Saviour Machine

Saviour Machine is an American gothic Christian metal band that formed in 1989. They have released five studio albums and two live albums on Frontline and subsequently on MCM Music, distributed through Massacre Records. Saviour Machine's music and lyrics deal with war, death, and personal introspection as it relates to prophecy and divine revelation.[1]

Saviour Machine
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresSymphonic gothic metal, neoclassical metal, Christian metal
Years active1989–2012, 2017–present
MembersEric Clayton
Jeff Clayton
Charles Cooper
Nathan Van Hala
Past membersChris Fee
Dean Forsyth
Jayson Heart
Victor Deaton
Carl Johan Grimmark
Thomas Weinesjö
Samuel West


Formation and early years (1989–1993)Edit

The band was formed by brothers Jeff and Eric Clayton in mid-1989. By the time of its first tour in 1993, the band was Eric Clayton – vocals, Jeff Clayton – guitars, Dean Forsyth – bass, Jayson Heart – drums, and Nathan Van Hala – keyboards. The band took its name from a song on the David Bowie album The Man Who Sold the World. Saviour Machine recorded and released their first demos in 1990. A theatrical stage show featuring pyrotechnics, images projected onto a background screen and other props attracted a growing fan base in Southern California.

In 1993, with the help of Deliverance frontman Jimmy P. Brown II, Saviour Machine signed with and released their first full-length album on Intense Records, an imprint of the Frontline subsidiary of Roadrunner Records. Musically, the band developed a guitar-driven rock music sound, featuring melodic riffs and extensive solos by Jeff Clayton.

Despite critical acclaim from the mainstream press[2][3] and a growing number of fans nationwide, people in some conservative circles reportedly felt threatened by Saviour Machine's lyrical direction and stage presentation, most prominently the white make-up and jewel worn by vocalist Eric Clayton. During their 1993 tour with metal band Deliverance, the controversy spilled over at a concert at the New Union, a club in Minneapolis. Several songs into their set, the power was cut and the performers were ushered from the stage. This was followed by an announcement from New Union management stating they were uncomfortable with the content of the show. However, many in the crowd gathered with the band shortly after at a local White Castle restaurant to show their continued support.[1]

Studio transition (1994–1996)Edit

Confusion and political upheaval at Intense/Frontline led to less-than-ideal conditions for the recording of the band's next album in 1994, Saviour Machine II. Musically, the addition of pianist Nathan Van Hala resulted in a classical music-based sound. Many songs featured piano compositions and keyboard orchestration. Charles Cooper also joined the band at this time after Dean Forsyth left.

With the release of Saviour Machine II the band began to pursue new representation. A growing following had developed in Europe, particularly in Germany. This led to the formation of MCM Music, an independent label for all Saviour Machine projects, by vocalist Eric Clayton and his European management team. The band also secured a deal with Massacre Records, a German label that specializes in death metal and other heavy/extreme music. Saviour Machine was given full creative control on all future projects.

Multiple tours of Europe followed in 1995 and 1996. During a 1995 performance at Owen Teck Rocknight, a music festival in Owen, Germany, Saviour Machine recorded their first live album. Live in Deutschland, released in 1995, featured selections from Saviour Machine I and Saviour Machine II. It was after this tour that the membership of Saviour Machine changed with the replacement of Jeff Clayton by Joshua. They performed at Wacken Open Air festival in 1997.

The Legend trilogy (1997–2007)Edit

Saviour Machine next turned to the Legend trilogy. Legend was advertised as "the unofficial soundtrack to the end of the world" in promotional materials[4] owing to its study of end-time Biblical prophecy. The Legend trilogy comprises four full-length CDs totaling more than five hours of music. Legend I and Legend II were released in 1997 and 1998, respectively. The studio composition of the band stayed the same through "Legend II" after which Jeff Clayton and Jayson Heart left the band. Legend III:I was released in 2001. The long-awaited final disc, Legend III:II, was scheduled to be released July 7, 2007. Legend parts I through III:I were released by MCM Music and Massacre Records; however, Legend III:II was released independently.[5] On May 27, 2007, Eric Clayton released a statement on the Saviour Machine MySpace blog saying that, due to health problems, he would not be able to finish Legend III:II in time to make the July 7 release date. He released samples of rough mixes of each song on Legend III:II on throughout July.[6]

Most of the lyrical content of the Legend series is based on the Book of Revelation and other Biblical prophecy.[4] The first album draws from the Old Testament and New Testament, except the Book of Revelation, and include biblical references and a concordance.[4] Legend II continues where part one ended - the rise of the antichrist.[4] Musically, the Legend albums showcase a further refinement of Saviour Machine's rock and classical music style.

Saviour Machine has performed a limited number of concerts in the US, Germany and Mexico City since undertaking the Legend trilogy. A second live album was released in 2002, again featuring a performance from Owen Teck Rocknight in Owen, Germany. Live in Deutschland 2002 featured selections from Legend I, Legend II and Legend III:I.

