AT THE GATES
Death Metal • Sweden

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AT THE GATES picture
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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The Red In The Sky Is OursThe Red In The Sky Is Ours
Extra tracks
Peaceville UK 2003
Audio CD$5.31
$4.93 (used)
Slaughter of the SoulSlaughter of the Soul
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$4.02
$12.93 (used)
Terminal Spirit DiseaseTerminal Spirit Disease
Remastered · Extra tracks
Peaceville UK 2004
Audio CD$6.78
$4.29 (used)
With Fear I Kiss the Burning DarknessWith Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness
Peaceville UK 2013
Vinyl$14.99
Gardens to GriefGardens to Grief
EP · Import
Import [Generic] 2003
Audio CD$43.93
$20.00 (used)
Gardens of Grief / In the Embrace of EvilGardens of Grief / In the Embrace of Evil
Century Media 2001
Audio CD$145.14
$8.75 (used)
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AT THE GATES Discography

AT THE GATES albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.38 | 8 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 4.10 | 21 ratings
Slaughter of the Soul
Death Metal 1995

AT THE GATES EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 2.52 | 2 ratings
Gardens of Grief
Death Metal 1991

AT THE GATES live albums

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

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

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
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Flames At The End
Death Metal 2010

AT THE GATES Reviews

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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul

Album · 1995 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
Slaughter of the ear...

Genre: melodic death metal

It is not a coincidence that several present-day melodeath artists have been accused of aping the sound and style on this album. "Slaughter of the Soul" is a very influential album and one of the releases that helped define the genre of melodic death metal, which is very popular in Sweden, Denmark (the entire underground metal scene in my hometown seems to evolve around this album) and around the world.

What I particularly like about this album is that it is more aggressive, more primitive and less polished than the likes of In Flames and other Swedish melodeath acts. The riffing is often fast, simple and straightforward making use of melodic patterns that are typically based on minor scales and 4/4 or 3/4 figures, and the nods to NWOBHM are very clear both in terms of riff types and guitar harmonies. The drumming is tight and simple (in a good way), although there are some interesting twists here and there. At The Gates make heavy use of simple thrash metal drum rhythms here, which add to the agrressiveness of this album, and which work well with the melodic riffing. The most striking thing is perhaps the screaming vocals, which display a certain desperation which fits with the content of the lyrics, which deal with topics such as fear, suffering, death and so on. On some tracks, like "Cold" the vocals sound so desperate that it sometimes touches me so much that I get chills and my eyes get watery. I never expected a death metal record to have that effect on me. But hey, that's the beauty of music, innit? Other notable tracks are the hit "Blinded By Fear", the title track, "under a Serpent Sun" and "Suicide Nation".

I think this album will appeal to anyone who likes thrash metal and power metal, and perhaps even some NWOBHM fans, as well as some death metal fans - although "Slaughter of the Soul" does not have much in common with other death metal releases from the 90s. I would also reccomend this album to those who like a bit of melody but think that In Flames and American melodic metalcore is too polished.

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