In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, like the sheep we are, we’re picking songs by the first bands we loved because a significant other loved them.
At The Gates, Slaughter Of The Soul (1995)
I haven’t had a lot of significant others. My first boyfriend was really into Dave Matthews Band and Austin Powers, so I didn’t take much from that romantic foray, musically speaking. My second “serious” boyfriend, Thom, was a bit of a contradiction though, in that he loved both light stuff, like Ida and K., and metal. (He even fronted a screaming fantasy metal act.) He died while we were dating, and it was horrible and tragic, so pretty much everything I remember about him has a big sentimental place in my heart. So, while there are videos of Thom being weird and fronting various bands online, and I can visit those or old photos whenever I want, when I want to musically reconnect with both him and that time in my life, I turn to At The Gates’ excellent Slaughter Of The Soul record. Reissued and remastered last year, the record became an instant classic around its 1995 release, and even now, it’s easy to tell why. Sure, it’s 34 brutal minutes of aural assault, but it’s also melodic and charming, almost heartwarming even. It’s hard for me to pick just one track off the record, so it’s so much of a piece, but the title track is especially endearing, what with Tomas Lindberg’s opening “GO!” That’s something Thom used to do all the time, both as part of his band’s shows and just in general as a joke, and gosh darn it, my heart swells a little bit every time I hear it, even now.