|Musical Style: Gothic Hard Rock||Produced By: Eric Clayton|
|Record Label: Massacre||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2001||Artist Website: Saviour Machine|
|Tracks: 18||Rating: 90%|
|Running Time: 78:35|
What initially started out as a hobby researching biblical end time’s prophecy by Saviour Machine vocalist and founder Eric Clayton in time took the form of a four CD series entitled Legend based around the book of Revelation. Commonly referred to as the "unofficial soundtrack to the end of the world", Legend began with the release of Legend I and Legend II in 1997 and 1998 respectively. While the first two in the series move in a more piano and keyboard based musical direction, the third, Legend III:I, features the more aggressive and guitar driven sound. And I cannot help but think the addition of Narnia guitarist Carl Johan Grimmark was behind the change to a heavier musical direction. Grimmark provides for an ample amount of upfront guitar driven momentum that stands in support of Eric Clayton’s doom-like and emotional flavored vocal delivery, the two combining with huge medieval choir-like vocal harmonies to help give the project its epic and orchestral feel. Dripping with creativity, Legend III:I showcases a goth influenced hard rock sound that best can be described as operatic, sweeping, innovative and inspired. And despite featuring eighteen songs and over 78 minutes of music, the album is consistent from front to back and contains no filler.
The stellar production values to Legend III:I highlight crisp and clean sounding sonics blending an edgy rhythm guitar with a near perfect mix of piano, bass, drums and vocal harmonies.
A piano conveys "Twelve-Hundred-Sixty Days" over its first minute before it abruptly picks up in pace as the rhythm guitar enters the mix upon reaching its first verse. After the song again slows to a piano, momentum is regained when the rhythm guitar returns to bolster an emotionally charged chorus backed by choir-like vocal harmonies. The rhythm guitar bouncing in and out of the mix over its last minute provides the perfect segue to the guitar driven "Revelation 13".
A crisp hard rock flavored rhythm guitar effectively accentuates "Revelation 13", the rhythm guitar only dropping from the mix when the song stops dead in its tracks for narration from the book and chapter in question:
All his power; the dragon gave to thee
All the world and all the seas
Marveled and followed and worshiped the beast
Who is like the beast?
Who is able to make war with him?
He who has an ear; let him hear
He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity
He who kills by the sword must be killed by the sword
"Legend III:I", the first of the albums three instrumental tracks, commences to a slowly moving mix of strings and acoustic guitar before medieval choir-like vocal harmonies help push it forward.
Haunting but catchy, "The Ancient Serpent" begins where the albums title track leaves off by advancing slowly to an acoustic guitar until a heavy bass line and more choir-like vocal harmonies enter the mix. The edgy rhythm guitar kicking in after two minutes takes the song forward until an acoustic guitar closes it out.
Subsequent to medieval style vocal harmonies introducing "Abomination Of Desolation", a hard hitting rhythm guitar drives it to an aggressively delivered but catchy chorus. The vocal harmonies opening the song return to fortify the combination of rhythm guitar and slowly played lead guitar carrying its final two minutes.
As its title implies, "Image Of The Beast" is also based around Revelation 13:
And his deadly wound was healed
And all the world was marked and sealed
Getting underway to a drum solo, a crunchy rhythm guitar impels the catchy "Image Of The Beast" forward in an anthem-like fashion. I like how the song twice stops dead in its tracks as drums and eerie sounding keyboards stand in support of Clayton's resounding voice.
The seven minute "Antichrist III: The King Of Babylon" slowly progresses to a driving and near doom-like riff that, when combined with a deep sounding vocal performance from Clayton, helps give the song a foreboding feel.
A combination of strings and keyboards props up the first three and a half minutes of "The Final Holocaust" before an abundance of vocal harmonies close out the songs slowly moving final two minutes.
After "The Two Witnesses" starts in an orchestral manner, a doom-like rhythm guitar takes over and slowly carries the song ahead in a portentous manner. "The Two Witnesses" picks up in pace as Clayton continually repeats the phrase, "Elijia, Moses, rise in my eyes. Elijia, Moses, my sons, come" until it fades out. Revelation 11 is the subject matter to "The Two Witnesses":
Now as your bodies lie in the street
The shroud of my witnesses
Called for the world to see
Rise prophets rise; now, stand on your feet
Come to your Father
Ascend in the clouds to me.
