AT THE GATES
Death Metal • Sweden

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At The Gates is a band from Gothenburg, Sweden.

Originally formed in 1990 after Grotesque broke up, the band played a very original and unique style of technical death metal which can be found on the earlier releases, while their later releases were more melodic and the structures of the songs were less complex. After releasing The Red in the Sky Is Ours in 1992, main songwriter and guitarist Alf Svensson left the band because of his loss of interest on the project. One year later, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness was released. Still, most of the guitar riffs were written by Alf Svensson. After the release of Terminal Spirit Disease, last album to include some riffs written by Alf Svensson, At the Gates decided to cut all the innovative, unique, technical aspects of their earlier material, focusing on writing catchier, less intricate songs for Slaughter of
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Slaughter of the SoulSlaughter of the Soul
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$4.36
$8.47 (used)
At War with RealityAt War with Reality
Century Media 2014
Audio CD$7.61
$7.00 (used)
The Red In The Sky Is OursThe Red In The Sky Is Ours
Extra tracks
Peaceville 2003
Audio CD$5.00
$3.64 (used)
Terminal Spirit DiseaseTerminal Spirit Disease
Remastered · Extra tracks
Peaceville 2004
Audio CD$6.04
$5.00 (used)
Slaughter of the SoulSlaughter of the Soul
Import
Imports 2014
Vinyl$17.24
$40.30 (used)
With Fear I Kiss the Burning DarknessWith Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness
Extra tracks
Peaceville 2003
Audio CD$6.92
$9.04 (used)
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AT THE GATES Discography

AT THE GATES albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.36 | 9 ratings
The Red in the Sky Is Ours
Death Metal 1992
.. Album Cover 3.56 | 7 ratings
With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness
Death Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.90 | 8 ratings
Terminal Spirit Disease
Death Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 4.09 | 23 ratings
Slaughter of the Soul
Death Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 4 ratings
At War with Reality
Death Metal 2014

AT THE GATES EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 2.52 | 2 ratings
Gardens of Grief
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gardens of Grief / In the Embrace of Evil
Death Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
At the Gates / Decapitated
Death Metal 2014

AT THE GATES live albums

.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Purgatory Unleashed - Live at Wacken
Death Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Krakow
Death Metal 2010

AT THE GATES demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gardens of Grief
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gardens of Grief (single)
Death Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cursed to Tour
Death Metal 1996

AT THE GATES boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Suicidal Final Art
Death Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ultimate Collector's Box Set
Death Metal 2010

AT THE GATES singles (0)

AT THE GATES movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Maximum Metal
Death Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Flames At The End
Death Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Purgatory Unleashed - Live at Wacken 2008
Death Metal 2011

AT THE GATES Reviews

AT THE GATES At War with Reality

Album · 2014 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"At War with Reality" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act At The Gates. The album was released through Century Media Records in October 2014. At The Gates was originally active in the years 1990-1996 and are often credited as one of the early pioneers of the more melodic part of the Swedish death metal scene. After they disbanded in 1996 several members went on to form thrash metal act The Haunted (where some of the members are still active), but as the years went by and more and more upcoming artists have begun to mention At The Gates as a huge influence on their music, the demand for a reunion has steadily grown stronger. The band reunited and toured in the period 2007-2008, and the reunion was initially only meant to be temporary, but At The Gates reunited again in 2010, and after a couple of years, the inspiration to write new original material came to them. Probably also fueled by guitarist/main composer Anders Björler´s exit from The Haunted in 2012.

So "At War with Reality" is indeed a comeback album by At The Gates after a 19 year recording break since "Slaughter of the Soul (1995)". The lineup who recorded "Slaughter of the Soul (1995)" is intact featuring Jonas Björler on bass, Adrian Erlandsson on drums, Anders Björler on guitars, Tomas "Tompa" Lindberg on vocals, and Martin Larsson on guitars. It´s no surprise with a cast like that, that the music is delivered with high level skill and professionalism.

Stylistically "At War with Reality" doesn´t exactly take up where "Slaughter of the Soul (1995)" let go. Where the latter primarily focused on being aggressive, "At War with Reality" is a much more diverse release, drawing influences from all parts of the band´s discography. The riffs are both heavy, thrashy, more dark and death metal oriented, but always featuring a melodic sensibility, melodic harmony themes, or solos. There are also several clean guitar parts on the album, which provide the music with variation. The drumming is also varied featuring everything from heavy beats to mid-paced grooves, to faster paced parts. The vocals by Tomas "Tompa" Lindberg are rather distinct sounding and he is probably one of the most original growling vocalists on the scene. He growling vocals are a cross between regular death metal growling and a higher pitched tortured shouting (there are also a few spoken word sections). A bit hard to describe actually, but they are pretty surely an aquired taste.

The regular edition of the album features 13 tracks and a full playing time of 44:16, while the limited edition features two bonus tracks. It is highly recommended getting the version featuring the bonus tracks as they are both well worth the price of admission. Some versions also features a third additional bonus track in the Sacrifice cover "Re-Animation". "At War with Reality" is a concept album based on the literary genre called "Magic Realism" and the album comes with a 20-page booklet to further build on the overall experience and atmosphere of the release.

