They emerged from one of the picturesque suburbs of Gothenburg; At The Gates were a standout, cutting a swath throughout the Metal world, which ended abruptly after the seminal album `Slaughter Of The Soul` in 1995.
Reformed in fire for a summer only tour in 2008, the world assumed that this would be the one and last chance to catch the influential band before they would vanish never to be seen as At The Gates again.
Yet 2014 the internet was abuzz with news that At The Gates were about to drop a new record, `At War With Reality` hit and boy did it not disappoint. As a comeback album there’s always plenty of pressure added in for good measure, imagine that pressure when the length of time clocks in at nearly 20 years.
So 4 years later, it’s good timing for At The Gates to put out a new album. `To Drink From the Night Itself’ comes out in a few weeks and well is it worth the effort to go into your local record shop (yes, remember those?) or pick it up on Amazon or the tunes of I?
Simple answer is yes, yes 100%. If you love everything that At The Gates were, are and forever will be then this will be right up your proverbial alley. From start to finish, `To Drink From The Night Itself’ showcases just how important the band have been in the development of the Swedish Metal landscape and this ensures that it keeps a foothold influencing further Metal bands on a global scale.
One of the many interesting aspects about this album is not just the way in which the band utilizes ripping hostile guitars parts along with Tomas’s unique vocal style, that personally I feel has like a fine wine got better with age. Importantly, a vital aspect of the band is in its use of melody, building up atmospheres within songs through the use of not just guitars but added instrumentation.
From the opening prelude `Der Widerstand’ which is complete with strings and eerie piano, which launches into devastating and title track of the album, it is a pretty effective way of building up the excitement levels to fever pitch. Certainly, the album opener has all the hallmarks of a Hans Zimmer score or John Williams’s movie soundtrack.
`To Drink from the Night Itself’ is the band’s first main single. Oh and boy does it deliver, it’s got that trademark aggressive melody that repeats so that after a few listens you can replay the track over in your head. An interesting aspect of this song and throughout the album is the lyrical concepts that the band has used, for example, how art can be perceived and whether the aim of that art is to deliver a positive message or be used to control and subjugate an entire population ala the propaganda used during the Nazi parties reign in Germany. What bands like `At The Gates` help do is provide a mirror to society and ask is this really what you enjoy? Is this how life should be? To that the only answer can be truly from you. Very philosophical don’t you think.
The track `Daggers of Black Haze’ is another perfect example of how the band creates and expertly uses melody and increasing melodic elements by adding in more traditional instruments to build the track and create a more layered and dense atmosphere for the listener.
Overall I personally enjoyed this album. It’s a dark melodies, coupled with the now trademark Swedish Death Metal traits is solid throughout. The use of additional instruments assists to build up and give new layers to tracks that keep the listener engaged and does not simply make the album a one dimensional piece that can be so prevalent within the Death Metal genre.
`To Drink from the Night Itself’ is certainly is a perfect successor to `At War With Reality’. It drives home `At The Gates` ethos and themes to a T. Everything any fans of Swedish Death Metal could need.
9.5/10 – Everything At The Gates does and does exceptionally well. Learn from the masters!
Stand out tracks:
`To Drink From The Night Itself’, `Daggers of Black Haze’ and `The Mirror Black’
1. Der Widerstand
2. To Drink From The Night Itself
3. A Stare Bound In Stone
4. Palace Of Lepers
5. Daggers Of Black Haze
6. The Chasm
7. In Nameless Sleep
8. The Colour Of The Beast
9. A Labyrinth Of Tombs
10. Seas Of Starvation
11. In Death They Shall Burn
12. The Mirror Black
At The Gates online: