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Creepy melodic death metal. - 88%

Andromeda_Unchained, December 6th, 2011

At the Gates shouldn't need an introduction, pretty much any metal head knows this band and obviously a certain album they released in 1995. This here is the bands debut album, and arguably their finest. For my money I'd say The Red in the Sky is Ours is the bands finest, and here I'll explain why.

At first I actually dismissed this as budget Swedish death metal, but on further inspection I found this a lot more noteworthy than I had first imagined. For one this was 1992 and a lot of the Swedish death metal bands were just starting to find their feet and/or were crawling out of the woodwork. Whilst acts such as Necrophobic and Unanimated would come to do this style a lot better, for the time this was pretty damn cool and even original.

The inclusion of violins in places was a particularly interesting move, and really helped separate At the Gates from their peers. It also added a particularly creepy edge to the bands sprawling, twisting death metal. Their use of more melodic guitar harmonies worked particularly well too, and I'm sure acts as diverse as Edge of Sanity and Opeth would have took note, as well as some of the Swedish black metal acts.

Even the guitar riffs have a unique edge to them, and the album just generally boasts a cool obscure feel that was far away from what they would later become renowned for. Whilst the production is a little rough around the edges it adds more to the charm than anything, the guitar tone is punchy, and the drums sound natural, the bass sounds pretty good too. As for performances, I've mentioned the guitar work a couple of times, but its really well done. Anders and Alf definitely had something to say, and they said it in spades with their guitar work. Tomas Lindberg's vocals are also worthy of note, firmly routed in the Swedish school of shouting manical vocals as opposed to the US "cookie monster" style, Lindberg's vocals were exactly what the doctor ordered here.

Naming standouts isn't necessary, the album has a wonderful flow, as melodic as it is schizo, The Red in the Sky is Ours is a quality release and ultimately stands as At The Gates' finest. This is a mandatory addition to any Swedish death metal collection, and shows what the Gothenburg scene could have shaped up like given different circumstance.