At The Gates - <em>Slaughter of the Soul</em> CD/DVD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Friday, December 29, 2006

At The Gates - Slaughter of the Soul CD/DVD Review

Earache has done a really nice job with some of its recent reissues. The inclusion of six bonus tracks along with a bonus DVD with the recent reissue of Slaughter of the Soul should make fans seriously consider picking up a second copy of this release. (As this release is routinely included in "Best Metal Album/CD" polls year after year, I am assuming most people reading this already have a copy).

For those who aren't familiar with At The Gates, Slaughter of the Soul was originally released 11 years ago and the band broke up in 1996 (after two US tours in support of this CD). This CD is a rarity as it is one of those few CDs that define a musical genre and serve as a blueprint for bands that follow. Slaughter of the Soul set the standard for melodic death metal and its influence can be heard in a number of current bands today (most notably Shadows Fall).

There isn't a bad track on this CD and the music has aged well over the years. The first track, Blinded By Fear, was a MTV Headbanger's Ball staple (and the video is included on the bonus DVD) and starts the disc off with pounding intensity. The band never loses its heaviness as the songs range from brutal onslaughts to beautiful instrumentals. The final track The Flames of the End is an instrumental that would fit well as the soundtrack to a horror film. (This track was originally written by Anders for one of his low-budget horror movies). The bonus tracks are also a real treat. They include the two track demo from 1995 (Onto Others and Suicide Nation) which got the band its contract with Earache along with covers by No Security, Slayer and Slaughterlord.

I have never been a fan of "The Making of the Record" documentaries as I immediately associate them with poorly made VH1 Behind the Music specials. This DVD was surprisingly good. It features Tomas Lindberd, producer Fredrik Nordstrom and a very quiet Martin Larsson (who gets very animated when talking about just how bad Anders' homemade horror films were). The documentary adds a lot of insight on how the record was made (on a shoe-string budget) and why the band broke up after its recording. The new liner notes in the CD booklet also add to the understanding of where Tomas and the band were at this point in their lives and career.

Rating: 10/10

I have seen a lot of questions on the 'net about new At the Gates material and the persistent reunion rumors:

  • Anders has put up at At the Gates website and MySpace page which has some interesting info about the band and its past history. While neither of these sites discuss reunion rumors or what the band members are currently doing, there are some pretty cool YouTube clips from the band's final tour posted on the MySpace page.
  • Peter (vocalist from the Haunted) and others have hinted about an At the Gates reunion (see text from an interview he gave last year). These rumors have been denied by other band members.
  • Adrian posted a three track demo from Terror, a side project he worked on with Anders and Jonas prior to the recording of Slaughter of the Soul