At The Gates includes: Tomas Lindberg (vocals); Anders Bjorier, Martin Larsson (guitar); Jonas Bjorier (bass); Adrian Erlandsson (drums).
While "Blinded by Fear" begins Slaughter of the Soul with a screwy and interesting semi-industrial percussion loop, about 40 seconds in it becomes all light-speed crunch, riffs, and snarls, so those who never liked thrash in the first place aren't going to be convinced by the goings-on here. But for those for whom such stuff is like oxygen? It depends. Singer Tomas Lindberg actually steers away from the typical Cookie Monster growl in favor of a higher but equally strangled register, while his lyrics avoid bad fantasy poesy, at least for the most part, in favor of more existential crises. If nothing else, he has a good line in influences, with quotes from everyone from William Burroughs to the 13th Floor Elevators. As for his bandmates, nothing here sounds too different from what those who worshipped at the wells of Kill 'Em All and Reign in Blood would have created, but what they do they do quite well. The arrangements are tight and performances strong (guitarists Anders Bjorler and Martin Larsson clearly have practiced their riff action many a time), and the occasional extra touch like acoustic guitar or notable space in the production, holding back at points rather than just grinding things into the ground, never hurts. "Cold" is a good example of this, with a soft electric guitar break about two minutes in, while the instrumental "Into the Dead Sky" consists of nothing but similarly calm guitar and whooshing background noises. Sometimes the contrast can be a bit odd -- hearing Lindberg's howls against nothing but brief flamenco runs in "Unto Others" isn't the most typical of combinations! While Slaughter may not be the best album of its kind, it's definitely better than most, with its own character. ~ Ned Raggett
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.51) - "SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL was a rare example of a band's final record not only being their definitive work, but also the benchmark for an entire genre."
NME (Magazine) (10/28/95, p.56) - 7 (out of 10) - "...They actually play conventional, melodic hard rock; it's just very very f---ing hard. The guitars on the title track sound like Brian May revved up to the max....this is metal's answer to Hi NRG..."