disc Signature Edition of the album today with extended arrangements and remixes. Good timing! It is really hard to hear these songs done differently. Somehow the original versions feel right. Still, an interesting release for sure.

Posted by Steen (Staff)
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Comment by Alanna (Staff) - Saturday, April 12, 2008
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Comments: 245
I bought these a loooong time ago and have no idea where they are now... but do remember them as being very unique discs that just had this incredible doomsday atmosphere. Very difficult albums to review in general, but I believe you did a great job trying unravel the little nuances here.

Posted by Alanna (Staff)
Saturday, April 12, 2008

Review by Steen

Released by
Massacre Records - 1997

1. Overture
2. A Prophecy
3. I Am
4. Legend I:I
5. The Lamb
6. The Eyes Of The Storm
7. The Birth Pangs
8. The Woman
9. The Night
10. The Sword Of Islam
11. Gog: The Kings Of The North
12. The Invasion Of Israel
13. World War III - The Final Conflict I
14. Ten - The Empire
15. Legend I:II
16. The Beast
17. Antichrist I

Saviour Machine - Progressive Metal

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Saviour Machine - Official Website

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Legend - Part II - (Steen)

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