1995, Music

Slaughter of the Soul (1995) by At the Gates

So I read that this is a great example of the Gothenburg style of melodic death metal. And that’s where we’re at in the metal world – albums getting massive critical acclaim because they are especially representative of a local scene of a metal subgenre. It’s possible that celebrating the “best” of a nice of a niche as “essential” or “classic” is a little much. But that’s metal for you, where even the slightest innovations are treated as hugely important.

What I hear is pretty good melodic death metal, often more on the death metal side than the melodic death metal side, which I don’t have a problem with. The music is fast, loud, and pummeling, the shouting/screaming is pretty metal, and there is some melody. And, yes, the guest solo on “Cold” is really great. I like it the album. And I appreciate that they occasionally add elements that stray from death metal conventions, whether it’s the noise that introduces some of the songs, or acoustic guitar.

But it’s just another melodic death metal album, as far as I can tell. A well-executed one, but still. Maybe I’m missing something, maybe I don’t actually know when melodic death metal began, but I thought it was earlier than this, like in the early ’90s. (I could be completely wrong about that frankly.)

So maybe I’m underrating. Perhaps a more historical perspective would rate this record higher. (I have just read that the Gothenburg scene was the early melodic death metal scene. But I can’t confirm because “early ’90s” albums referred to in the Wikipedia article came out in, um, 1995. Which was not the “early ’90s”. And I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to some melodic death metal from the early ’90s.) For me, right now, it’s a well made melodic death metal record that just isn’t early enough in the history of the genre for all the acclaim it gets.


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