At The Gates - Slaughter of the Soul [re-issue] (Cover Artwork)

At The Gates

Slaughter of the Soul [re-issue] (2002)


Let me just start by acknowledging that yes, I checked these guys out because of Break The Silence's cover of the song "Slaughter of the Soul". With that said, this is a fantastic disc. As you may know, At The Gates is a now-defunct melodic death metal band that hailed from Sweden. Consisting of 11 songs, plus several bonus cuts, this album speeds by with a brutal, frenetic energy. Beginning with the opening track, "Blinded by Fear", the band destroys everything. The songs are all around three minutes each, giving most of them time for intros, verses, choruses, amazing lead guitar hijinks, and proper closings. All at breakneck pace, of course. The exception to this are tracks 5 and 11, which serve as slow, brooding instrumentals.

Singer Tomas Lindberg screams on a level that is not quite the high pitched screech of spastic screamo bands, and not quite the low growl of your typical Victory Records bands. His voice lends itself well to the music, though on a humorous note, when the music calms, Lindberg sounds as if he is gurgling. The drums, as would be expected, are fast and hard hitting, though manage to showcase enough variation so as not to sound redundant. Of course, the main attraction here is the guitars. Martin Larsson keeps the rhythm with chugga-chugga strumming while Andres Bjorler wails away on the lead guitar. His playing is at once beautifully melodic and brutally intense. As for the bass? Well, I know it's there, but I can't hear it over the pounding drums, wailing guitars and screaming.

The song titles and lyrics contain typical death metal dark, violent imagery. Ranging from "Slaughter of the Soul" to "Suicide Nation", its all evil and bloody. Standout tracks include "Blinded by Fear", "Cold", and " Nausea", though in all honesty, the whole album is great.

This is a perfect album for fans of the genre, or brutal music in general. I would say it's like a mush harsher and slightly less melodic Break The Silence, or maybe like a more manic and less technical Botch. But do yourself the favor, and check out this album.