Inactive years (2008–2016)Edit

Eric Clayton has repeatedly stated that Saviour Machine's work will end upon the completion of the Legend trilogy. In a video message created on September 3, 2009, Eric stated that despite his frail health he is doing quite well and plans to release segments from a journal he has been keeping since 1997. He said that the excerpts will likely serve as his final interview.[7]

Despite these statements, Saviour Machine's homepage went offline in 2013.[citation needed] Saviour Machine's Facebook page, which had received regular updates through 2012, also went inactive during 2013, and subsequently was taken down in 2014.[citation needed] Eric Clayton officially retired Saviour Machine as a band and the whole unfinished Legend project in the same year.[citation needed]

Re-union and plan for new release (2017–present)Edit

According to an interview with Eric Clayton during Wacken Open Air 2017 as well as statements on the Facebook page and Youtube channel of the band, they are working on a new album to be released in the future. It will not be part of the Legend-trilogy, but follow the first two releases of the band.[8]


Year Title Label Other information
1990 Saviour Machine (demo) Independent Re-released on MCM Music in 1997
1993 Saviour Machine I Intense Records Re-released on MCM Music / Massacre Records in 1996
1994 Saviour Machine II Intense Records Re-released on MCM Music / Massacre Records in 1995
1995 Live in Deutschland 1995 MCM Music / Massacre Records CD and VHS
1997 Legend I MCM Music / Massacre Records Review: The Phantom Tollbooth
1998 Legend II MCM Music / Massacre Records Reviews: The Phantom Tollbooth, HM Magazine[9]
2001 Legend III:I MCM Music Exclusive first pressing; Limited to 2001 hand-numbered copies
2002 Live in Deutschland 2002 MCM Music / Massacre Records 2CD and 2DVD; DVD includes re-release of Live in Deutschland 1995
2006 Rarities / Revelations Independent 4CD; Limited to 500 hand-numbered copies signed by Eric Clayton


Current members

  • Eric Clayton – vocals (1989–present)
  • Jeff Clayton – guitar (1989–present)
  • Nathan Van Hala – piano (1993–present)
  • Charles Cooper – bass (1995–present)
  • Samuel West – drums (1992–1993, 2011–present)

Former members

  • Chris Fee – drums (1989–1992)[citation needed]
  • Dean Forsyth – bass (1989–1995)
  • Jayson Heart – drums (1993–1999)
  • Victor Deaton – drums (2000–2001)
  • Carl Johan Grimmark – guitar (2001–2004)
  • Thomas Weinesjö – drums (2001–2004)

Side projectsEdit

  • Eric Clayton appeared as "Reason" on Ayreon's 2004 album, The Human Equation, which also featured James LaBrie, Mikael Åkerfeldt and Devin Townsend, among others. He reprised this role in the 2015 theater adaptation of this album.
  • In 1998, he produced and performed guest vocals on Wedding Party's album, Anthems. Clayton also produced and performed guest vocals in Eva O's album, Damnation: Ride the Madness.
  • Carl Johan Grimmark is the lead guitarist for Narnia and also performs with Rob Rock.
  • Nathan Van Hala currently plays keyboards for The Fur Traders. Past projects include Eagle Winged Palace, West Indian Girl, X-electra, Shadow Project, and Strychnine Kiss, for whom he was the vocalist and primary songwriter.
  • Thomas Weinesjö is the drummer for Veni Domine.
  • Former drummer Victor Deaton played drums on two tracks ("Raven's Warning" and "Alliance") and marching snare drum (percussion) on one track ("War Memorial") of Wedding Party's record Anthems. It is also rumored that Victor Deaton played drums on the Rackets and Drapes album "Trick or Treat". Hence, the liner notes of the album contained, "BAND THANX: ...,Vic Deaton for the music lessons,..." Victor Deaton has also recorded with guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  • Former drummer Sam West is currently a member of Stavesacre, and previously performed with Scaterd Few and The Violet Burning.
  • Eric Clayton guested Carl Johan Grimmarks headproject Narnia on the album The Great Fall and sang the vocals with Christian Rivel on the 14 minute song The Great Fall of Man.


  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason (February 4, 2004). "Saviour Machine". Allmusic. Open Publishing. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  2. ^ Espiau, Olivier (2004). "Saviour Machine - Saviour Machine II". Metal Storm. Open Publishing. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  3. ^ Espiau, Olivier (February 4, 2004). "Saviour Machine - Saviour Machine I". Metal Storm. Open Publishing. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d Macintosh, Dan (May–June 1997). "Saviour Machine". HM Magazine (65). ISSN 1066-6923. Archived from the original on September 18, 2000. Retrieved April 30, 2007.
  5. ^ Brunner, David (August 11, 2006). "Eric Clayton im Interview". Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2007.
  6. ^ Clayton, Eric (July 7, 2007). "Legend Part III:II". Archived from the original on December 9, 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2007.
  7. ^ Saviour Machine Home Page - A Message From Eric Clayton
  8. ^ "Eric Clayton - Wacken Press Conference 2017 - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Van Pelt, Doug (July–August 1998). "Album Reviews: SAVIOUR MACHINE Legend Part II". HM Magazine (72). ISSN 1066-6923.
  • ^ "1". Deus Ex Machina. Archived from the original on October 25, 1997. Retrieved March 1, 2006.
  • ^ "2". Deus Ex Machina. Retrieved March 13, 2007.

External linksEdit