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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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AT THE GATES Discography

AT THE GATES albums / top albums

AT THE GATES The Red in the Sky Is Ours album cover 3.53 | 18 ratings
The Red in the Sky Is Ours
Death Metal 1992
AT THE GATES With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness album cover 3.50 | 17 ratings
With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness
Melodic Death Metal 1993
AT THE GATES Terminal Spirit Disease album cover 3.79 | 16 ratings
Terminal Spirit Disease
Melodic Death Metal 1994
AT THE GATES Slaughter of the Soul album cover 4.18 | 42 ratings
Slaughter of the Soul
Melodic Death Metal 1995
AT THE GATES At War with Reality album cover 4.00 | 14 ratings
At War with Reality
Melodic Death Metal 2014
AT THE GATES To Drink From The Night Itself album cover 4.35 | 11 ratings
To Drink From The Night Itself
Death Metal 2018
AT THE GATES The Nightmare Of Being album cover 3.53 | 9 ratings
The Nightmare Of Being
Melodic Death Metal 2021

AT THE GATES EPs & splits

AT THE GATES Gardens of Grief album cover 2.79 | 3 ratings
Gardens of Grief
Death Metal 1991
AT THE GATES Gardens of Grief / In the Embrace of Evil album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gardens of Grief / In the Embrace of Evil
Melodic Death Metal 2001
AT THE GATES At the Gates / Decapitated album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
At the Gates / Decapitated
Melodic Death Metal 2014
AT THE GATES We Are Connected / Language of the Dead album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
We Are Connected / Language of the Dead
Melodic Death Metal 2015

AT THE GATES live albums

AT THE GATES Purgatory Unleashed - Live at Wacken album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Purgatory Unleashed - Live at Wacken
Melodic Death Metal 2010
AT THE GATES Live in Krakow album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Krakow
Melodic Death Metal 2010

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

AT THE GATES Gardens of Grief album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gardens of Grief
Melodic Death Metal 1991
AT THE GATES Gardens of Grief (single) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gardens of Grief (single)
Melodic Death Metal 1994
AT THE GATES Cursed to Tour album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cursed to Tour
Melodic Death Metal 1996

AT THE GATES re-issues & compilations

AT THE GATES Suicidal Final Art album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Suicidal Final Art
Melodic Death Metal 2001
AT THE GATES Ultimate Collector's Box Set album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ultimate Collector's Box Set
Melodic Death Metal 2010

AT THE GATES singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Spectre of Extinction
Melodic Death Metal 2021

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

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


AT THE GATES The Nightmare Of Being

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
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I am a late comer to the At the Gates appreciation club, having paid attention to the Swedish icons only since their 2018 album To Drink from the Night Itself. Therefore, when their new record, The Nightmare of Being, was released earlier this year, I finally decided to purchase the CD to properly check it out. The reason why the last two records caught my attention is probably also the reason why some oldtime supporters are giving the band a hard time in specialized webzines and review sites: slowly but surely, the Swedes have started weaving conspicuous progressive rock/metal into their sound, noticeably bastardizing the melodic death metal style they once contributed to create.

The Nightmare of Being brings together three different strands of musical influences. The core of the music is still melodic death metal, built on a foundation of fast guitar riffs that are both razor-sharp and exquisitely melodic, pounding and hypertight drumrolls (Adrian Erlandsson puts in a massive performance behind the drumkit), and Tomas Lindberg’s unhinged, high-pitched growls. While in a few songs At the Gates seem happy to not stray too far from the style that made them famous (most evidently in the initial three songs of the record), elsewhere they enrich the melodeath assault with hints of 1970s hard prog as well as dark wave and gothic rock, conjuring up a hybrid sonic world that it is hard not to find enthralling.

The prog rock influences hark back to the sound of the darkest end of the spectrum of 1970s bands, such as King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator. This is conveyed through the use of the mellotron and other eerie keyboard sounds, as well as sombre real strings and woodwinds arrangements (“Touched by the White Hands of Death”, “The Fall into Time”, “The Abstract Enthroned”). Meanwhile, “Garden of Cyrus” introduces a jazzy saxophone lead, which again brings to mind King Crimson (and particularly their Red album). It should be said that At the Gates are not the only nor the first extreme metal band to look back at the dark progressive rock of the 1970s for inspiration. Ihsahn, Enslaved, and Opeth are three prominent examples of bands that have followed the same path several years ahead of the Swedes. Moreover, these bands have definitely pushed the prog rock influences much more prominently into their sound compared to At the Gates, which instead use the 1970s heritage only to add hints of a new dimension to their artform rather than as a way to completely revolutionize it, like Opeth have done for instance. It is nevertheless fascinating to hear violins, flutes and clarinets weaving in and out of aggressive death metal riffs, especially in tracks like “The Fall into Time” where the band have truly challenged themselves to write music that stretches well beyond the classic melodeath canon. Elsewhere, At the Gates make a more vanilla use of the barrage of classical instrumentation they have at their disposal, essentially as an atmospheric prelude or interlude to their more conventional death metal style. Tracks like “Touched by the White Hands of Death” and “The Abstract Enthroned” are slightly underwhelming in this respect, and they do not strike me as neither very original nor particularly accomplished.

The other element that emerges through the 10 tracks of The Nightmare of Being is an evident penchant for dark wave and gothic rock. This is most apparent on the oppressive yet groovy “Cosmic Pessimism”, a track that builds on a bouncy clean guitar riff apparently inspired to krautrock and bands like Neu! and Tangerine Dream, for what is one of the standout moments of the whole album. Elsewhere, the gothic undertones surface through the use of clean guitar breaks and especially Tomas Lindberg’s half-spoken vocal croon, a style he uses quite often on this record, reminding me at times of Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne.

With all these disparate ingredients thrown into the mix, The Nightmare of Being makes for a varied and engaging listening experience. Not everything on the album is gold, and in fact there are more than a couple of episodes that feel a tad too run-of-the-mill and unremarkable (“The Paradox”, the title-track, “Touched by the White Hands of Death” “Eternal Winter of Reason”). However, when inspiration strikes them, At the Gates manage to give us some striking pieces of music, perfectly balanced between raw aggression and sophisticated melancholy. “Garden of Cyrus”, “The Fall into Time”, “Cult of Salvation” and “Cosmic Pessimism” are all little gems of modern melodic death metal that cleverly push the boundaries of the genre without straying too far from its core essence. The Nightmare of Being is a bit too patchy to be heralded as a contemporary masterpiece, but it nevertheless shows that there is still creative blood running in the icy veins of the Swedish combo, and it will certainly be interesting to see where they will decide to bring this creativity next.

AT THE GATES The Nightmare Of Being

Album · 2021 · Melodic Death Metal
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While At the Gates' output over the past decade or so since their reunion has undoubtedly been enjoyable, I think all but their die hard fans would agree that it has fallen short of the expectations one would have set for one of the most enduringly influential death metal bands of the 90's. But hey, there are death metal acts far less competent and important that have managed to string together a several decades-long career churning out the same recycled noise. If At the Gates wanted to spend the rest of their career riding the trends that, at the start of it all, were largely of their own making anyway, it would do nothing to tarnish their legacy.

And yet, with the release of The Nightmare of Being, At the Gates have announced to the world that they have no interest in sitting on their laurels and letting the opportunity to keep making worthwhile music this late into their careers slip away.

The Nightmare of Being starts off unassumingly with track 3, the title track, only beginning to tease what would follow. But from the tracks "Garden of Cyrus" through "The Fall into Time," the band strings together arguably the most unique and forward thinking stretch of music of their entire careers with instrumentation and chord progressions you would hardly ever expect to find on a record like this. The progressive ambition caked into these tracks belies a band both confident in their abilities and rife with inspiration. As front man and co-songwriter Tomas Lindberg told Loudwire, bringing in Jonas Stålhammar, a guitarist with a strong prog-rock foundation, to replace founding member Anders Björler enabled the group stretch their wings in ways they would not have previously dared to try.

The album's weakness is that it just doesn't commit enough to this new direction. The record is bookended by fairly standard melo-death fare. Its mesial section stands out, like a juicy and tender piece of meat between coarser cuts - edible but inferior. Still, The Nightmare of Being has succeeded in stoking my excitement for whatever At the Gates has in store for us going forward. How many veteran metal bands can we actually say that about?

AT THE GATES The Red in the Sky Is Ours

Album · 1992 · Death Metal
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"The Red in the Sky Is Ours" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act At the Gates. The album was released through Deaf Records in July 1992. At the Gates was formed in 1990 after Grotesque disbanded. They were part of the very fertile Gothenburg scene of the early 90s, which also spawned artists like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity.

