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Slaughter Of The Soul - At the Gates

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: At the Gates / Audio CD released 2006-07-10 at Earache

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    2 Reviews
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      02.11.2009 14:44
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      A suitable end to a stellar band

      Released back in 1995, At The Gates' swan-song album 'Slaughter of the Soul' sees a progression from the lo-fi and organic sounding mix of death and black metal evident in their earlier efforts to a much more stripped-down sound that mixes thrash, death metal and crust-punk to create a catchy yet relentlessly fast and heavy piece of seminal Gothenburg metal.

      It is undeniably a more accessable and therefore more commercial effort, but its one that works brilliantly, with endless waves of satisfyingly crunchy, thrashy riffs and excellent despondent melodic solos backed up by simplistic hammering drum-beats. 'Slaughter..' is an album on which everything just comes together perfectly, merging basic but utterly mesmerising riffs and song structures, an unpolished yet forceful production that greatly accentuates the guitars, and the excellent, wounded howls of Tomas Lindberg that sound characteristically ferociously aggressive and utterly despondent at the same time.

      This is reflected in the songs and riffs too, which all have a deeply melancholic feel about them depite their speed and forecefulness, being at once depressive and bursting with raw energy. The lyrics are also superb, consisting of uncomplicated but intelligent bursts of pure vitriol that complement the riffs perfectly. Typically of an ATG album, there is also a short, simple semi-acoustic interlude mid-album that is beautiful as always.

      Often descibed as the 90s' 'Reign in Blood', 'Slaughter of the Soul' is hailed as ATG's finest hour or their sellout moment, depending upon who you speak to, but for my money its a timeless and utterly essential metal album. One Earache reissue comes with some excellent demo versions of two of the album' strongest tracks, along with one still-great track that didnt make the cut on the album as well some great tracks covering songs Slayer and Slaugherlord, and for once the bonus content is well worth the effort of getting. There is also a version that comes with an album 'making of' documentary on DVD as well.

      Tracklisting-

      1. Blinded by Fear 03:12
      2. Slaughter of the Soul 03:02
      3. Cold 03:28
      4. Under a Serpent Sun 03:59
      5. Into the Dead Sky 02:13
      6. Suicide Nation 03:36
      7. World of Lies 03:35
      8. Unto Others 03:11
      9. Nausea 02:24
      10. Need 02:36
      11. The Flames of the End 02:57

      Total playing time 34:13

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      • More +
        30.01.2008 12:18
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        At the Gates' fourth album (1995).

        Here we have one of the popularly cited classics of melodic death metal, the evident inspiration for the legions of overly aggressive, obtrusive, paradoxical metalcore bands dominating the metal mainstream these days. For that reason alone it perhaps deserves to be hammered to bits (violence begets violence), but that would be like travelling back to the genesis of the Daleks and pushing the conveniently marked self-destruct button to stop the universe's greatest threat from ever coming into existence. Besides, taken on its own merits as At the Gates' amicable swan song before the band members' dissolution to other parts of the Swedish metal scene, 'Slaughter of the Soul' is a solid album and a reasonable triumph for metal, and certainly better than Davros or Hitler.

        The sound here is an almost relentless angry yell aimed at nothing in particular, with only a few lapses into something more accessible to the everyday listener. Tomas Lindberg's vocals have become distinctively Tomas Lindberg-style by this point, perhaps predictably but the change from the first album is striking, meaning that the orations are delivered in a harsh and unprecedentedly hostile take on the death metal growl, something that actually starts to bore me in the latter part of the album. For fans of angry music you couldn't do much better than this, and as it's a melodic death album, Anders Björler supplies a fairly melodic lead guitar in most songs in an attempt to balance things out, though not to the extent of In Flames, Dark Tranquillity or most of the other bands of the Gothenburg scene. Essentially, opener 'Blinded by Fear' is the only real sign of effort in fitting to the imagined archetype of the melodic death sound, as later albums rely on outside sources and more drastic deviations for their melody, most notably a nice guitar solo from King Diamond's Andy LaRocque in 'Cold,' the entirely acoustic interlude 'Into the Dead Sky' and the atmospheric outro 'The Flames of the End.'

        This is a consistent death metal album that irons out anything extraneous and ends up with a relatively short (but long enough) thirty-four minute playing time, most songs coming in at under four minutes and the final few all being under three minutes. The problem with these short lengths is that few of the songs have much chance to really establish themselves outside of the main riffs and verses, 'Unto Others' trying to do something different with short acoustic flourishes and a steadier introductory section but still ending up much the same as the rest. This is no problem if this is the sort of music you're really into, and any metalcore fans who haven't heard this oft-hailed progenitor of the style should see it as a compulsory listen, one that will hopefully introduce them to other, better death metal bands, but for those like me who obviously prefer the more melodic and innovative touches of At the Gates' contemporaries, it gets a bit tedious and even seems a little lacking in ferocity when compared to more extreme death- and black metal acts. At least this is more accessible.

        1. Blinded by Fear
        2. Slaughter of the Soul
        3. Cold
        4. Under a Serpent Sun
        5. Into the Dead Sky
        6. Suicide Nation
        7. World of Lies
        8. Unto Others
        9. Nausea
        10. Need
        11. The Flames of the End

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Blinded By Fear
      2 Slaughter Of The Soul
      3 Cold
      4 Under A Serpent Sun
      5 Into The Dead Sky
      6 Suicide Nation
      7 World Of Lies
      8 Unto Others
      9 Nausea
      10 Need
      11 Flames Of The End
      12 Legion
      13 Dying
      14 Captor Of Sin
      15 Unto Others
      16 Suicide Nation
      17 Bister Verklighet
      18 Making Of Slaughter Of The Soul
      19 Blinded By Fea