278. Saviour Machine – Saviour Machine I
SAVIOUR MACHINE I (1996)
Saviour Machine is easily the most important and influential goth and theatrical band in Christian Music history. Lead vocalist Eric Clayton created an aura and image that was completely original and equally compelling. There was simply nothing else like it, especially at the level at which it was presented.
Clayton, along with guitarist brother Jeff, released their first nationally recognized album, the self-titled release under review here. Released on a Frontline subsidiary label, the album drew critical acclaim and intense scrutiny by the bookstore. Oddly it was never the music, the lyrics or even the album cover, it was the painted white face and jewel affixed to the forehead of Clayton in photos. Claims of Eastern mysticism or occult tendencies floursihed and the record company struggled to calm the flames.
(Though it should be noted that the song “Legion” did cause quite a furor with the lyrics “the Dragon slides between her thighs” repeated often).
The record, though, is an amazing collection of goth rock with a very distinct classical or symphonic metal emphasis. Operatic vocals not too far from later Undercover drive home messages gleaned from the book of Revelation, the album sounds like Scripture quotations with consistent, mature lyrics ringing with Biblical exposition.
The prophetic themes would be even more a central emphasis on the ambitious series of albums known as the “Legend Trilogy.” The images and message presented in greater detail there are introduced here with songs about the Beast, Dragon, Ant-Christ and other popular prophetic characters and images.
The album was produced by Terry Scott Taylor though the bulk of the arrangements, imaging and vision belong squarely to Clayton and his brother. The album is very dark sounding, with symphonic keyboards giving the feel of the impending doom or coming apocalyptic nightmare. It is truly the perfect marriage of medium and message.
The music and performances are so good that even personal disagreement over the interpretation of certain prophetic text has never deterred me from listening on a regular basis to this and the rest of the Saviour Machine catalog.