The instrumental "Three Angels" progresses to narration from Revelation 14:6-13 buttressed by a combination of keyboards and piano, the song not gaining momentum until the rhythm guitar enters the mix to carry its last forty seconds.
Forty-five seconds of keyboards introduces the haunting "Four Trumpets" before Clayton repeatedly states the phrase, "Hear the sound; from the throne, tears abound..." The huge bass line reinforcing the song after one minute is soon superseded by an equally heavy rhythm guitar that pushes it forward until it closes with Clayton's voice enhanced by an ample amount of echo.
The subject matter to "The Locusts" is based around Revelation 9:1-10:
Then he opened the bottomless pit
And the smoke and the flame arise
And the sun and the air were darkened by eternal night
Then out of the smoke the locusts came upon the earth
In the lion's teeth of iron
By their wings the sound of death
In their tails the sting of death; to torture, to end
The Middle Eastern flavored guitar line opening the song gives way to a hard hitting riff after Clayton states, "Then the fifth angel sounded...". As "The Locusts" reaches its catchy chorus, the Middle Eastern flavored guitar returns and combines with a crunchy rhythm guitar.
Carried from front to back by a blend of keyboards and militant style drumming highlighted by choir-like vocal harmonies, "The Sixth Judgment" ends to a scripture reading from Revelation 9:13-21.
"The Dead Sea", the albums third and final instrumental, opens to an eerie sounding combination of keyboards and drums that, after two minutes, is underscored by a crunchy rhythm guitar.
A slowly moving ethereal combination of acoustic guitar and keyboards initiates "Rivers Of Blood". Abruptly picking up in pace when the rhythm guitar steps forward hard and heavy, the song moves forward to its close in an epic flavored manner.
"The Plague And The Darkness", underscored by a near perfect mix of rhythm guitar and piano, is based around Revelation 16:8-10: Its first verse details the plague (Revelation 16:8-9) and second the darkness (Revelation 16:10). An edgy rhythm guitar proceeds to slowly take the song forward until it ends to huge choir-like vocal harmonies.
Medieval style vocal harmonies both open and close the catchy "The Fall Of Babylon", the song advancing at a mid-tempo pace to a crunchy rhythm guitar as Clayton delivers a message based around Revelation 18:2-3:
Babylon: she is fallen, Babylon the harlot
Babylon the great crawls on her knees
Cursed with disease and fate
She has became the habitation of demons
A prison for every foul spirit
And a cage for every unclean bird
For all nations have drunk of the wine
Of the wrath of her fornication
And the kings of the earth have raped her
And chained her in desolation
An amalgamation of piano and strings slowly conveys "The End Of The Age" through its first and second verse. Once the rhythm guitar enters the mix and interweaves with the piano, the two close the album in an emotional manner as choir-like vocal harmonies carry its final two minutes.
A first class work of art from front to back, Legend III:I is destined to stand the test of time as nothing less than a classic. The albums creative excellence is reflected in Clayton's top notch songwriting skills combined with Grimmark's crunchy guitar riffs, the two backed by an exquisite production job.
Like all Saviour Machine fans I am eagerly awaiting the release of the long delayed second part of the final chapter to the four disc series, Legend III:II. Topics to be covered include the final hours of history, the battle of Armageddon, the return of Christ, the millennial Kingdom and new Jerusalem.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Twelve Hundred Sixty Days" (7:27), "Revelation 13" (6:09), "Legend III:I" (1:15), "The Ancient Serpent" (4:06), "Abomination Of Desolation" (4:40), "Image Of The Beast" (3:58), "Antichrist III: The King Of Babylon" (7:08), "The Final Holocaust" (5:24), "Two Witnesses" (3:42), "Three Angels" (2:48), "Four Trumpets" (3:34), "The Locusts" (4:56), "The Sixth Judgment" (3:00), "The Dead Sea" (3:40), "Rivers Of Blood" (2:23), "The Plague And The Darkness" (4:33), "The Fall Of Babylon" (5:11), "The End Of The Age" (4:23)
Eric Clayton – Lead Vocals
Carl Johan Grimmark – Guitars
Jeff Clayton – Guitars
Nathan Van Hala – Piano
Charles Cooper – Bass
Victor Deaton – Drums
Chad Hunley – Concert Snare Drums
Ensemble Cantabile – Choir Arrangements