OK, time for an uncomfortable confession.
In Flames, At the Gates and Dark Tranquility were, for a long time, three bands that I had heard about endlessly but had never checked out until recently--they were always on the back burner for me, bands that I would listen to at some point. I had always thought "I should really check out The Jester Race," but then there was other stuff to listen to and I sort of just forgot about them. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I had gone quite a long time without ever paying any attention to the Gothenburg scene. I've been listening to metal for most of my life now, but they had always just been under my radar for some reason. I wasn't afraid of the idea of melodic death metal--Heartwork is one of my favorite albums, and I loved Kreator's Violent Revolution-era material, which, although it's still technically thrash metal, I have read took a lot of inspiration from the Gothenburg scene.
So, finally, I checked out The Red in the Sky is Ours, Terminal Spirit Disease, Slaughter of the Soul, Lunar Strain, The Jester Race, Come Clarity, The Gallery and The Mind's I. I picked these albums because I had heard them mentioned the most often, and I have to say (with some discomfort and shame) that all of the At the Gates albums bored me, as did Come Clarity. I thought the Dark Tranquility stuff was really great, and I'll definitely buy the rest of their albums, but At the Gates lost me--I never really felt like there was anything interesting in their songs while I was listening to them, like every idea went by too quickly and when they found something good, they failed to develop it adequately. It felt distracted and, despite the description, patently amelodic. Granted, I don't come into a death metal album expecting melodicism, but at the very least I expect some sort of direction. I really wanted to like them, too, because there was definitely something really heavy about their music's atmosphere--Tomas Lindberg's vocals were pretty cool, and the production was decently heavy--but, I don't know, they just bored me. Maybe their stuff takes more than one listen. Terminal Spirit Disease was alright--there were definitely some very cool moments, but nothing on that album really stuck out to me. On to In Flames: Lunar Strain was awesome--the riffs were great and the songs moved along and were very listenable, but I felt that, unlike At the Gates, maybe they labored over their ideas too much, if that makes any sense. Overall, though, the album had excellent songs, decent production and a good feel in general. The Jester Race happened to be pretty good, but without the same degree of heaviness that I thought Lunar Strain had. It still had solid riffs and a good compositional sense, and it was definitely something I'd listen to again. Overall, In Flames impressed me, so, I'll probably buy the rest of their albums at some point, but...I just didn't "get" Come Clarity. It felt watered down and anemic, sort of uninspired and poppy in the way that a lot of metalcore feels uninspired and poppy.
So, basically what I mean to say is that I don't get the hype surrounding the Gothenburg scene, especially when it comes to At the Gates. I don't know why I should feel so ashamed of this--it's just that after all these years, they didn't live up to my expectations. I suppose that, going into it, I expected more Heartwork-esque material, and that's not what I feel like I got. Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way.
I think most people on here will agree with you, though a bunch of us (myself included) still dug Come Clarity.