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Slaughter of the Soul (Expanded Edition)

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Album Review

While "Blinded by Fear" begins Slaughter of the Soul with a screwy and interesting semi-industrial percussion loop, about 40 seconds in it becomes all light-speed crunch, riffs, and snarls, so those who never liked thrash in the first place aren't going to be convinced by the goings-on here. But for those for whom such stuff is like oxygen? It depends. Singer Tomas Lindberg actually steers away from the typical Cookie Monster growl in favor of a higher but equally strangled register, while his lyrics avoid bad fantasy poesy, at least for the most part, in favor of more existential crises. If nothing else, he has a good line in influences, with quotes from everyone from William Burroughs to the 13th Floor Elevators. As for his bandmates, nothing here sounds too different from what those who worshipped at the wells of Kill 'Em All and Reign in Blood would have created, but what they do they do quite well. The arrangements are tight and performances strong (guitarists Anders Bjorler and Martin Larsson clearly have practiced their riff action many a time), and the occasional extra touch like acoustic guitar or notable space in the production, holding back at points rather than just grinding things into the ground, never hurts. "Cold" is a good example of this, with a soft electric guitar break about two minutes in, while the instrumental "Into the Dead Sky" consists of nothing but similarly calm guitar and whooshing background noises. Sometimes the contrast can be a bit odd — hearing Lindberg's howls against nothing but brief flamenco runs in "Unto Others" isn't the most typical of combinations! While Slaughter may not be the best album of its kind, it's definitely better than most, with its own character.

Customer Reviews

Punishing, Nihilistic Brilliance

The third best metal album ever made (after The Gallery and The Jester Race), recorded by now-defunct metal band At The Gates in 1995 (coincidentally the same year as the two aforementioned albums). Tomas Lindberg's unrestrained fury brutalizes the listener while the Bjorler twins, Martin Larsson, and Adrian Erlandsson play the tightest, most concisely powerful metal in history. The album's best point, the lyrics, track man's gradual existential descent from fear and nausea to eventual death, with each song more decayed and despairing than the next. Quotes from W.S. Burroughs and Luke Rhinehart, among others, further illustrate the existential and philosophical points the band is making, while lines such as "A world drenched in the blood of the innocent," and "Jaws locked around your spine" drive the point home like a sledgehammer. The origin, nature, and effects of evil is a secondary theme also explored extensively in the album's lyrics. Even though they are readable by themselves, the lyrics go much better with the punishing metal sound and composition At The Gates set them to.

Most jocked record that "the kids" still don't recognize

This record is now over a decade old and has still yet to be topped, although almost every new "American Metal" band takes their shot at this sound. Give it up; At The Gates did after this record.

20 reviews of a death metal album, still 5 stars overall. 'nuff said.

but i'll say more anyway. this is an absolutley BRUTAL album. if you dont find this so heavy you just wanna bash something with a crowbar over and over and over again, then YOU ARE NOT METAL!!!!!! ROCK ON \m/

Biography

Formed: 1990 in Gothenburg, Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the more melodic death metal bands to expand beyond Sweden and spread their sound across the world alongside peers such as Entombed, At the Gates played a significant role in the death metal genre before breaking up in 1996, leading to the formation of the Haunted. The group's first lineup — Tomas Lindberg (vocals), Anders Bjorler (guitars), Adrian Erlandsson (drums), Jonas Bjorler (bass), and Alf Svensson (guitars) — formed in late 1990, recording the Gardens of Grief EP for the...
Full Bio