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Classic Review: At the Gates - Slaughter of the Soul
At the Gates
Slaughter of the Soul

Label: Earache Records
Year released: 1995
Duration: 34:08
Tracks: 11
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: December 31, 2008
Reviewed by: Jason Cominetto
Readers Rating
Slaughter of the Soul

Rated 3.58/5 (71.67%) (36 Votes)

One of the forerunners of the Melodic Death Metal sound, At the Gates represent the genre they helped create with their final album, Slaughter of the Soul.

With this album, At the Gates take a faster, less melodic tone than their previous releases. Sounding more like a Thrash Metal band than a Gothenburg one, they assault the listeners' eardrums with their heavy sound, which they would become famous for after their break up in 1996. This sound is simply a collaboration of the guitars and drums working on the same wavelength and complementing each other in a way little bands can do.

One of the things that stands out on this album is the tone and rhythm of the guitars and bass. They sound sharp and fast, but move in a smooth, rhythmic fashion. This creates a flow that moves the song along while still retaining a heavy sound. Like mentioned before, the guitars sound more fast and "thrash-y" on some songs ("Need") and more melodic on others ("Under a Serpent Sun").

The drums are also fantastically done, with the best example of them being on "Suicide Nation." They are relentlessly fast, providing great support for the guitars. The sound of the melodies of the guitars on top of the nonstop pounding of the drums is truly something any music lover should check out. It is hard to find a band that has these two different types of instruments complement each other like At the Gates has.

The vocals on the other hand, do not shine as much. The vocalist's tone is deep and raw, but no different than any other Melodic Death Metal singer. It is hard to stand out as a metal vocalist since there are so many bands in the scene, but I really wish Tomas Lindberg did something to differentiate himself from the competition. His voice is not bad on this album, but it is a shame that he does not complement the instruments as well as they do to each other.

It is for this reason that Slaughter of the Soul does not mark as high as I had hoped it would. The sound of the instruments would become a staple for faster Melodic Death Metal, but the vocals are not different enough to make the band truly outstanding. Also, tracks like "Into the Dead Sky" and "The Flames of the End" feel a bit out of place due to their slow nature. But that should not get listeners down, as At the Gates work like a well-oiled machine, pumping out great song after great song.

Overall, Slaughter of the Soul is a fantastic and important Melodic Death Metal album that should be a part of any metal fan's collection.

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