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Music / Saviour Machine

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All the world is a stage... in the eyes of the storm.

Saviour Machine is a Gothic Metal band from Los Angeles, CA USA. They are known for tackling Christian themes in a thought-provoking, non-preachy way and for their elaborate theatrical concert performances that involve masks, chains, stage blood, and even burning flags. While obscure in their home country, they have gained a substantial international following, particularly in Europe.

Saviour Machine were founded in 1989 by brothers Eric and Jeff Clayton. Following the release of their first demo in 1990 the band were soon picked up by Christian metal label Intense Records. Their first two albums, simply titled Saviour Machine I and Saviour Machine II were released in 1993 and 1995 respectively. However, the band's dark image and even darker lyrical content quickly made them controversial in Christian music circles. This unease reached its peak at a concert in Minneapolis, Minnesota where venue management cut the band's power during their set and drove them from the stage. Intense dropped Saviour Machine shortly after the release of their second album. Saviour Machine bounced back quickly, however, signing a distribution deal with European metal label Massacre Records and releasing a successful, well-produced video and accompanying live album of one of their German concerts. The band then began work on their magnum opus Legend: a trilogy of albums inspired by Biblical prophecies of the end of the world. In 1997 Saviour Machine released Legend I and performed at Cornerstone Music Festival that same year. Legend II followed in 1998. The band were then pressured to divide the trilogy's final installment into two albums. This led to the 2001 release of the first installment, Legend III:I, an album which Eric Clayton has since admitted dissatisfaction with.


Deteriorating relations with the band's management and record label combined with the deterioration of Eric Clayton's physical health left the band in limbo and the Legend III:II album in Development Hell for years. Recently Saviour Machine seems to be experiencing a resurgence starting with Eric Clayton's publication of his Collective Journals: 1997-2009. In 2011 the core band members reunited for a series of acoustic performances with resumption of work on the long awaited Legend III:II expected to follow. Not long thereafter, however, the band's website and social media pages were taken down and all updates from Clayton ceased...

... until in 2017, when Clayton announced that the band is working on new material to be released some time in the future.


Most recent line-up

  • Eric Clayton: vocals
  • Jeff Clayton: guitar
  • Charles Cooper: bass guitar
  • Nathan Van Hala: keyboards
  • Sam West: drums

Former members

  • Dean Forsyth: bass guitar (1989-1995)
  • Victor Deaton: drums (2000-2001)
  • Carljohan Grimmark: guitar (2001-2004)
  • Jayson Heart: drums (1993-1999)
  • Joshua: guitars (1998)
  • Thomas Weinesjo drums (2001-2004)


  • Self-titled demo (1990)
  • Saviour Machine I (1993)
  • Saviour Machine II (1995)
  • Live in Deutschland 1995 (1995)
  • Legend I (1997)
  • Legend II (1998)
  • Legend III:I (2001)
  • Live in Deutschland 2002 (2002)
  • Rarities/Revelations (2006)


