At the Gates
The Red in the Sky Is Ours


2.0
poor

Review

by Bron-Yr-Aur USER (39 Reviews)
June 4th, 2006 | 24 replies | 2,860 views


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist


3 of 5 thought this review was well written

Being a rock star isnít easy. Everything you do and everything you stand for will be noted, documented, and spread across the globe to millions of eager teenyboppers who will engage in eye-gouging free for alls in your name at the drop of a hat. Boys will emulate your every move, and theyíll have photographic evidence of you doing it thanks to the candid efforts of the lovable paparazzi. Then of course, thereís the touring. Hectic road trials and shows aside, you are forced to spend unprecedented amounts of time with your band mates, a time in which you realize whether or not you made the right choice in allies, more or less the same realization one would have after a few months of marriage. Well, Iíd imagine the now defunct Swedish group At the Gates didnít have to worry about half of this, as they werenít rock stars. They were Death Metal stars.

The most gaping difference between the two is that youíd be hard pressed to find a pre-teen who would sit through an entire song by a Death Metal outfit without running to the nearest church and diving head first into the nearest tank of holy water. While Death Metal stars donít have paparazzi or anything of that ilk to agonize over, they do have their own problems. The entire genre of Death Metal can be hard to take seriously, and it can be even more difficult to distinguish between acts. Originality is very scarce. Possibly the most unusual occurrence these groupsí will have to endure depends on where they live. For instance, in Norway church burnings are/were fairly common among the most devoted Death Metal miscreants, and who could forget Dead, the enchanting vocalist for the Black Metal group Mayhem, who killed himself with a shotgun. Equally unforgettable is Euronymous, his opportunistic band mate who harvested parts of Deadsí skull and made a necklace, who in turn was murdered by another band mate. Being a Death/Black metal star isnít easy. Anyway, At the Gates has been widely recognized as pioneers of the Gothenburg sound, melodic death metal. Indeed, 1995ís Slaughter of the Soul is regarded as a classic of the highest order, and justifiably so.

What many fail to realize, however, is in the beginning, At the Gates were just as lowly as any other Swedish group, putting out rather mediocre songs, though well-constructed at the same time. 1992ís The Red in the Sky Is Ours is a chief example of this. The songs donít contain the slightest bit of the melodic fretwork that would later catapult them into the pantheons of metal, but instead present sludgy, down-tuned riffage and shamefully obnoxious vocals. As a matter of fact, one could get a very good idea of what the album will be like after listening to just the first track, ďThe Red in the Sky Is Ours/The Season to Come". Following the death Metal blueprint word for word, the Bass level is kept to a minimum. Following said blueprint, the guitars overpower nearly everything, save for the horrendously annoying vocals, and the rather adequate drumming, which appears to be the one consistent feature throughout the entire album.

Many fans who have just purchased Slaughter of the Soul might have high expectations for the rest of the groups albums. My advice to someone who holds such beliefs would be to borrow this album first, and make any further decisions from there. However, with most horrible albums, there is the odd redeeming song or two. ďWindows" contains fantastic keyboard harmonies as an introduction, and also happens to contain some of that elusive bit of melody mentioned earlier. The vocals, however, still maintain their ghastly presence, and insist on ruining whatever achievement the other members happen to obtain in any given song. As a matter of fact, Iím willing to bet that the vocals alone are what make this album so un-listenable.


Nevertheless, no matter how poor the singing is, the biggest problem for the album Iíve found roots down to one of these two things:

A. The poor production. Given that the guitars and bass are tuned all the way down to B to begin with, the second-rate production spawns a distinctly muddy sound, and creates one more excuse for throwing the album away. While not the worst to be heard on a professional recording, it does sound as if the album was recorded in a murky basement somewhere, and the drums exude the overall power of a toddler banging on a suitcase.

B. The monotony, plain and simple. While intricate time signatures and arrangements may create overall more complex pieces of music, they also tend to produce far more tedious songs overall for you, the humble listener. If you combine this problem with everything else that bodes ill with the album, youíve got yourself a fairly traumatic listen; an endeavor of epic proportions.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

While it is undeniable that At the Gates are legends in their time, they certainly didnít star out that way. Should you desire a piece of the puzzle that later turned into myth, a formal recommendation on my behalf is extended. To the rest of you, might I suggest you delve into a different death metal album, and save yourself the sheer disappointment youíll find with this, the first of four At the Gates releases. Yes, the music industry is tough, and nobody said the path to being a metal star would be an easy one.

2/5

Might I Recommend?

Windows
City of Screaming Statues
Neverwhere


This review is dedicated to Euronymous, for being cool enough to make a skull necklace.



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user ratings (375)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
psycho888999 (5)
At The Gate's most complex work to date....

BillEco (3.5)
Bad production, bad vocals, and often murky guitar sound, while The Red in the Sky is ours still has...

