At the Gates_slaughter-of-the-soulEvery once in a while the metal scene collectively heaps too much praise on a band or record and someone needs to step up and announce that the Emperor has no clothing. We normally don’t spend a lot of time attacking beloved records, but sometimes genuinely overrated records get far too much love from the metal sheeples and that calls for a professional contrarian to set things right! If ever there were professional contrarians, they would be us at AMG.

Here at AMG, we enjoy slaughtering metal’s sacred cows, and we get a perverse joy out of infuriating people. And as you might have guessed by the title of this article, you’re about to read something heretic to metal’s undisputed truths. Something so offensive, we’re better off posting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed instead. Here’s an Indefensible Position that I’m gonna defense the shit out of: I don’t think At The GatesSlaughter Of The Soul is that great. I know, I know…but hear me out.

First off, almost all of these songs sound exactly the same. The riffs, melodies, and chord progressions are all remarkably similar, as though they’re all variations on one or two ideas. The drumming is even more redundant, with the stock ATG “thrash beat over 3/4 waltz riff” thing coming up in damn near every song at least once. Tomas Lindberg’s vocal delivery is so non-stop “AAAAAH LOOK AT ME I’M SO ANGRY!” that it gets annoying pretty quickly. (In his defense, he did get better in his later bands.) Obviously, these are all elements of the band’s trademark sound, and I can’t fault them for using them gratuitously…but it gets real old, real fast.

At the Gates_1995While the riffs themselves are decent, there’s plenty of other elements that are distractingly buttheaded. The gun cocking at the beginning of “Suicide Nation”? Oooh, they’re going to shoot at something! How macho. The two seconds of classical guitar in “Unto Others”? Gimmicky beyond belief. And the keyboards on the last two tracks are so dated, they sound like…everything else from the mid-’90s that had cheap keyboards on it. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you these songs suck — they’re OK. I just don’t see how they’re even remotely in the same league as Piece of Mind or Reign in Blood.

Admittedly, my dislike of Slaughter is partially fueled by all the shitty bands that followed in its wake. My lasting memory of the early 2000’s is being tortured with slight variations on the “Blinded By Fear” riff, Gitmo-style, for about five years straight. Granted, it’s not ATG‘s fault that they were shamelessly ripped off by talentless fuckheads. But the world endured a lot of bullshit for at least half a decade as a direct result of Slaughter Of The Soul, and I can’t just let that slide.

As you can imagine, I’ve had various friends try to “fix” my opinion of this album over the years. One of them pointed out to me (correctly) that I missed out on the Gothenburg scene entirely, because I spent the ’90s holed up in a small town, listening to nothing but thrash metal. And supposedly, had I heard this album when it was first released, before all the imitators came along, I would have appreciated it more. Frankly, I don’t buy this argument. First of all, just ’cause your band is the first to do something, doesn’t necessarily make it good (see: Korn). And if I’d heard this record in 1995, I’d probably hate it even more because it didn’t sound like Testament [And for the sake of comparison, I didn’t miss the Gothenburg scene and did hear this when it first came out and STILL think it’s one of the most overrated albums ever.Steel Druhm].

At-The-GatesMy real issue is this: Slaughter is a creative dead-end, a logical conclusion. There’s nowhere else to take it to, no room for it to evolve. It’s metal music with all the interesting parts hacked off. Its enduring popularity suggests that mainstream headbangers only want music that’s good to lift weights or beat people up to, with subtlety and depth kept to a bare minimum. And unlike other oft-copied groups like In Flames or Carcass, bands that borrowed the ATG playbook found themselves at the exact same sound, or a pale imitation thereof. I can only wonder if ATG found themselves at a similar crossroads, and if that’s what led to their breakup.

Oddly, I’m not an At The Gates hater in general. I find their other albums to be decent, and I even enjoyed some of their other bands, such as The Crown and The Haunted. These guys have deep roots in the Scandinavian metal scene, and I feel bad that their legacy amounts to the musical equivalent of lobe stretchers. Apparently they don’t seem to mind much, since they’ve recently announced plans for a follow-up. I can hardly fucking wait.