  • All There in the Manual: The Legend albums refer to numerous Biblical prophecies of the end times, not just the well-known ones from the Book of Revelation. The liner notes include an extensive list of references.
    • A variant of this trope applies to the band itself. Eric Clayton recently published over a decade's worth of his personal diaries detailing what was happening behind the scenes during the years when the band was out of the public eye.
  • The Anti-Christ: Shows up on the Legend albums to tell us his point of view.
  • Apocalypse How
  • Arc Words: The Legend albums include a variant of the phrase "A legend is born" on each installment.
  • Badass Boast: "Enter The Idol"
    I'd rather die standing than live on my knees.
    • All three "Antichrist" songs from the Legend trilogy, especially part 2. Parts 1 and 3 seem to alternate between this and Villainous BSoD.
    • The promotional tagline for the Legend series is "The Unofficial Soundtrack to the End of the World."
  • Bald of Awesome: Eric Clayton, nowadays sporting a Badass Beard as well.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Hebrew writing on the Legend discs.
  • British English: Notice the "u" in "Saviour Machine." Of course the song from which they draw their name is spelled the same way.
  • Broken Record: "The Plague and the Darkness", "Four Trumpets", and the ending of "Christians And Lunatics."
  • Canon Discontinuity: In 2011 Massacre Records and the band's former management team attempted to capitalize on Saviour Machine's reformation by releasing a collection of unfinished, unmixed tracks as the Legend III:II album. The band disavows this release and actively discourages fans from purchasing it.
  • Careful with That Axe: "Wicked Window"
  • Catch Phrase: "Do you see the light of the Saviour inside this machine?"
  • Creepy Monotone: The spoken passages on the Legend albums.
  • Darker and Edgier: The subject matter on the band's first two albums can be quite haunting and disturbing. Then they began working on the Legend trilogy and began writing about the end of the world in earnest.
  • Dark Is Not Evil
  • Despair Event Horizon: "Enter the Idol"
    My instincts insane, my obsessions ordained
    My powers increasing in self-righteous vain!
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Jeff Clayton, Nathan Van Hala
  • Epic Instrumental Opener
  • Epic Rocking: Live performance mainstays "Killer" and "The Stand" both are over ten minutes in length. This trope occurs repeatedly on the Legend albums.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: While Saviour Machine normally averts this trope, "Love Never Dies" may be playing it straight, although the lyrics are still abstract enough to allow numerous interpretations.
  • Gothic Metal
  • Grief Song: "A World Alone", "Ascension of Heroes", "American Babylon."
  • Heroic RRoD: Eric Clayton suffers from Barrett's Esophagus, a dangerous condition which requires regular medical care and which has limited his ability to work on music in recent years.
  • I Am the Band: Eric Clayton is Saviour Machine's driving force and principal songwriter and is the only member who has been with the band from its formation to the present. His brother and co-founder Jeff actually left the band for several years and has only recently returned.
  • In the Style of...: Eric Clayton appears on the compilation album Excelsis: A Dark Noel along with Eva O performing a duet of "O Holy Night."
  • Large Ham: Eric Clayton's massive operatic voice and dramatic performance style are intense to say the least. Even when he dials it back for softer, slower songs he loses nothing in the way of emotional force.
  • Leitmotif: The "Beast Riff" from Legend I & II.
  • Lighter and Softer: The single release of "Behold A Pale Horse" from Legend II includes a classical re-mix of the song which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • The 2011 acoustic performances qualify as well.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Saviour Machine is fond of re-releasing previous albums as this, the most recent being the 20th anniversary edition of their 1990 demo album.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: In the song "The Mask", appropriately enough.
    Lurking in the doorway,
    I saw him hang by the power,
    Covered in scabs, covered in scabs,
    Covered in faceless masks of men.
    Assassination when the mask came off.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "The Widow and The Bride"
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hovers around a 5 or 6 most of the time with Legend II reaching 7-8.
  • No Ending: After hyping Legend III:II for over a decade and a triumphant series of acoustic shows to set off a new era leading up to the album's release, the band abruptly disappeared altogether with Legend III:II still unreleased.
  • Numbered Sequels: Every studio album so far.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The outro of "Killer" includes samples of Orff's "O Fortuna."
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Certain melodies and lyrics on the 1990 demo are restructured into different songs on later releases.
  • Religion Rant Song: You'd never know they were a Christian band based on songs like "Killer", "The Stand", and "Christians and Lunatics."
  • Rock Opera: The Legend trilogy.
  • Shout-Out: The repeated cries of "tear down your wall" at the end of "Wicked Window" might be inspired by one of Eric Clayton's acknowledged favorite bands.
  • Take That!: When Massacre records released the unauthorized, incomplete version of Legend III:II Saviour Machine urged fans not to spend money on it but acknowledged there would be completists who would insist on acquiring it just the same. The band dealt with this by providing a link where the bastardized version could be downloaded... for free.
  • The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: With the complete disappearance of Eric Clayton and Saviour Machine from the online world, it is looking like this may be the case with the Legend album series.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Enter The Idol" and "Son of the Rain".
  • Trilogy Creep: Legend which will actually consist of four separate albums.
  • Twist Ending: "Jesus Christ" seems to paint its subject in a highly unfavorable light until the last few lines.
  • White Mask of Doom: The band's logo, and occasionally used as a prop during live performances.

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