AT THE GATES – Slaughter of the Soul (Reissue)

What can you say about easily the most influential and important album in the history of the Gothenburg metal scene? I’m not sure if the band themselves had any idea of the impact this album would have on the metal underground. Well seven years later Slaughter of the Soul is back to teach all posers and wannabees how it’s done with the reissue of this classic release. For those of you unfamiliar with this album, I’ll do my best to give you a quick summary. After several releases of tight solid Swedish death metal, the band finally hit the nail on the head with this release by combining the raw buzzsaw sound of early Swedish death metal, the melodies & harmonies of classic IRON MAIDEN, the urgency and aggression of thrash metal (SLAYER, DARK ANGEL…) with hints of melodic doom-SABBATH, TROUBLE etc…all in to one lethal package. And I guess that’s the key to the band’s success, combining equal parts intensity, aggression, and heavy groove, along with a strong emphasis on hooks and melody. As for the enlightened, who wonder why they should once again buy an album they’ve been listening to for years, this reissue contains six bonus tracks, roughly a 20 min. EP of “rare” material not found on the original. Among the bonus tracks included are a SLAUGHTERLORD cover of “Legion” which at times sounds suspiciously like “Haunting the Chapel” and an excellent original, “The Dying” both of which were on a limited tour sampler with NAPALM DEATH. There’s a raw sounding cover of “Captor of Sin” culled from one of the Blacksun SLAYER tributes,and two raw demo versions of “Unto Others” and “Suicide Nation“, and a cover of NO SECURITY‘s “Bister Verklighet” (the only song they ever recorded in Swedish) closes the album with raw, hardcore aggression. This reissue also includes liner notes from Tomas Lindberg who offers interesting, insightful information on everything from early influences and song inspiration to the secrets of Anders Bjorler‘s guitar sound. All of which makes this album worth purchasing again & again until this album goes platinum. (Earache)

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