At The Gates: Slaughter of the Soul (2002 Reissue)

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At The Gates: Slaughter of the Soul (2002 Reissue)
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At the Gates: Slaughter of the Soul
Melodic Death Metal
Earache Records
November 14th, 1995
Release length: 34:13
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One of the most influential releases in metal history, let’s take a moment to examine the release Slaughter Of The Soul by the band At The Gates. Considered one of the first real influential albums to the melodic death metal style, this release finds the band deviating from the sound that defined them for a much more melodic sound filled with chaos and rather simple lyrics and guitar structure. But, is it really worth it to buy this reissue instead of just being happy with the one you have?

Slaughter Of The Soul is a phenomenal album, but it’s not quite a masterpiece. Let’s face it, “Blinded By Fear”, the single off of this album, and “Suicide Nation” are simply amazing songs, as are much of the songs that make up this release. If you’re able to look past the material the band has put out before and consider this a new incarnation, or a new band in general, you’re going to love this album. It’s clear this album was aimed to be more of a commercial hit then a true At The Gates album, but the music on here is really catchy and often just sounds heavy as hell, such as “Blinded By Fear”, “Under A Serpent Sun”, “Suicide Nation” and “World Of Lies”.

But, if you can’t look past that, and miss the more misanthropic atmosphere the previous releases gave you, along with the not so simple guitar chords and lyrics, then, unfortunately, you are out of luck and will be too biased to enjoy the album for what it is. The music on here is rather uninspired and only sounds heavy, lacking any real complexity that this band is known for. “Unto Others” is a rather bland track, and by this point it just starts to feel as if the band is using the same riffs, or perhaps even following a pattern. The guitars in the chorus of this, however, are interesting and sound rather original compared to the rest of the closer. “Need” is a perfect example, as it just feels like a filler track with some recycled riffs. Another gripe that can be found with this album is that the instrumental tracks on here seem to hurt the album. “Into The Dead Sky” is an alright instrumental but it breaks up the natural flow of the music on this release, and the outro instrumental, “The Flames Of The End” sounds very generic.


The inclusion of “Unto Others” and “Suicide Nation” off their 2005 demo is nice because it allows you to hear the direction the band was on just prior to the release of this album, as well as how they sound without the studio editing used on this release, which will only make you wish they had used a lesser recording quality for Slaughter Of The Soul. The demo version of “Unto Others” will also leave you wondering what happened in the transition of demo to their Earache Records debut album, as this version is so much tighter and harsher then the version that appears on the full length. The unreleased track “The Dying” is clearly a must have for the collector, as well as it is just a really good song and should have been placed on the album in the first place. The other three bonus tracks on this album are just cover songs, and only “Captor Of Sin”, originally by Slayer is impressive and sounds pretty good with the sound the band is able to create on the full length. So, really, that cover and the unreleased song are the only real reasons to upgrade from the original release, especially with MP3 stores being the in thing anymore.


So, this release features a few good bonus tracks, but you can easily track these down on an MP3 store lately. Back in the day it would have been worth the money to upgrade to this version, though, especially for the avid collector. Even though the album has many pitfalls, there are just too many classic songs on Slaughter Of The Soul to completely ignore this album. At The Gates started a monster with this release, and had they been given the time as a group to further the sound this release had spawned, it’s clear their next full length would have utterly decimated this release. But, as for this release, their final full length studio release, Slaughter The Soul is a great album that is still inspiring bands today, but it’s not quite that masterpiece that fans believe it to be due to the lack of complexity that could have been added, and the fact that “Unto Others” up to “The Flames Of The End” just come off as studio filler tracks.

Initial Pressing:
01. Blinded By Fear – 3:12
02. Slaughter Of The Soul – 3:02
03. Cold – 3:28
04. Under A Serpent Sun – 3:59
05. Into The Dead Sky (Instrumental) – 2:13
06. Suicide Nation – 3:36
07. World Of Lies – 3:35
08. Unto Others – 3:11
09. Nausea – 2:24
10. Need – 2:36
11. The Flames Of The End (Instrumental) – 2:57

2002 Reissue:
12. Legion (Slaughterlord Cover) (Bonus Track) – 3:54
13. The Dying (Unreleased Track) (Bonus Track) – 3:18
14. Captor Of Sin (Slayer Cover) (Bonus Track) – 3:19
15. Unto Others (Demo ’95) (Bonus Track) – 3:06
16. Suicide Nation (Demo ’95) (Bonus Track) – 3:22
17. Bister Verklighet (No Security Cover) (Bonus Track) – 1:56

Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

Initial Pressing Score: 7/10


Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.