The initial idea behind this feature was to carry out a retrospective on the 20th anniversary of 2 undisputed classics; Down’s NOLA and Fear Factory’s Demanufacture. However, after a little digging around, it became more than obvious that despite the world being in thrall to anything deemed even remotely alternative, 1995 was one hell of a stellar year for metal releases.
Despite the fact that many of the so called ‘big hitters’ were having trouble (Metallica, Megadeth etc, we’re looking at you), metal and rock was actually in very rude health. Sub genre’s were being moulded and re-moulded into different shapes, new(ish) bands were breaking boundaries with alarming frequency and many well established bands were admirably navigating their way around changes in trends.
1995 may be remembered for the alt-rock craze that continued to capture the world’s attention but these 20 year old metal classics prove that the spirit of metal (even if it had retreated semi-underground) was as strong as ever!
At The Gates – Slaughter Of The Soul
At The Gates, the kings of underground European metal, kickstarted a revolution in the 90’s and their piece de resistance was Slaughter Of The Soul; a genre defining marriage of pulverising rhythms, sickle-sharp riffs and throat-thrashing vocals.
Intense, incendiary and stuffed to the the gills with irresistible and memorable twin-guitar led cult classics, the likes of “Blinded By Fear”, the title track and “Under A Serpent Sun” are a ‘Gothenburg sound’ manifesto; insanely fast, shockingly vicious and yet laced with enough fiendish melody to soften the uncompromising blow generally associated with death metal.
While their style of music may have become played to death over the years – bleeding into and highly influencing the Metalcore movement that held a strong grip over much of the 00’s – At The Gates, and particularly Slaughter Of The Soul, must be remembered for its seismic impact on a scene left shattered by the grunge/alt rock scene.
Extreme metal still owes this brave record a huge debt. Saviours.