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  • JWG

    Just reminded of the not-at-all-subtle wordplay of Necramyth’s “Slaughter of the Seoul”. If it weren’t for David Gold I’d have forgot that too…

  • Czeching You Out

    You know, this is something that’s been on my mind lately. I had a feeling that something might be wrong with this record when I realized I only listened to a handful of songs off of it. Records like this get labeled perfection (usually for good reason, but became extremely overrated), and anytime someone gets into the subgenre, people just point to it saying “Yea, this record is fantastic and beyond criticism”, and it becomes an indisputable fact of existence. Cows go moo, chickens go cluck, and Slaughter of the Soul is a perfect album. That was the case for me, at least.

  • Jordan Campbell

    Well, to be fair, “The Flames of the End” was slightly ahead of its time. They totally stole that for the snow level in GoldenEye.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      FUCKING GOLDENEYE!!! Dude, I couldn’t place what it reminded me of, but that’s totally it. I wish I could’ve put that in the article.

    • Holy shit! I must investigate!

    • sathriel

      Ah, Goldeneye, first kickass console FPS.

    • David Rosales

      Ahead of its time? a billion early Death Metal albums had interludes , intros and outros of that sort….

      • Jordan Campbell

        This came out in ’95, GoldenEye came out in ’97.

        • David Rosales

          I’m not talking about GoldenEye… I’m talking about whether this is actually musically “ahead of its time” in a general sense….

          • Jordan Campbell

            Cool, ’cause I was talking about GoldenEye.

      • marco o

        why on earth you’re unable to go beyond song structures and riff count and just focus on the impact of music?

  • Kalsten

    I have never get hooked to this album. I don’t know why, but besides Blinded by Fear and a instrumental song (there is a instrumental song in this album, right?) I have never came back to listen to it.

    It always sounded too… stereotypical to say.

  • Chris Yechout

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one who found this album to be overrated. I mean, I understand why people like it, but “perfect” is not a word I would use to describe this album. “Consistent” would probably be a more appropriate word, but I still call it beating a dead horse, pioneers or no.

    • Here’s Johnny

      if consistent means more kick ass riffs in one song than most bands have on whole albums, im fine with that. SOTS is awesome!

  • Selim Baradan

    I remember the day when Slaughter of the Soul was released just like yesterday (Even though it’s been nearly 20 years). In 1995, death metal was on a decline, thrash metal was totally lost, stoner genre was dormant and nu metal was in its early stages. Actually, there weren’t many quality stıuff around. Bands like Pantera, Fear Factory and Machine Head were saving the day for metal music. So, At the Gates’ Slaughter of Soul was a fresh air at that time. It was different from their previous releases but it kicked major ass. It was like “Reign in Blood” for me and my buddies; fast, ferocious but short in duration. Thus, it was my album of the year. But it didn’t become a hit and didn’t sell well.
    Apparently, many bands were influenced by it and it created horrible genres like metalcore and deathcore. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a great album. It may have some flaws but I think it’s unfair to criticize it, especially if you were not a metalhead in mid 90s.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      That’s like saying I’m not allowed to criticize Hitler, or slavery in the U.S., or Black Sabbath’s “Technical Ecstasy,” because I wasn’t born yet.

      • I was a metalhead from 1981 onward and I wasn’t blown away by SoTS. Good, angry album? Sure. Influential? Very. Overrated? You betcha!

        • marco o

          you’re american. you still listened to pantera at the time and thought they were cool… :P (i’m joking, of course!) (not about pantera, to be brutally honest)

      • Selim Baradan

        I beg to differ. Technical Ecstasy is obviously a medocre album but I don’t think I am eligible to “write a review” about it because I was 3 years old when it was released. :) .
        Anyway, I enjoyed reading your well written review. I just don’t agree with some of your opinions. Thanks for replying btw.

        • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

          Interesting mindset. I mean, people write articles literally ALL THE TIME about things that took place before their birth. That’s pretty much what college is.
          I may not have been alive in 1976, but I’ve been listening to metal for most of my life, and I feel more than qualified to have opinions. If people don’t like my opinions, that’s OK too!

        • David Rosales

          But if we compare it to the works being produced before and around their time, we can get a clear picture that is fair, IMO. We do not compare early Black Sabbath DIRECTLY to the technical achievement of Iron Maiden. But we may compare their own achievement in the context of what was before them, what ideas were floating around that time and what they built from it. Not only what they built from it but HOW it was built.

          Compare AtG in SotS to the the creative explosion that the early 90s were for Death and Black Metal. Compare in them in detail.
          Don’t tell me SotS is awesome because it has so much energy and the vocals are so cool. That really doesn’t mean much given that any metalhead thinks that about the metal they listen to.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Can everyone layoff Technical Ecstasy

    • BaboonKing

      “In 1995, death metal was on a decline, thrash metal was totally lost, stoner genre was dormant and nu metal was in its early stages. Actually, there weren’t many quality stıuff around.”

      Hmm… some killer albums that came out in 1995:

      Blind Guardian – Imaginations From the Other Side
      Virgin Steele – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Pt. II
      Gamma Ray – Land of the Free
      Iced Earth – Burnt Offerings
      Rage – Black in Mind

      Naturally, you may not care at all about any of those, and that’s fine (opinions being like assholes, and all of that) :). But since we are talking indefensible positions, I’ll say I never understood all the criticism against the 90s… sure, they weren’t the 80s, and the grunge debacle turned many classic bands on their heads, but on the whole, they still had an abundance of great albums and bands.

      • Slammin Rushdie

        I think he meant in terms of impact. Slaughter obviously has a bigger legacy than any of those.

        • How about Death’s Symbolic?

          • David Rosales

            No legacy at all.
            It is an album that regresses from simple, common Death Metal with weak vocals wanting to be progressive into a basic Speed Metal poorly ripping off Slayer-styled riffs.

          • Here’s Johnny

            excuse me? symbolic is a class album. death ripped off slayer? go troll somewhere else please!

          • David Rosales

            Ok. Tell me something about that album that was outstanding. Anything. Just one thing, and I will give you better examples on albums that came before it.
            And yes, the riffing is mostly typical South of Heaven -derived stuff.
            Listen, I like Symbolic too, probably my favorite Death album. But I do not fool myself about its non-classic status. It is a good album at best. Better than mediocre, but not great. Schuldiner just wasn’t that talented. Ambitious and driven, but not very talented.

          • Here’s Johnny

            i was going to respond until i read the last part. your def a troll alright.

          • David Rosales

            Right… I do not bow to whoever you are a fan of ergo I am a troll?

          • marco o

            no, mate… you’re a troll because you seem to enjoy being badass and writing unpopular bulls**t just for the sake of it.
            ATG mixed thrash metal riffing with death metal heaviness, added melody and a general, overwhelming sense of despair (emotions can mean absolutely nothing to you, but you’ll be quite surprised to discover that most people feel that weird stuff while listening to music) that noone (NO f* ONE) ever managed to put in a straight as fuck, 3 minutes, fast song template before them. and – i’d say – after them.
            Death’s Symbolic is not the most technical stuff ever written, nor the most powerful. but the whole was so good to define a style. most active technical death metal bands have been heavily influenced by Death and Symbolic, and – while you won’t find much of Schuldiner riffing in South of Heaven, certainly you will if you listen to basically EVERY technical or progressive death metal album.
            you remind me of a friend of mine who liked being over-critical just about everything to make people think he was an awesome musical expert. Emperor? too melodic. not even black metal. just like the Spice Girls with some distorted guitar. Cynic? guys who can’t really play jazz and so fill their technical gaps pretending they’e a death metal band. and so on. he liked just Venom, go figure…

          • David Rosales

            “you seem to enjoy being badass and writing unpopular bulls**t just for the sake of it. ”

            No, not at all. I just don’t have any trouble going against public opinion when I think it is right to do so. I am pretty sure you and I would agree on many other “classics”. It happens that we are discussing two which you adore and I think are overrated.

