At the Gates
Slaughter of the Soul


5.0
classic

Review

by johnny of the Well USER (38 Reviews)
February 3rd, 2012 | 61 replies | 3,926 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: At the Gates release their suicidal final art

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

There are certain albums that have revolutionized and created whole genres of music. These range from Myles Davis’ Bitches Brew to Korn’s self titled album to Led Zeppelin’s debut, and all of these albums have had a great influence on music. This is one of those albums. Slaughter of the Soul is the crown jewel of the heaviest of the three Gothenburg titans (At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames). What essentially happened with this album is that At the Gates took the more melodic approach of its predecessor, Terminal Spirit Disease, simplified it and added more ferocity and brutality. The result is a masterpiece. Without this album, there would be not Killswitch Engage, no As I Lay Dying or no All That Remains.

Slaughter of the Soul is in essence a wild, violent roller coaster ride. It is not so much as a good time as a sensational time; the album is enjoyable not because it is pleasant to listen to but because it’s a brilliant expression of rage and pain. It succeeds because it is an experience, not entertainment. It can’t be perfect - it’s too twisted and violent to come anywhere close – but it does such a good job of being imperfect that it’s not far from flawless.

I have to say, I was surprised by At the Gates’ take on melodic death when I first heard this, since my only other experience of the genre was from In Flames, whose songs are laden with harmonized riffs, and Children of Bodom, who throw shredy melodies and crazy arpeggios out left, right and centre. At the Gates are not melodic in this sense; their sound consists of fast thrash riffs with the occasional melodic lick thrown in now and then. This is definitely a good thing, since although there are few catchy melodies to be found here, it makes each song heavy enough (far more than enough), to grab the listener by the neck and hold on until it finishes, which is just as interesting as – if not more than - an accessible hook.

The opener Blinded By Fear does what many good openers do; it presents the album in a nutshell; if you don’t like this song, there’s nothing for here. It is scathing, fast and thrashy, with a short solo to justify its claim to being melodic. The album’s main feature is immediately revealed; Tomas Lindberg’s vocals. Powerful beyond belief, they inspire twisted rage like few other metal vocalists can. Adrian Erlandsson’s drumming is also notable for being frantic and technically brilliant; this guy definitely knew how and when to use his double pedals.

Although the general formula of each song is excellent enough as to require little variation, At the Gates provided it anyway, in the form of the acoustic interval Into the Dead Sky, the experimental keyboard outro The Flames of the End, the acoustic bridge in Unto Others (which worked oddly well with Lindberg’s vocals on top), the slower, chuggier number World of Lies and the clean section in Cold, which – along with the solo after it – is one of the album’s finest moments.

As brilliant as Slaughter of the Soul may be, it is not without flaws; no album is. Despite the aforementioned variety, many of the songs do sound quite similar, and although this is no bad thing, there is a lot of potential in some of them (mainly Nausea) that could have been further exploited. Clear variety between each song is something that Terminal Spirit Disease proved At the Gates could achieve, and it could have been achieved here too. As well as this, I feel that the only moment that the bass really shine here is the last chorus of Cold; although bass has never been hugely important to Gothenburg metal, that needn’t have been the case. Despite these two minor problems, this is a solid, consistent album if there ever was one.


Pros
Perfect blend of thrash with melody
Lindberg’s vocals
Exactly the right length; neither too long nor too short
Influenced metalcore massively

Cons
Their last album
Lack of bass
Could have been a little more variety (but that’s not really a problem)

Top 5
1. Slaughter of the Soul
2. Cold
3. Under A Serpent Sun
4. Unto Others
5. Blinded by Fear



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user ratings (1479)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
fsharptrit0ne
February 3rd 2012



4808 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yea

DarthMann
February 3rd 2012



13472 Comments


m/

Shuyin
February 3rd 2012



11097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

m/

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

fsharptrit0ne
February 3rd 2012



4808 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

potato this aint no death grips

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2012



17998 Comments


every single metalcore band has ripped at least one riff from this album

Digging: Autechre - Draft 7.30

fsharptrit0ne
February 3rd 2012



4808 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

without even knowing it

Shuyin
February 3rd 2012



11097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

except misery signals

fsharptrit0ne
February 3rd 2012



4808 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and it doesn't have any dumbass music videos

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2012



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Couple brilliant songs couple good songs couple bad songs

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 3rd 2012



49736 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

m/

Digging: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Pikapika Fantajin

johnnydeking29
February 3rd 2012



8964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you've heard this and haven't heard Terminal Spirit Disease, ur missing out

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2012



17998 Comments


the red in the sky is their best

R6Rider
February 3rd 2012



4456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love the guitar tone Anders got on this album.

It sounds like an amplified chainsaw.

Digging: Rort - Warpath

johnnydeking29
February 3rd 2012



8964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^agreed, the whole album is like a chainsaw

KILL
February 3rd 2012



70298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great shit

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

Hawks
February 3rd 2012



34194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm with Sonic on this one. I feel like my rating may be a little too high, but fuck it, this rules.

Digging: Manners - Pale Blue Light

Shuyin
February 3rd 2012



11097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

no its not, this is excelent

Scoot
February 3rd 2012



17670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only the dumb people dislike this

Digging: Unjust - Glow

macadoolahicky
February 3rd 2012



1835 Comments


Damn, is this really the first/only 5 review? Anyway, great review. This album tends to drag for me, but it's still really good

ValeriusTheImmortal
February 3rd 2012



1237 Comments


sigh...only the dumb people masturbate over these popular albums and ignore the unsung heroes of metal



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