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Review of the Album "Terminal Spirit Disease" by Sweden’s At the Gates

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Terminal Spirit Disease is Still an Elite Work in the History of Melodic Death Metal Music

Terminal Spirit Disease was released back in 1994 by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates and even though it is only about 35 minutes long, it is considered one of the classic albums of the melodic death metal genre. The style of this album is no doubt similar to Sweden’s other major melodic death metal band In Flames. With the way that the album starts with violin accompanying the guitars, some of you might roll your eyes in disbelief but do not be worried for this is one of the best albums in death metal history that is under 40 minutes. This 3rd studio album by At the Gates has three LIVE versions of songs on their earlier albums. Yes, At the Gates has been around for longer than some of us have been alive on Earth. The band’s original plan was to record a mini-album of new material but their label insisted that they record a full length album. In order to compromise, the band added a few more tracks to sort of “pad” the length of the album but that made it barely long enough for a full length album.

This Album Defines the Melodic Death Metal Style of the 1990s

The album has those really fast drums that were famous with the melodic death metal genre back in the day. There are also harmonies in this album as well so it is just not all about speed. Creativity is the name of the game when it comes to Swedish melodic death metal. Sweden is synonymous with melodic death metal as The Netherlands is with making very fine cheese. Sure, these are two completely different categories but you get the drift here. Sometimes, shorter metal albums become elite, amazing, or groundbreaking. Doing the vocals is Tomas Lindberg who also has provided lead vocals in the past for bands such as Nightrage and Lock Up. But being from Sweden, Tomas belongs with At the Gates also especially since his vocal style fits this type of death metal. At the Gates has not lost their creativity as you will see soon with the instrumental song called “And the World Returned.” What you will hear in this song is just over three minutes of acoustic guitar brilliance. It is like Swedes are born, come into this world having that creative musical talent and ability to create works of art but in a musical sense. That’s what you hear in this third song which is really similar to songs that we would hear on albums such as Lunar Strain. Songs such as “Forever Blind” have a section that we would hear in Arch Enemy songs in 1995 and later.

"And the World Returned"

In Spite of Its Length Terminal Spirit Disease is a Very Good Album

Terminal Spirit Disease is certainly one of those albums that is elite in the musical category but as far as it being groundbreaking, we won’t got that far. We can consider this 3rd At the Gates album always elite even over 27 years later. These guys certainly had the talent, drive, and ambition to initially make a full length album instead of deciding initially to make just a mini-album. Maybe they just wanted to rush to release as much new material as they could but regardless of what they did on this album it is a formula that worked out just fine.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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