            “certainly you will if you listen to basically EVERY technical or progressive death metal album.”
            And again with the “influential”. Influential does not mean good. Most “technical” or pseudo-prog Death Metal is wanking with little musical purpose. See the band Obscura, for instance. Why do you care about copy cats? you know who else was influential? the first Reggaeton “rappers”. Look at ALL the influence they have over music. Yeah, I bet that means this is great music…

          • David Rosales

            “Cynic? guys who can’t really play jazz and so fill their technical gaps pretending they’e a death metal band.” -> I agree.

            I don’t think I am a musical expert. I just think it is right to be strict. I acknowledge my mistakes and I am convinced by other people’s arguments when they show me something. But the more clearly you see Death or SOTS, the more it crumbles down. The more people analyze it without alluding to imaginary “innovations”, the more it appears thin…

      • marco o

        well, Draconian Times came out in 1995 too. and is a great album. but i wouldn’t say that extreme metal was exactly in its best shape, in the mid 90s…

    • BilboBaggins

      Agree with everything you said. I worked at an indie music store in the early/mid 90’s and I remember playing SOTS a lot in the store. And every time a metal head came in they were blown away and it was an instant purchase. The “Reign in Blood” comparison is on point. That album more or less sounds the same throughout as well, but in both cases the riffs are catchy as hell, that’s what a lot of metal bands are missing these days and probably since then. Fucking hate monotonous boring riffs and it’s even worse if the guitar/bass/vocals are all doing the same melody. It’s why Slayer devolved. Thankfully my mind hasn’t been poisoned by whoever these bands were that spawned from At The Gates.

  • Arjan Zwamborn

    Now here’s an indefensible position: Korn is a good band. Suck on that ;)

    As for the indefensible position at hand: I really never got why ATG got praised as much as Dark Tranquillity and In Flames. Sure, all three were the first ones to do the Gothenborg sound. But compared to DT and IF (in the ’90s) ATG’s approach is quite boring really.

  • Markus Ihmor

    I actually like SOTS (and loved it back in the days) but I think its interesting to hear sound and reasonable arguments against it.

    So if you say they just took one basic idea and stretched into 10 (or so) songs – this actually applies to a lot of bands and albums that feature a certain style.

    Its actually a good album but it don’t get how people drool so much about it – but I also don’t get why The Number of the Beast is so highly acclaimed and Piece of Mind isn’t (as much).

    Btw: I like Korn, too! :-) And Slipknot! :-))

    • Here’s Johnny

      “I also don’t get why The Number of the Beast is so highly acclaimed and Piece of Mind isn’t (as much).

      Btw: I like Korn, too! :-) And Slipknot! :-))”

      hmmm ok!

  • David Rosales

    What’s missing here is the well-deserved praise of the EP and the first album. And the honorable mention of the second album which is light years above Slaughter of the Soul. But the first album is so original and non-conformist that it gets lost on the ears of the ignorant masses clamoring for Pantera beats and Iron Maiden harmonized simple melodies.

    • Selim Baradan

      Terminal Spirit Disease was a killer EP. It was like a warning for coming of the storm.

      • David Rosales

        I’m talking about Gardens of Grief.
        Terminal Spirit Disease was a mixed back of traces of their old sound and the impending mediocrity to come.

      • David Rosales


  • I think what makes Slaughter of the Soul such a good record — aside from the excellent writing, the enjoyable riffing, and the short-and-sweet presentation — is the fact that it spawned all sorts of miserable imitators. Truly inspirational and influential records do that.

