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At The Gates - Terminal Spirit Disease review

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Band: At The Gates
Album: Terminal Spirit Disease
Release date: July 1994

01. The Swarm
02. Terminal Spirit Disease
03. And The World Returned
04. Forever Blind
05. The Fevered Circle
06. The Beautiful Wound
07. All Life Ends [live]
08. The Burning Darkness [live]
09. Kingdom Gone [live]
10. Windows [live] [2003 reissue bonus]
11. The Red In The Sky Is Ours/The Season To Come [live] [2003 reissue bonus]
12. The Burning Darkness [live] [2003 reissue bonus]

This album... This album was THE thing that (along with Carcass' "Heartwork") defined melodic death metal. It marks a significant change in this previously recognized but ordinary death metal band with an occasional melodical throw-in. The songwriting improved by leaps and bounds (mainly thanks to the Bjorler brothers) and, although it has only 6 original tracks and an additional 6 live tracks (and therefore feels a bit like an EP), they are as worthy as any entire album that is considered a milestone in the history of metal. Why?

After the first 60 seconds of playing this CD, you will find out why. "The Swarm" starts with sounds of a stormy night at sea engulfing you in this album's unique atmosphere at the very beginning, with sounds of viola being more and more replaced by the sounds of guitar and right after you think "what a great album" the real assault starts. However, the chorus adds what is really new in the sound of At The Gates on this album - well-integrated melody. No other band (not even Carcass) succeeded in adding such melodic passages into their music without losing the aggressive edge. And that is exactly what makes it so interesting to listen to, time after time. Right after "The Swarm" ends, the even better "Terminal Spirit Disease" starts off, with its odd fluctuation between standard 4/4 and 6/8 time signatures, creating the most memorable track of ATG ever. It was a reasonable thing to put an instrumental after these two: for the listener to calm down a bit. Not long after the album continues in much the same manner, with extremely interesting riffs that keep you listening with 100% attention to the end. As for the live tracks, they are a representation of At The Gates' previous work, which is not really up to the standards set by the original tracks. The band's performance is OK but the sound is a bit muddy and unsuitable for a band with songs of this complexity. But the live tracks aren't the point here anyway.

Needless to say, this is truly a great album by all standards. It has aggressiveness, it has melody, it has technicality, it has memorability. No one expects less of ATG, right? Anyway, one should really buy this album, whether he is familiar with At The Gates or not. It is as well a fine preparation for the infamous "Slaughter Of The Soul," ATG's finest moment and, sadly, final effort. If someone asked me what the best album of ATG is, I'd say "Slaughter OF The Soul." If someone asked me what ATG really is, I'd play him "Terminal Spirit Disease."

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 9

Written by gojko88 | 03.03.2007

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 8   Visited by: 133 users
04.03.2007 - 15:05
Rating: 8
Angel of Lust
Very good album, not a masterpiece (as "Slaughter Of The Soul"...) but interesting anyway... Their second best album IMO

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,
and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
18.07.2007 - 03:20
Sonic Titan
Account deleted
i like this one alot it kinda sounds half assed at some points but others it feels way more heart felt than slaughter of the soul ever was
15.03.2009 - 19:40

"If someone asked me what the best album of ATG is, I'd say "Slaughter OF The Soul." If someone asked me what ATG really is, I'd play him "Terminal Spirit Disease.""
Fuckin true man
great review!
07.05.2009 - 09:19
Rating: 9
Thrasher Hungary

22.09.2009 - 02:30
Rating: 8

I love the instrumental "And the World Returned", it's beautiful. Oh ye the rest of the album rocks too, I actually like it better than SotS.
11.07.2010 - 22:14
Rating: 10

Yea this is my favourite album by them to be honest.
25.07.2010 - 15:02
Rating: 9

Great album, good review.
27.07.2022 - 19:40
Rating: 9

Absolute gem!

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