Sunday, October 24, 2010

Music Review - Saviour Machine - Saviour Machine I

Gothic music, whether metal or rock, tends to be something I'm not a fan of. It's usually cheesy (there are exceptions) cliche, over-dramatic and generally lacking in quality. There's obviously good bands in the genre, but for the most part my experience has been negative.

The debut album of Saviour Machine, "Saviour Machine I," however, may very well be one of the best goth metal/rock albums ever released and is up there with some of the best music ever released, in my opinion. This is a powerful album, with real feeling and atmosphere, relying on the writing and composition of the music rather than walls of typically mournful keyboards.

Eric Clayton's voice is brilliant, period. I don't know if there is another vocalist in the metal/rock world who has the power and emotion that this man has in his voice. Whether it's bloodcurdling screams, deep baritones, soft whisperings, huge operatic moments, passionate and gut wrenching notes or mournful wailing, the vocals here are absolutely second to none. There are notes hit here that will chill you with how powerfully they resonate; Eric Clayton is one of the very few modern singers who has such perfect control over his voice.

The instruments...where do I begin. Everything here is masterfully played. The bass in particular, while not being super-fast or super-technical, adds such a good feel and flavor to the music and does much more than just provide a low end; often it carries the entire melody of the song. Guitars are breathtaking. The opening track, "Carnival of Souls," is a good example of the guitars on this album; there's some brilliant leads, solid, catchy riffs, softer and cleaner breaks and outstanding solo work with true emotion shining through. The drums do a perfect job here, driving the music with terrific beats and expert fills. While not insanely fast (except for the beginnings of the tracks "Killer" and "The Widow and the Bride") they are flawlessly played by someone who is obviously a master at his craft.

As a whole, this album deals with mostly end-times themes taken from the Book of Revelation, and deals with them quite brilliantly. The lyrics are very, very well written; controversial and sometimes graphic but never playing for shock value. This is a quality every Saviour Machine song has and something that really separates them from the typical love/loss/suicidal themes of most goth music. When subjects like those are addressed they are done so from a mature perspective that shows them in a very thought-provoking light and provide sound ways of dealing with them.

Highlights for this album for me are "Legion," with its piano driven melody and absolutely spellbinding vocal work and  "A World Alone," which may be the high point of Saviour Machines entire career (except for "American Babylon," which I will argue is their best song). "A World Alone" features a vocal performance that completely redefines soaring, with choruses so big and operatic that I'm hard-pressed to think of any comparable songs. Phenomenal writing and instrumentation make this one of the best songs I've heard in a long, long time.

To conclude, Saviour Machine, one of the most influential and well-respected Christian bands ever to form put out what I believe just might be one of the best metal/rock albums ever, goth or not. The fact that this is a debut album is almost astounding, as every second of this record is brilliantly and professionally put together. Please, buy this album, and see what heights gothic metal/rock is capable of reaching. Saviour Machine, with this debut album, set the bar as high as could be set.

No comments:

Post a Comment