    • Markus Ihmor

      Probably the genres of Metalcore and Deathcore owe their existance to a fair share to Slaughter…

    • David Rosales

      What are you talking about?
      Mediocre songwriting. If you disagree point out the excellent elements in it. Fisting did a good job at explaining you on layman terms what is bland about the songwriting in this album.
      Enjoyable riffing -> I’ll grant you some people can get off on some of this, on a riff-to-riff basis. But music is about the whole, not about “a riff”.
      The whole construction of each song is mediocre and each track has development problems. Most tracks have no development at all and others just drone into random riffs.

      • Jay Alan Goodwin

        Presumably only an outstanding musician can say they like the songwriting or riffs so I’m thinking I’m going to change my Facebook pic to me holding a banjo. Then I can redefine “good songwriting” as that which is technically satisfying to me personally.

        • David Rosales

          “Presumably only an outstanding musician ”
          Says who?

          So, if I am not an architect or a civil engineer I cannot criticize a house that appears poorly built to me? Say… the drainage system malfunctions, two doors cannot be opened ajar at the same time or the garage has a door leading into the bedroom?

          PS. Ad hominem attacks don’t really stand up.
          And I am not redifining good songwriting to what is technically satisfying to me. I actually redefined what was technically satisfying to me to what you would consider good songwriting by the standards of music academia (aka ‘classical’ tradition), to my best understanding — which is subject to discussion.

          • Jay Alan Goodwin

            Here’s some ad hominem that should stand up: your reading comprehension really sucks if you think that my statement that “…only an outstanding musician can say they like the songwriting or riffs…” was sincere.

            Let me be sincere since you seem confused. You are crapping up this thread with your ideas that indicate “good songwriting is that which you find technically satisfying.” Here’s an example from your first post: “What are you talking about?Mediocre songwriting. If you disagree point out the excellent elements in it.” Here you’re itching for a big debate with AMG (who apparently isn’t taking any of your bait and could not care less about arguing opinions) over something subjective.

            Let me put this simply: music is art not science. People perceive it individually and there’s no standards or rules where some asshole can just definitively say that someone’s songwriting is better or worse (get this part) OUTSIDE OF HIS OR HER OWN OPINION.

            PS: those who use tired words like “ad hominem” are generally the types who just live for internet arguments. Getting picked on doesn’t invalidate an all-important internet argument no matter how thin your skin may be

          • David Rosales

            For someone trying to lecture me about the proper way to approach this, you sure use a lot of insults. I’m not sure you even take your own advice.
            I’m not really trying to bait AMG, I’m asking him to point out specific good points in the songwriting of this album since he keeps claiming it without backing it up at all.
            I agree with Mr. Fisting about the shortcomings of this album. Why should I repeat them again and again? I shortened it to “lack of development” and “wandering off” in the songs. Instead of discussing that, you just close your eyes and say “lalalala you dont know anything about music”. Very mature…

            “music is art not science”. True. But if we are going to have a page doing reviews and doing critic, there should be some kind of chosen standard. and if that is “whatever sounds pretty or ‘cool'”, then I think this is failing at doing any effective criticism at all.

          • Jay Alan Goodwin

            So “whatever sounds pretty or cool” can’t be a “valid” measure by which a critic can determine what he/she feels is “good songwriting? Maybe someone likes “simple,” “lacking conventional structure,” or “droning random riffs” may be exactly what the artist wanted to convey and exactly what the intended audience wants to hear.

            …all subjective, not objective. Don’t lecture me about lectures because your comments here are themselves lectures in search of counter-lectures. My initial sarcasm aside, I thought I was giving you the debate you were after.

            There is no “chosen standard,” David. Criticism can be based on anything including “it sounds pretty cool” or “It’s technically brilliant but too formulaic or clinical and doesn’t move me.” A review is always op-ed. I disagree with the opinions expressed in reviews as much as anyone else but calling people out on opinions and individual perception of art is pointless at best and obnoxious at worst.