(3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Bron-Yr-Aur
June 4th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Bah, the more I read this the worse it gets.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2006



16081 Comments


I'm going to go out on a limb and say there was more background and history than there was review. The thing is, there was enough review and you made your point clearly. So, the main problem is you perhaps went too much into the background. Yup.

south_of_heaven 11
June 4th 2006



5433 Comments


Still good.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 5th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm going to go out on a limb and say there was more background and history than there was review. The thing is, there was enough review and you made your point clearly. So, the main problem is you perhaps went too much into the background. Yup.


Yeah I see what you mean. This will probably be the last "short" review I do. They'll probably be more like Zep III from now on. Thanks for your votes and feedback.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 5th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

....This Message Edited On 06.05.06

Jondur
June 5th 2006



92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A great album let down by terrible violin interludes!

"All the way down to B" you say?!?!!! Wow! I wish I could find another death metal band that tunes down to B! Oh, I forgot - B is the standard tuning for death metal.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 5th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Congratulations. You're an ass. And as a bonus, thanks for the unjustified negative vote. The only reason B tuning was mentioned was to make a point. I didn't say that it was uncommon or special. Damn, I hate fanboys.This Message Edited On 06.05.06

Jondur
June 5th 2006



92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It was justified. Your review was awful - full of inaccuracy, irrelevance and a lack of understanding. And I don't quite understand your problem with the vocals seeing as they're exactly the same as on Slaughter of the Soul. The riffing style is also still melodic death metal but with a rawer, more brutal edge. Yes, it's not as polished as SotS but to be honest, in death metal, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think you've been blinded by the lower production values compared to SotS - but then they didn't have Earache, they were signed to Peaceville back when Peaceville were still fairly much a DIY affair.

I'm hardly a fanboy - I will count ATG/Dissection in 1995 as the best gig I've ever seen (250 people in a tiny pub - total carnage), but I don't listen to them that often nowadays. It's pretty easy to label anyone who disagrees with you "a fanboy" but the fact remains that if you were commenting on a review then what you wrote would have been interesting, as a review, it stinks.

pattern_recognition
June 5th 2006



950 Comments


Actually, I think Bron focused more on the fact that their songwriting simply wasn't as good as it later became. Hence the low score for the album.
Justified, by the way.

Jondur
June 5th 2006



92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Try to think of it like a "Director's Cut". What ATG did on Terminal Spirit Disease and later on SotS was to condense the songs to such an extent that it made them very easy to listen to. So TSD and SotS are the radio edits of TDitSiO and With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness.

I have ignored Gardens of Grief for the purposes of this discussion as that EP is simply quality old school Swedish Death Metal

Apocalyptic Raids
June 5th 2006



810 Comments


[quote=Jon]I have ignored Gardens of Grief for the purposes of this discussion as that EP is simply quality old school Swedish Death Metal[/quote]
Really? I've always heard ATG's earlier stuff was better from the type of people who don't usually like Slaughter Of The Soul, but I've always stayed away anyway. I am usually more inclined to give EPs a go, though.

Jondur
June 5th 2006



92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't get me wrong - I love Gardens of Grief but it's not really the same style as later ATG. File next to Unleashed and Dismember.

pattern_recognition
June 5th 2006



950 Comments


Jondur, I totally see where you're coming from, but I gotta disagree man. I think there's a difference between a song being easy to listen to because of it's condensed structure, and it being intrinsically better due to that structure. I don't think it's just that they condensed their songs later on, the songs on here have always struck me as poorly put together; a lot of the riffs and section don't flow as well as they should, and they drag the song down as a whole. What you call condensing their sound, I think of as them learning to write cohesively, so that the different parts of the songs reinforce each other and produce a seamless end product.
Anyway, it's all good, I'm not saying you're wrong or anything, I just wanted to explain my perspective.


south_of_heaven 11
June 5th 2006



5433 Comments


whoa whoa whats up with the dos neg votes?

pattern_recognition
June 5th 2006



950 Comments


Don't look at me. Metal ftw

south_of_heaven 11
June 5th 2006



5433 Comments


"lolz i mean, jeez ppl this album roolz its totally a fiver so i vote NEG! cause i dont agree with the rating FTW! n00b!"
- I hate those people.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 5th 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Well Jondur, think what you want. At least you explained yourself. But I see nothing melodic about this, and the vocals are most definately nothing like those on Slaughter of the Soul. I don't see any "inaccuracies", and I think the ones you speak of relate more to opinion than anything. As for lack of understanding, I may not be a complete death metal fanatic, but I know enough to string together words about disliking this album.

whoa whoa whats up with the dos negs?


Probably some random reader.This Message Edited On 06.05.06

Arucard
June 5th 2006



575 Comments


What i find is that most people who like SotS over earlier ATG also like In Flames.

/self explanitory

nontie69
June 5th 2006



1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I find the vocals rather the same, it just sounds like theres better production in them, and personaly I didn't find this album bad at all, you just have to get used to it.

John Paul Harrison
June 5th 2006



1014 Comments


Ah, I almost missed this, Mr. Bron-Yr-Aur. I'm glad to see it is finished.

A fine review. it may be a bit light, but from having listened to the album, I think you accurately said everything you could say. Lovely.



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