You know, recording a live album for both CD and DVD is a tough assignment. However, on the DVD you have the advantage of your fans seeing the theatrics on stage. Saviour Machine is known for all their stage props and theatrics, so the fan is easily engulfed in what their eyes see on the screen. The hard part is putting on such a fine show that the same fan can pick up the live CD and still be engulfed without the theatrics. And to top it off, a Saviour Machine crowd is usually so overwhelmed by all that is going on stage, that cheering and being rowdy is more the exception, as most of the people are just standing in awe. So when a live disc usually has the slight advantage of a loud crowd, Saviour Machine doesn't get that advantage.
So a tough task is before the band and Saviour Machine, as expected, pulls off the job in splendid fashion! If you have any of Saviour Machine's studio albums, you know that you don't have to actually "see" the band to be totally sucked into their world. A world of overflowing emotion. A world of mystery and haunting presence. A world that makes you forget where you are and takes you to an old, insipid room where the only thing that catches your glance is an aged, dusty book with a worn, black cover. As you walk over to the book, you feel an overwhelming urge to open it's thin, fragile pages. Then, as if being in the presence of One who holds all time in His grasp, the Word comes alive as it's set before you in all it's majesty.
Eric Clayton and company put on a stellar performance on this double disc release. The setting is in Owen, Germany on the same stage as their previous live album back in 1995. The band plays a huge setlist of 25 songs from all three of the Legend albums and an encore of "American Babylon" from the Saviour Machine II album. The band sometimes performs the songs very similar to their album versions, but they are not afraid to change things up by merging songs, adding new parts, changing the way the vocals are sung, lengthing guitar solos, etc...
The band starts off with nine straight songs from Legend I. They all sound amazing, but the first one that really stands out to me is the moving song "The Night". This song sounds like it would've fit in perfectly on the Saviour Machine II disc, which I think was their most gut wrenching and emotional release. "Gog (Deathmarch)" is one of those songs that were revised for this live setting. Eric just freakin' cuts loose on this one!! He starts out by saying..."The killing fields...." over and over. However, his voice gets more intense the more he says it. At the end he is doing some blood-curdling screams of "THE KILLING FIELDS!!!!!!!" over and over. My voice would've been dead after that sequence. But with Clayton, it seems that his voice got stronger after that and doesn't really seem to show signs of strain until the encore.
Disc 1 ends with the ominous and haunting "War in Heaven", with the choir vocals of "Time nears the end..." over and over. The band goes all out on this live release with a choir and string section right there on stage. Definitely, adding to their already amazing live show.
Disc 2 contains a bunch of material from Legend III:I. "Revelation 13" is one of my favorite Saviour Machine songs, and Carl Johan Grimmark does not disappoint! His guitar playing is breathtaking throughout this song. Immediately following is the moving duo of "Legend III:I" and "The Ancient Serpent". Nicely done!
Saviour Machine is a very special band and this live album further proves that point. The band completes the experience with great production and nice packaging with tons of photos from the concert. For Saviour Machine fans, this is a must have...along with the DVD which is also a masterpiece. Saviour Machine is more than just "goth" or "metal". Saviour Machine is an experience that has no rival. Treasure these moments now, for this band will not be with us much longer, since they are calling it a day after the release of Legend III:II. Thanks to Eric Clayton and his men for passionately producing this monumental release. (Review by Matt)