          • David Rosales

            I agree to some extent.
            How art is perceived is definitely entirely subjective. And yes ANYTHING can be chosen as a standard. But the more subjective (less understandable by others, and more based on a personal feeling) the less of an effective standard it is. So when I say “this sounds cool ergo it is good”, then we enter the level of “what is cool?”. Does this communicate anything besides “the writer likes this, because… he likes it”.

            >”calling people out on opinions and individual perception of art is pointless at best and obnoxious at worst.”

            I think it depends what you call them out on specifically. For example, if you say you LIKE Slaughter of the Soul, well, then, fine, enjoy it! If you tell me you think it is good in the context of making you feel a certain way, then fine, it is good at making you feel that way.
            But if you say “excellent writing” like that, you better give a reason for such a universal statement.
            Also, let’s not have a double standard:
            Remember that AMG also criticized (and he did use this word) the songwriting of Periphery II very heavily. Using this as the main foundation for his article. And actually, it was AMG who first brought this issue to my attention, of looking at songwriting (in different ways) with a more critical eye.

          • marco o

            let’s bring back this discussion down to earth. your point, mr rosales, is plain wrong. there’s absolutely nothing wrong, albeit it can obviously fail to meet your musical demands, in songs built on a quite basic structure of verse, chorus and bridge. not when the average song duration is more or less 3 minutes, and not when the riffs are so memorable and effective that more or less EVERY melodic death metal band kept writing stuff based on that very riffing for the subsequent 20 years.
            yours is an opinion. a fact is that the album became – unquestionably – a classic. good music can’t be defined by numbers, and no, teenagers don’t rule the show business. but talented ones definitely do.

          • David Rosales

            PS, the simple structure of the songs in SOTS is not what bothers me about it. I am an ardent fan of pre-1985 Iron Maiden.

          • David Rosales

            apparently my answer to your slandering of JS Bach was not “approved”

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    ha I love it … Stomp 442 good … SOTS bad ….careful people they’re messing with us

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      They’re both bad. My colleague Steel Druhm was the guy defending Stomp 442.

  • NorseGodOfAmputees

    I always thought The Red Sky Is Ours was the go to At The Gates album

  • SeventhSonOfA

    Clickbait followed by a weak attempt at an “edgy” contrarian opinion. 2/10 would not bang.

    • Unfair. This website has never done clickbait and FtAG genuinely dislikes it.

    • Grymm

      No, clickbait would involve a headline describing why SotS sucks, a clickable link going to the story, and not having the story.

      FtAG summed it up in his own words nicely.

      • Also, clickbait works better with a tangible reward I believe, like drown in money from ads plastered all over the landing page.

  • Piet

    This is what we in the Netherlands call “ant fucking”. Bashing something based on tiny details, especially that fourth paragraph (with the gun cocks, keys etc.)

    • Slammin Rushdie

      The drumming (and vocals) being the exact same for basically the whole album isn’t really a “tiny detail”.

      • Piet

        The first thing I think about here is Motorhead. Now that’s a band that sounds exactly the same album after album.
        But I get your point. I just find the things he said about the gun cock and acoustic guitar a very weak argument. The rest of the article has some good points though and it was an interesting read.

      • marco o

        You didn’t like very much Transylvanian Hunger either, did you? :)

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      I want to start a band called “Ant Fucker.” Dutch people are awesome.

  • Chris Grigg

    Don’t think it’s at all accurate to describe The Crown as being one of “their other bands” considering Lindberg’s brief and limited involvement.

    • Jordan Campbell

      That involvement was crucial to Crowned in Terror’s success, though. Don’t get me wrong, Lindstrand is a killer, but the original version of that record absolutely DESTROYS Crowned Unholy.

      • Chris Grigg

        It definitely helped get the band and the album more attention. I think I’m the only person alive who prefers the Crowned Unholy in some ways.

