AT THE GATES — Slaughter of the Soul (review)

AT THE GATES — Slaughter of the Soul album cover Album · 1995 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Time Signature
Slaughter of the ear...

Genre: melodic death metal

It is not a coincidence that several present-day melodeath artists have been accused of aping the sound and style on this album. "Slaughter of the Soul" is a very influential album and one of the releases that helped define the genre of melodic death metal, which is very popular in Sweden, Denmark (the entire underground metal scene in my hometown seems to evolve around this album) and around the world.

What I particularly like about this album is that it is more aggressive, more primitive and less polished than the likes of In Flames and other Swedish melodeath acts. The riffing is often fast, simple and straightforward making use of melodic patterns that are typically based on minor scales and 4/4 or 3/4 figures, and the nods to NWOBHM are very clear both in terms of riff types and guitar harmonies. The drumming is tight and simple (in a good way), although there are some interesting twists here and there. At The Gates make heavy use of simple thrash metal drum rhythms here, which add to the agrressiveness of this album, and which work well with the melodic riffing. The most striking thing is perhaps the screaming vocals, which display a certain desperation which fits with the content of the lyrics, which deal with topics such as fear, suffering, death and so on. On some tracks, like "Cold" the vocals sound so desperate that it sometimes touches me so much that I get chills and my eyes get watery. I never expected a death metal record to have that effect on me. But hey, that's the beauty of music, innit? Other notable tracks are the hit "Blinded By Fear", the title track, "under a Serpent Sun" and "Suicide Nation".

I think this album will appeal to anyone who likes thrash metal and power metal, and perhaps even some NWOBHM fans, as well as some death metal fans - although "Slaughter of the Soul" does not have much in common with other death metal releases from the 90s. I would also reccomend this album to those who like a bit of melody but think that In Flames and American melodic metalcore is too polished.

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