79. At the Gates, 'Slaughter of the Soul' (1995)
The relentlessly prolific Swedish death-metal scene of the late Eighties and early Nineties revolved around dueling power centers. To the east sat sleek Stockholm, with its dirty, punk-informed take on the genre, as gurgled forth by Entombed and Dismember. To the west lay the bleaker port city Gothenburg, where abiding love of Iron Maiden and classic heavy metal spawned a melodic revolution in Satan worship spearheaded by Dissection, In Flames and At the Gates. Early releases by At the Gates were more expressive and drastic, but Slaughter of the Soul was a sinister precision attack, thriving on flawless melodic muscle: Frontman Tomas Lindberg's tortured howl soared over triumphant double-time riffs on surprisingly athletic songs like "Blinded by Fear," "Nausea" and "Cold." Unfortunately, the band split before its legacy could be fully reckoned. By the early 2000s, the reaping of Slaughter of the Soul's remains reached a fever pitch, as the album's sound was replicated on literally millions of albums sold by American metalcore bands, particularly As I Lay Dying. "At the Gates were a big influence on us," Lamb of God's Mark Morton told The Quietus. "They just had 'that' sound." I.C.