  • replica

    I always held this album in high regard, but I’m now realizing I never really finish it all the way through. I remember enjoying it, but a few songs in, I change to something else. I never stopped to question the “fact” that it’s a “classic.”

  • funeraldoombuggy

    So you don’t like this record because it’s not “arty” enough is what I read into this.

    • Yeah, it seems to be “too metal” for him.

      • funeraldoombuggy

        I enjoy reading negative reviews of albums I like so thank you for posting on AMG! I just thought every point made against SotS was actually a positive point for me.

        • Ar318307

          So you’re a fan of the gun cocking then.

          • funeraldoombuggy

            I’m not especially into gun noises or anything but I feel the gun cocking totally works in context.

  • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

    In other words: Fisting Andrew Golota is the Rosa Parks of metal.

  • I had quite a lengthy reply yesterday but my laptop decided to take a dump (memory dump, heh) and I lost my will to write it all over again.

    In a nutshell I remember writing about me losing all the Melodeath/gothenburg craze, the late 90’s until the mid 00’s were the time I was all burnt out of metal. Basically I had to backtrack my way from stuff like Arch Enemy and Suidakra until I got to early In Flames, DT and of course, ATG. Of all that melodeath stuff Slaughter of the Soul is probably the only one that has kept a regular spot on my listening habits. The only other one is Carcass’ Heartwork, and that one is fairly recent with the launch of the full dynamic range edition.

    Oh and I still think that the first two KoRn albums are a great listen. Those never found a way to the Shame Box™.

    • Son, go put those KoRn albums in your Shame Box right now!

      • It’s getting crowded with mudvayne, chevelle, papa roach, static x and disturbed in there.

        • Oh and the first *TWO* albums from Soulfly too. Yep, not only I bought the first one, I was hopeful enough on Cavalera to buy the second as well. You can go ahead and begin the flogging now.

          • If there was a way to administer painful electric shocks over the net for poor music choices, I’d be wearing that button out right now.

  • I think it’s overrated, sure. But your “opening argument” is just brutal, man. It’s like listening to someone who doesn’t like metal tell you why they don’t like metal – “Every song sounds the same! The singer sounds so angry! The guitars riffs are too similar! I dono I just like country better!” The record is def overrated but don’t stoop to country bro’s level to communicate your feelings!

  • Luke_22

    I admire the balls to slam such an influential album and full credit to your argument. However, i disagree wholeheartedly. The sheer passion, energy and an abundance of killer riffs keeps this baby raging, not to mention the tightness of the execution and the consistently speedy, catchy nature of the music. What it lacks in variety it makes up for in all other areas.

    • David Rosales

      If passion and energy were enough to make anything good, then teenagers would rule the world of art. As it happens, they don’t.

      • Luke_22

        I’m not suggesting these are uncommon traits, but you can certainly hear in the finished product that the band were in the zone and enjoying themselves a great deal. That counts for a lot in skilled hands. But of course it’s in the songwriting and execution department that SOTS truly excels.

        • David Rosales

          The songwriting is poor. A barren wasteland if there ever was a better metaphor for the creativity in this album… Listen closely, listen to more music and you’ll realize it. I promise!

          • Luke_22

            To each their own. We’ll agree to disagree. And for the record i listen to a wide variety of metal and music in general and I stand by this album all the way.