The material on the album are through and through high standard compositions. In addition to that "At War with Reality" features a great flow thanks to a well chosen tracklist, where fast paced melodic death metal tracks, are mostly followed by more heavy mid-paced compositions, or more atmospheric melodic oriented material. The tracks are generally not that long (most staying within the 2 - 4 minutes parameter), but "At War with Reality" is a prime example of getting the most out of relatively short tracks, without resorting to simple hook laden vers/chorus song structures. Not that there aren´t catchy hooks and clear vers/chorus structures in most tracks, but the tracks on the album feature many intriguing details, additional sections, and other clever compositional tricks, which elevate the music to an exceptionally high compositional level.

To top it all off "At War with Reality" features a powerful, clear, and detailed sound production which suits the material perfectly, so all in all this is a high quality release in all departments and a welcome comeback by At The Gates. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul

Album · 1995 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Angry Scotsman
One of the pillars of melodic death metal, this album is more intense then In Flames' "The Jester Race" or Dark Tranquility's "The Gallery". I suppose depending on how much "melodic" or "death metal" you like will determine which of the 3 is your favorite. This album is the most intense of the 3 by far, while TJR is the lightest, and "The Gallery" is a good middle ground, maybe with the best songwriting.

I personally like this one the best. It is a good blend of the two, but still maintains outright death metal intensity. Intense is what this album is. There are two completely melodic songs, and the rest are quite fast...maintained by lots of blast beats. The slower parts are often backed by double bass drumming even. The riffing is fast and frantic, though simple. This is what does make it more melodic then normal death metal.

The solos are also very melodic, opposed to shred, there are slower melodic sections, and even some non metal sections. Also, there is no growling on this album but instead a more high pitched, (kind of raspy) screaming. There is real emotion behind them. OK, a lot of metal heads cringe at the thought of emotional lyrics...but really a real power and intensity is conveyed behind them. At the end of "Cold" when he yells "I FEEL MY SOUL GO COLD!" try not to get shivers.

Call it death metal lite if you want. Fast paced, simple riffing pushed by straightforward and intense drumming and topped off with soul wrenching yelling. This album may sacrifice the complexity and technicality, (and maybe some brutality) of regular death metal...but it does not sacrifice intensity and has some great twin guitar work. Only real downside is there is not really a standout song, and at times it can be a bit uninspired sounding.

Overall, great album. My favorite of the 3 classic melodeath albums, and probably the best of the entire sub genre. Four and a Half Stars

AT THE GATES Gardens of Grief

EP · 1991 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
City of screaming guitars...

Genre: (progressive) death metal

There has always been a sense of artiness to At the Gates, which manifests itself in their cover artworks and in the structure of their music. Their first couple of releases were so complext, that some of the musicians who have worked with the band admitted that they had to take a lot of notes to keep up, and even their later, simpler melodic death metal releases, still contain a number of unexpected twists and turns.

The songs on "Gardens of Grief" are complex - too complex. Now, I like complex rock music, and I'm a big fan of progressive music, but complex music requires a sufficuant level of musicianship... and that's simply not there on this album. So, while there are plenty of good ideas here, one the whole, "Gardens of Grief" seems like a terrible musical mess, unstructured, incoherent and poorly executed. Then again, I admire the At the Gates guys for writing music that really challenged and tested themselves.

Another problem is poor production. There are times when the snare drum (especially in blast beat sections) is completely inaudible. And that's a shame, because, had the production been better, the album as a whole could have come across as being more coherent and solid.

AT THE GATES With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness

Album · 1993 · Death Metal
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Time Signature
Raped by the sound of guitars...

Genre: progressive death metal (melodeath inklings)

While "The Red In The Sky Is Ours" is perhaps a bit too abstract and complex for some listeners, "With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness" is a much more structured and solid effort. Also, on the previous releases, At the Gates' skills and musicianship were not really on par with the creative ideas they had, which means that their output seemed to have a certain pretentiousness to it.

That's all gone here. On "With Fear I kiss The Burning Darkness", their musicianship has improved considerably, and musically, the album is still abstract and complex like the predecessors are, but it is executed at a much higher level. The songs seem more coherent and less clumsy than on the preceding releases, which means that the high level of compositional complexity is much easier to appreciate. Also, already here, there are inklings of the melodic death metal style that At the Gates would adopt on their last releases. This combination of complexity and melody works very well for this album.

I think that fans of progressive death metal would like this album, as would fans of good ole straight death metal.

AT THE GATES Terminal Spirit Disease

Album · 1994 · Death Metal
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Time Signature
The beautiful sound...

Genre: melodic death metal

"Terminal Spirit Disease" is an important controbution to the development of the Göteborg-style of metal which would later be known as melodic death metal.

As with "Slaughter of the Soul", there is plenty of melodic yet aggressive riffing on this one, accompanied by both mid paced drums and fast thrashy drums. This album also sounds a bit more polished and refined than "Slaughter of the Soul" and the compositions are also a bit more complex and progressive and less emotionally appealing than on "slaughter of the Soul". There are plenty of unusual riffs and unusual melody and harmony patterns - some of which are even reminiscent of the more melodic type of black metal (probably because of At The Gates' extensive use of open-stringed riffing on this album). A particularly interesting element is the use of chords that were not deployed that much in the death metal music of the time, but were more associated with alternative rock and alternative hardrock acts of the 90s. A clear example of this is the chorus of "The Swarm", which works really well.

This album would be a good entry point into the world of melodic death metal and would probably also appeal to fans of power metal and more melodic black metal, also I think some hardcore extreme metal fans would find it a tad too melodic.

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