Loudwire.com 1995 Metal Album Of The Year—-At The Gates / Slaughter Of The Soul

Slaughter of the Soul

At the Gates is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. They are a major progenitor of the Gothenburg sound. At the Gates were initially active from 1990 to 1996. In 2007, the band announced a limited reunion tour between April and September of 2008. However, they reformed for a second time in 2011, and have since continued to perform live. The band released At War with Reality, their first album in 19 years, in late 2014.

Slaughter of the Soul is the fourth studio album by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates, released on November 14, 1995. It was their last album before their eleven-year breakup from 1996 to 2007. Slaughter of the Soul is considered a landmark in melodic death metal and played a major role in popularizing the Gothenburg scene, alongside The Jester Race by In Flames and The Gallery by Dark Tranquillity. The album was recorded and mixed in Studio Fredman, early 1995.

Andy LaRocque‘s neo-classical guest solo on “Cold” was widely acclaimed as one of the greatest metal solos and guitarist Anders Björler admitted in 2007 that he still couldn’t play it properly.

“Blinded by Fear” was covered by The Haunted (composed largely of ex-At The Gates members) on their Japanese version of their live/double disc album, Live Rounds in Tokyo and was also covered by Fleshgod Apocalypse on their Mafia EP. The song also appeared in the game Rock Band 2 as downloadable content.

The Analysis—-

Blinded By Fear—-Dark and foreboding at best on the onset, the music soon begins and the technicality of the whole thing is immediate. The vocal is as you would expect…forceful…full of gravel and delivered at a blistering pace. The drums…outstanding, are very in your face…but it will be be the guitars..with the soaring melody lines that you notice right from the onset. Well constructed and very listenable.

Slaughter Of The Soul—-Seeming to meld from the previous song, you have no time to catch your breath before the speed of the music wipes you on the floor. The voice is abrasive but not as bad as some of the bands I have come to adore. The guitars are so clear…the rhythm section very pronounced. This is excellent.The mid point of the song…..the guitars seem to literally levitate above your head…..

Cold—-Beginning with a wall of bass guitar, the mayhem soon commences with an outstanding ascending guitar line that forms the melody line of the song. The bass line that begins the song…remains clear throughout the entirety. The voice is removed a bit from the track…the music is the star of the show…this is exquisite…you can hear the technical elements of the band all over…from the breaks, the tempo changes and the masterful upswing again…this is incredible.

Under A Serpent Sun—-Again. we are off and running right from the very first note of the song. The guitars form a melody line that you actually find your ears tuning into and drowning out the death screams of the vocalist. The soaring tones….the temp changes….the rhythm section that is so present…have made for a landmark recording.

Into The Dead Sky—-Beginning with a beautifully constructed acoustic guitar, the intricate melody that opens up and adds a bass line is exquisite. The vocal enters with a eerie whisper that runs underneath of the beautiful music….giving everything a ‘dark around the edges’ feel. This is incredible and a really nice surprise.

Suicide Nation—-Leaving the dark beauty behind and digging back in the trenches for mud to sling at your head, the mayhem picks up from where it left off. The vocal is fast…spitting at your face with a disgust and venom. The music is fast…with a heavy bass melody line. This is fantastic. Very dark with a disturbing lyric….but still fantastic.

World Of Lies—-Huge walls of aggressive bass kick off the song…the drums are really prominent and excellent. The groove that is produced is soon interrupted as the song dissolves into a huge mess of sound that comes at you from all directions. But the construction is very technical and in good form. This is not just bashing out a song….there is a lot of thought here. When that galloping bass line kicks in mid song….I can do nothing but shake my head in amazement.One of my favorite tracks on this release.

Unto Others—-Offering what you have come to expect, the death scream at the intro to this track is incredible. The drumming threatens to ruin your life as it pummels right in the center of your forehead. The guitars offer a melody line that magically seems to rise right above all the noise and mayhem. This is the most organized chaos I have ever heard. The acoustic break that magically appears in the middle of the song will leave you shaking your head in amazement.

Nausea—-Another death scream and we are off and running at an incredible pace. The band seems to almost leave the vocal behind….but there it is again….that magical melody line that appears…disappears but magically leads the song in the direction it is going. The bass takes over….falls away and you are right back to the technical melody that soars clear above your head and keeps you from sinking into the black water. Amazing.

Need—-Not to much new at the onset of the track….the established and trademark sound of the band is now permanently tattooed in your frontal lobe. The vocal….becomes tiresome at points…..it is only the magical mastery of the music that makes you crave more from the band. This is ground breaking.

The Flames Of The End—-Ending the release with atmosphere and a surprise intro, the band again shows its talent and versatility with a slow and melodic intro that leads you down a scary path into a darkness you are not sure of. The blasts of guitars that appear and disappear are monstrous and then gone….here and then there. This is stellar. The tone of the song…so dark and eerie. Not a single word was uttered with this final song…but it pt you right where the album wanted you to be.

****3/4 out of 5




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