          • David Rosales

            “To each their own” if we were talking about “do you like it or not”. But creativity applied ambitiously yet correctly: controlled variation -> connecting sections while deviating them from an original idea with sense, is something that we can discuss without having to refer to whether we like this or not.
            All the songs here have the same tempi, almost always same signature, a very limited set of rhythmic patterns, the flattest vocals they ever had (in terms of the different pitches, growl and screeching sounds the singer does), and just a simple verse-chorus structure with no build up to anything. FLAT. Uneventful. The only track that comes close to having a decent development is Under a Serpent Sun.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            True but people could well make the same comment about Reign In Blood, and to a degree they’d be right but they’d also be massively missing the point of the record. Theres a lot of really clever subtlety concealed within these tunes but it’s the albums ferocious singularity that makes it such an excellent record. These guys really nailed a tone and delivery and then took it as far as they possibly could, theres nothing left in the tank at the end of this record.
            I can totally get why people wouldn’t like this record (I don’t a lot of the time) but critically, Its an artistic triumph. To make a record that grabs like SOTS does, is something only really rare bands like The Ramones or Slayer achieve.
            If it was truly overrated we wouldn’t be commenting or bothering 15 years later. eg and Ill go out on a limb here, I dont think we’ll be having this discussion about Ghost BC in 15 years time.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            or deafheaven …

          • David Rosales

            That makes sense. But the fact that something is really popular or many people continue to like many years later it is not a testament to its quality. It only means it is particularly appealing to certain niche. TRITSIO was a great artistic achievement. SOTS was not. But it went great with the masses. Simple to understand and easy to imitate. This last thing doesn’t make it BAD, but that is the reason why so many people that are into the superficial side of Metal like it.
            AMG is very guilty of this himself. He thinks it’s only about cool riffs and good hooks in a song that more or less flows that makes him feel ‘entertained’. I say there are more, deeper layers to it. That is what I try to figure out, even if I cannot see everything clearly. That’s why I listened to Colored Sands about 30 times in its entirety (no kidding, not exaggerating) before deciding I thought it was poor music. I’ve listened to SOTS less than that, but then again, it is much less complicated music…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Leaving aside the music, the art work for this album is in my opinion (and Im right) shit. Which if thought about is pretty rare for a genre defining or super influential album Im trying to think of a milestone type release that wasn’t the full package…and I cant

  • Eryops

    I bought Slaughter of the Soul a few years back, and while there were two or three songs I liked, I never really got into it. It sits in my CD collection and I can pull it out as a “pioneer of melodic death metal” although those words have always rung a little hollow in my mind. It seems that consensus over the years has painted SotS in brighter shades than it probably deserves.

    If I were to rate it today, it would probably get a 5 or 6/10. I wouldn’t be annoyed if someone played it in a car, but when most of the songs come up on shuffle on my iPod, I find myself hitting skip more often than not.

  • Sordid Bass

    I’ve never heard this record, but Fisting Andrew Guy has convinced me to not even bother…

  • Bloated Goat

    As much as i’ve always loved melodic death metal, i have never understood the love for this album. Fucking hate that farty guitar tone, too.

  • Here’s Johnny

    this is one of the poorest reviews ive seen on here yet. you would think it was written by a YouTube comments troll who’s not into metal.

    loved this since the day it was released and still listen to it. it has everything you’d ever want in a kick ass metal album. like all classic and influential albums, it could be released tomorrow and not sound out of place at all.

    if this album doesn’t have subtlety then what is “into the dead sky”?

    the gun cocking is as cool now as it was then at the start of suicide nation. remember dimmu borgir with guns in pics back then? it was definitely something new.

    ‘world of lies’ is just skull crushingly amazing. the album is chock full of brilliant songs that i know the lyrics and riffs off by heart.

    that pile driving riff in “nausea” after the verses will break your balls.

    i have never understood people who slag this album off or don’t get it. they are entitled to their opinion but are missing out massively. it’s not not really a headphone album, get the huge speakers out and blast the fucker the way its meant to be heard.

    truly amazing album and in my top twenty of best metal albums ever!

  • Forest Father

    This album is stupidely formulaic. The songs are almost identical within each other; only the first 2 songs are kinda distinguishable since they serve as frame for the rest to come. The second half of the album is totally forgettable as well and the soloing is mediocre. Fuck this album!

    (and people saying death metal was dying at the time is totally clueless, pop metal was dying and ATG (with the help of Carcass and Archenemy) put the new sugary version of metal available for all kids and pop/rock casual listeners.