At The Gates
Slaughter of the Soul


4.0
excellent

Review

by Bartender EMERITUS
January 16th, 2005 | 42 replies | 7,782 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist


For a record released so recently as 1995, Slaughter of the Soul has gained quite some notoriety. At the Gates are often largely credited with being amongst the primogenitors of the Gothenburg style of melodic death metal, and as will always happen with such vaunted bands, one album will be picked on as their "best". With At the Gates, this dubious honour seems to have fallen to Slaughter of the Soul, possibly because it was the last full release they made before breaking up, or maybe it is actually their finest work. I know some people rank Terminal Spirit Disease above it, but I can't really comment there, since this is the only album of theirs I've heard.

The Gothenburg sound (named for where it originated from - Gothenburg, Sweden) is an odd style of death metal. Once you know what it is, it's easily distinguishable from other melodic death metal, but it's fairly difficult to describe to someone what the difference is. What strikes me most about it is that it seems, in At the Gates in particular, to have a lot of the sound of thrash, especially in the guitars - a lot of the riffs here are catchy, and the word which leaps to mind in describing them is "thrashy". At the same time though, the sound holds nothing too similar either real thrash or real melodic death; it sounds more "modern". A more cynical mind than mine might suggest it's a more accessible, even poppy, sound. In a way it is. Gothenburg-styled bands seem today to be the main gateway bands for fans of more mainstream muisc; the songs (riffs, particularly, as mentioned) are generally catchy, and the vocals not as off-puttingly harsh or brutal as the majority of death metal.

The vocals can range quite widely, from slightly less harsh death metal growling, to practically singing (In Flames). With At the Gates, Lindberg's vocals are a strength - the only word which adequately pins them down is "rabid". He constantly sounds as if he's about to burst an artery; even without knowing what he looks like, you imagine a stocky, probably bald, head and neck, with bulging arteries and muscles as he yells into the mic. The vocals are another area where Slaughter of the Soul show a little bit of a more modern side; Lindberg occasionally borrows shouts of "Go!" and "Oh yeah!, more often associated with rock and roll, and definitely an oddity in death metal.

Now, this vague sound established, the record itself. Put simply, At the Gates tear it up. Every track (excluding Into the Dead Sky, which is an acoustic interlude, and The Flames of the End, which is an oddly conceived instrumental come-down) is roughly three minutes long and catchy, a blast of viciously precise drums, thrashing guitars and the aforementioned rabid vocals. It's neat, and surgically sharp, and cool ..and to be honest, over the span of ten tracks, it gets a bit boring. This isn't helped by the addition of six extra tracks on the reissue, though I'll keep that out of the rating, since it's nothing to do with the original album. Still, although most of the tracks are pretty good on their own, overall the whole thing is a little repetitive, and amounts to nothing particularly exciting.

I want to avoid using the word "overrated" here, because of the strong responses it can evoke. I'll just say that Slaughter of the Soul amounts to a slightly disappointing, though solid, album, with something of an inflated reputation.

3.8/5

Recommended track:
The opener is perhaps the "classic" recommendation, though the title track also has an immensely catchy riff to recommend it. Suicide Nation has the ineffably cool sound of a racking shotgun starting it off, and coming off the back of the relaxed Into the Dead Sky, it's a good song. Of the bonus tracks, Legion and Bister Verklighet stand out.

At the Gates were:
Tomas Lindberg - vocals
Anders Bjorler - lead guitar
Martin Larsson - rhythm guitar
Jonas Bjorler - bass
Adrian Erlandsson - drums



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Comments:Add a Comment 
manuscriptreplica
December 12th 2004



431 Comments


Good review. I think this is far too overrated, but it is good for the occasional listen. Like most melodic death metal though, too similar-sounding.

3.5/5

BuddyBigsby
December 12th 2004



531 Comments


Well I for one think this is a mighty fine album.

funk_metalguitarist
December 12th 2004



3 Comments


I haven't heard Slaughter of the Soul but I've heard Terminal Spirit Disease. Awesome melodic death metal :thumb:

superpeer
December 12th 2004



257 Comments


Hah.. I agree that it can get a bit repetitive sometimes. But that doesn't take away the fact that this album has some of my favourite riffs ever. The first 4 tracks are very, very good and 'Blinded By Fear' has some of the most delicious riffs I've heard.

4.5/5

Squirrel
December 12th 2004



74 Comments


It's a brilliant album, every song on it rules.

However, it does get tiring quite quickly as most songs riffs are very similar and the drum patterns sound very over-used. That said though, it is one of my favorite albums ever.

4.5/5

Shadows
Moderator
December 12th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice work. I've been meaning to get some At the Gates and this sounds like something I could get into. And speaking of Gothenburg, I should have an Arch Enemy review up pretty soon...

The JoZ
December 12th 2004



345 Comments


I had a bunch of tracks off this, and they were quite amazing.

Chainwork
December 12th 2004



10 Comments


Hmmm... I wanted to review this. Oh well. I personally like it a lot. "Under the Serpent Sun" is my favorite song and is quite diverse in my opinion. I can see why people think it's overrated, but I still love it.

4 - 4.5 / 5

Bartender
Emeritus
December 13th 2004



826 Comments


[QUOTE=BuddyBigsby]Well I for one think this is a mighty fine album.[/QUOTE]

Well, it is a fine album. 3.8 is a strong score.

BuddyBigsby
December 13th 2004



531 Comments


True. Fair enough.

Dark Hero
December 13th 2004



160 Comments


Good review, I downloaded this album, it's not that good.

whatduffhuck7
February 21st 2005



163 Comments


i think this is a 4.5/5 at least

canadapantsman
July 17th 2005



236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

manuscriptrep said it best

Good review. I think this is far too overrated, but it is good for the occasional listen. Like most melodic death metal though, too similar-sounding.



3.5/5

^id agree wit dat

Shadows
Moderator
July 18th 2005



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mmmm...after having this downloaded for many months, I'd give it a 3.5. Some good memorable tunes here. Much of the material is very catchy, but all of it is just very simple and toned-down from their past work.This Message Edited On 09.11.05

Apathy
September 11th 2005



645 Comments


I have heard Suicide Nation, and I love it. Is it the best track on here, or are they consistently that good?

loathed
October 2nd 2005



174 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

can someone do a review of terminal soul disease??

Shadows
Moderator
October 2nd 2005



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Terminal Spirit Disease? I was planning on reviewing it very very soon. I may do With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness too.

spoon_of_grimbo
November 2nd 2005



2240 Comments


i heard "blinded by fear" on an Earache sampler before i was into death metal, or metal of any kind to be honest, along with carcass' "death certificate," and was surprised by how much i liked both.

bearing in mind that i'm now a huge fan of carcass (particularly later era carcass), can anyone recommend any other good at the gates songs i should get?This Message Edited On 11.02.05

Arrakakaka
November 26th 2005



685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alright, I appreciate it more.

Grimbo, check out "The Swarm"

canadapantsman
December 15th 2005



236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

dang. i cant believe i only thot this was a 3.5. this is one of the greatest albums of all time definitely. i think i was just thinking it slacked because of the bonus tracks porque my copy is a burned cd so shyaaaa. but their guitar playing on fairly insane. sometimes it doesnt sound that way, but you look up the tabs and play it. dang. terminal spirit also owns



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