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Saviour Machine - Saviour Machine II CD (album) cover


Saviour Machine


Progressive Metal

3.46 | 25 ratings

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5 stars I was full of praise after listening to Saviour Machine´s debut album and I gave that one 4 stars and I´m still considering if it´s a true masterpiece and if I will upgrade it to 5 stars. Saviour Machine´s second album is a bit different as it is not as accessible as the debut ( which wasn´t very accessible either), but on repeated listens it grows on you to the point where you have to surrender to the wonderful dark emotions Saviour Machine produce. This band is really something special. I have actually known about Saviour Machine for many years and I have owned this second album since 1999. I never really took the time to try and understand Saviour Machine´s music though as I found it too trivial. Eric Clayton´s voice was also a bit of an obstical to get over, as it is very extreme. Not that it isn´t beautiful and melodic, but his baritone operatic David Bowie croon can be hard pill to swallow for the whole duration of the album, which is 76:27 minutes long. Let´s face it, 76:27 minutes is very long for any album and most albums that are this long becomes boring at some point. I felt tired after listening to this album the first many times, but suddenly I was drawn in, and as one of the few albums that have this length it never bores me and what is even more important there are no fillers.

Even though Saviour Machine is in the progressive metal catagory here on Prog Archives there really isn´t much metal about them. Yes there are distorted guitars but they are not that dominant. What dominates the instrumental side of this album is the piano playing from Nathan Van Hala, who was added to the lineup for this album. The lead guitar melodies played by Eric´s brother Jeff Clayton that very much dominated the debut are also a big part of Saviour Machine´s sound here on the second album, but they are not as dominant as on the debut. This is in fact the big difference between the two albums. The songs are still very symphonic prog rock/ metal songs which are build around Eric Clayton´s voice. This is the kind of music where you have to have the lyrics. Without the lyrics the music can seem a bit repetitive. Eric Clayton´s lyrics are dark and poetic words about tortured souls, despair and human downfall but with a christian angle. Don´t be fooled though as he doesn´t try and preach or praise God or Jesus in his lyrics. I´m an atheist myself, and normally I hate christian preaching and praising, but this is different so don´t let it scare you away. The music can´t be compared to the more conventional progressive metal ala Dream Theater and their many clones. There are almost no instrumental runs or technical playing here the music is solely made to follow Eric Clayton´s melody lines. I said about the debut album that the music was influenced by goth rock bands like The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and Fields of the Nephilim. This is still true about the second album, but there are not many songs here that rock. actually there are only two. The rest are slow to mid-tempo slow building symphonic songs and this album is generally very symphonic.

The album starts with the piano driven Saviour Machine I, which took me a while to really appreciate, but the melody has slowly crept into my mind and continues to stay there. It has an eerie mood. The two rocking songs follow. Enter the Idol and The Hunger Circle are the only songs that reminds me of songs like Force of the Entity and The Mask from the debut and they are also the only two songs on this second album that comes close to being progressive metal. Both songs are really excellent compositions.

Child in Silence is one of the only times on the album where I think the quality drops just a notch. It´s still a wonderful song though just not on par with the best here. Ascension of Heroes is a beautiful symphonic song which builds to a climax. It´s a very good song.

The center piece of Saviour Machine II is the epic track The Stand. This one has several climaxes and some great lyrics. It´s 16:12 minutes long and this is one of the songs on this album that I had the hardest time getting through on initial listens. It´s a real beauty given time though. Very dark and emotional.

American Babylon and Ceremony are some of the most beautiful songs on the album. American Babylon might be my favorite here. It starts out with piano and Eric Clayton´s desperate voice and builds and builds until it reaches it´s climax. This is so powerful. Note the climatic part where every intrument plays it´s own part while Eric Clayton almost spit out his anguish and despair. Ceremony is a really eerie and dark song, it´s also a favorite of mine.

Overture is just a short instrumental passage to lead into Love Never Dies which is also a very good song even though this is the second time the quality drops a notch. Saviour Machine II is a re-working of Saviour Machine I, It´s also very good allthough I like number I better.

The musicians are very good here and not a note is played wrong and everything seems thought through. Eric Clayton has to be mentioned in particular as he might be one of the most original singers and personalities in the music business. His vocals are very commanding and emotional and his stage appearance is very strange too. Dressed in a black cloak, white chalked in the face and with a big piercing through his forehead he looks like a morbid minister.

The production is much better than on the debut which I complained a bit about. Here it is very good though and suits the music very well.

This is a 4 star album for me even though it might be upgraded in time to a 5. As I said in my review of Saviour Machine´s debut album their biggest asset is also their biggest weakness. Eric Clayton´s voice defines the sound of Saviour Machine and without him there would be no Saviour Machine, but as mentioned before his voice is very extreme and it is hard to sit through the whole album if you´re not in the right mood. This is highly recommendable though to fans of dark and gothic progressive rock/ metal.

NOTE: After having listened to Saviour Machine second album a lot over the last couple of months since I wrote this review I have now come to the conclusion that this is a masterpiece and deserves all 5 stars. I have therefore upgraded this album from 4 stars to 5 stars. I´ve come to realize that Saviour Machine is one of my favorite bands even though my worldview is very different from theirs, but I just can´t stop listening to their beautiful and dark music and that´s a good indication that this is something really special. Their music has moved me more than most music is able to.

UMUR | 5/5 |


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