At the Gates: Terminal Spirit Disease (2001 Digipack Reissue)

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At the Gates: Terminal Spirit Disease (2001 Digipack Reissue)
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At the Gates: Terminal Spirit Disease (2001 Digipack Reissue)
Melodic Death Metal
Peaceville Records
July 18th, 1994
Release length: 34:51
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Terminal Spirit Disease by At The Gates is really a six song studio effort with three live tracks included. This, apparently, was enough for this album to classified as a full length effort instead of just an EP, even though EP releases, even when this one was recorded had up to six, even seven songs studio tracks. But either way, it was released as a full length album, and reissued the same way in 2001, but with the inclusion of three more live tracks from an MTV performance At The Gates had done within that time period. While many will hold Slaughter Of The Soul as the band’s best effort, this “full length” release features the blueprint to that album, and could have been better then that release.

Now, yes, the term “could have been” was used in that sentence because there are some issues with this one. Some of the music on this release just feels somewhat repetative. “The Swarm” and the title track “Terminal Spirit Disease” seem to follow a pattern and sound rather similar that also shows up in “The Beautiful Wound”, even though they will both make you want to get up and mosh. On repeat listens, they will become a little tiring. Aside that, you also have the bass kicks that are very muffled, and a bass track that pretty much serves no real purpose and, unless cranked, isn’t really even that audible in the mix. The instrumental track, “And The World Returned” is really where things start to pick up. This acoustic instrumental is very well done, and carries over the sound from that track into the next song, “Forever Blind”, which really is just an astounding track with some great melodic aspects in the start, as well as in the bridges, and a random off sounding solo thrown in for good measure. “The Fevered Circle” is a stunning, more doom oriented track, reminiscent of the older At The Gates material, and simply sounds beautiful.


There really isn’t much to say about the live tracks included in this version. The original three tracks that were included with the original pressing of the album sound great and are taken from their first two releases. The only problem is that by “Kingdom Gone” the vocalist starts to get tired and you can really hear him straining to continue, which just sounds awful. The quality of the three bonus live tracks to this edition don’t sound anywhere near as good as the other three. They sound very amateurishly recorded, being recorded raw by some means against the speakers, instead of through the soundboard itself. These tracks just sound absolutely awful, the drumming is a little hard to hear, especially while the vocalist, who sounds absolutely terrible on these recordings, is screaming, and it sounds like the guitars will even screw up sometimes mid song, the most noticable moment being roughly three fourths of the way through “Windows”. These latter three live tracks are nice to hear just to hear them once.


So if you already own Terminal Spirit Disease, just hold onto your copy. The bonus material found on this release is utter nonsense. The original material of this release is what is important, even the three live tracks included on the original cut, save for “Kingdom Gone” when the vocalist starts to tire, but that is expected at any show, really. This release is still amazing, and thanks to the first two tracks, people who obtained the album when it came out had a taste of what would become one of the most contested influential metal albums of all time, Slaughter Of The Soul. If the recording issues on the studio tracks weren’t so bad, and the music on the first two tracks had a little more complexity outside of speed and repetition, then this EP would have been an amazing release that could have trumped their final “masterpiece”.

Initial Pressing:
01. The Swarm – 3:28
02. Terminal Spirit Disease – 3:39
03. And The World Returned – 3:06
04. Forever Blind – 3:59
05. The Fevered Circle – 4:11
06. The Beautiful Wound – 3:53
07. All Life Ends (Live) – 5:17
08. The Burning Darkness (Live) – 2:16
09. Kingdom Gone (Live) – 5:02

2001 Reissue:
10. Windows (Live) (Bonus Track) – 3:55
11. The Red In The Sky Is Ours/The Season To Come (Live) (Bonus Track) – 3:12
12. The Burning Darkness (Live) – 2:23

Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10

Initial Pressing Score: 6/10



Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.