At the Gates

Terminal Spirit Disease

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

With their third album, 1994's highly accomplished Terminal Spirit Disease, Sweden's At the Gates raised their creative stakes beyond most everyone's original expectations, and proved that what had once been a pretty standard and uninventive death metal combo was slowly becoming a true contender in the scene. Right from the get-go, highlights like "The Swarm," "Forever Blind," and the title track venture into melodic territory like never before. Yet they never waver from the band's predetermined path of virulent aggression, and, best of all, keep it all short and sweet for maximum effect. And with extreme (or nonextreme, as it were) experiments like the all-acoustic and cello-laced "And the World Returned," At the Gates showed a willingness to diversify that would soon prove their mettle. What ultimately knocks a few points off Terminal Spirit Disease's total score is its short running time. At a paltry six new songs and three live recordings of older material, it feels more like an EP than a real album at times. But for anyone who was really paying attention, it obvious that At the Gates were on the cusp of something great, maybe even important in the realm of death/thrash metal. And sure enough, this threat soon became reality thanks to their timeless follow-up, Slaughter of the Soul.

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