While At the Gates are often mentioned among the forefarthers of the melodeath style, the music on "The Red in the Sky Is Ours" is not melodeath by any means. At least only in very small portions. There are plenty of melodic guitar themes featured throughout the album, but the music on this particular At the Gates album is a much more eclectic size to be just labelled melodeath. The album features elements from technical death/thrash metal, melodic death metal, blackened death metal, and even a couple of nods toward folk metal. The latter is only true when the band incorporate the use of folky violin playing a couple of times during the playing time, but it´s there and therefore a part of the sound on the album. The blackened edge mostly stems from Tomas Lindberg´s singing style which is a higher pitched growl than your usual more deeper growl, but also as a result of the often dark and mystic atmosphere of the music. I´m sometimes reminded of artists like Unanimated and Necrophobic. But then the band also mix in melodic guitar themes and quite technical death/thrashy riffing/drumming, and it´s hard not to get the feeling that the album is a bit "all over the place".

Stylistic inconsistency can be a huge issue for some releases, but At the Gates somehow manage to pull it off convincingly. So even though it´s obvious the band were pretty immature composers at this point, they still have so many great intriguing songwriting ideas, and a passionate, skillful, and convincing delivery of those ideas, that "The Red in the Sky Is Ours" is overall a pretty strong debut album. I´m even ready to forgive the rather thin and not too well sounding production, because of the creativity on display here and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

AT THE GATES To Drink From The Night Itself

Album · 2018 · Death Metal
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AT War With Reality, 2014’s comeback album from At The Gates was criticized by some for being too safe and clinical sounding. Personally, I had no problem with it at all and welcomed the bands return to the upper echelons of melodic death metal. In fact I thought it so good I voted it my album of the year on this site and felt that many songs such as The Night Eternal and Eater Of Gods, to name just two, were showing the band at the top of their game.

No such criticism is likely to levelled at To Drink From The Night Itself. It’s a heavier, darker and murkier sounding album. In fact my eyebrows were initially raised over the production where the vocals and drums sound like they’re coming from the opposite end of a very long room to the rest of the band which took a bit of getting used to. I must admit that initially I was a little disappointed but after spending quite a bit of time with it my opinion has changed a hell of a lot. The biggest concern prior to the album’s release was how much of difference it was going to make to the band’s sound minus original guitarist Anders Björler who left in 2017. Fortunately, none at all. This is clearly the sound of At The Gates – the melancholic and melodic riffs, tremolo picked guitars and of course Tomas Lindberg’s distinctive high register growl. New guitarist Jonas Stålhammar has fit seamlessly in, no doubt an advantage having already played in The Lurking Fear with Lindberg and drummer Adrian Erlandsson.

As I said earlier this album did take a few plays to fully reveal itself, in part down to the production. The title track was the first song I heard when the band released it 2 or 3 months back. I must admit that despite being good I wasn’t blown away by it, it being pretty much At The Gates by numbers. It has since grown on me more but there’s much better on offer here, the second half of the album being particularly impressive where they barely put a foot wrong, with songs like In Nameless Sleep and The Mirror Black, after a slow start, having a vibe similar to The Night Eternal, my favourite song from At War With Reality with their use of guitar arpeggios and Erlandsson’s triplet double kick pattern. The latter closing the album in a similar fashion until the strings kick in at the very end. The first half still has some impressive moments though with A Stare Bound In Stone and Palace Of Lepers being particularly good.

To Drink From The Night Itself may bring nothing new to the table, it may not be better than At War With Reality overall, but that’s more to do with my love of that album than any weaknesses here and the production was certainly better last time around. It does however prove to be a consistently excellent album and contains some of the bands finest moments. I keep getting drawn back to it and I can’t give it a better recommendation than to say it’s my most played album since it was released.

AT THE GATES To Drink From The Night Itself

Album · 2018 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
Although there have been some substantial gaps in their career, the line-up of At The Gates has been incredibly stable, having been the same since 1993. So, it was quite a blow when guitarist Anders Björler decided that it was time to move on. But, the band knew that they still had a great deal to offer, and called in old friend Jonas Stålhammar who they had known for almost thirty years. One rehearsal later and he had the job. It was important for the band to bring in someone who knew what they had been going through, had followed a similar musical journey, and also came from the same musical influences. Russ Russell was brought in as producer, and the result is one of the standout metal albums of the year.

By now most people would think that At The Gates would have nothing left to prove, having been at the forefront of the Swedish Death Metal scene for so many years, but while other bands have moved on and often changed their musical path ATG have double down and are bringing forth melodic death metal that is as heavy, violent and so damned enjoyable as anything they have released in the past. The band formed back in1990, yet here they are in 2018 showing all the young guns how to do it. The groove, they move, they mix incredibly light and delicate aspects into the thunderous sound, yet when the time is right they all lock in and bring it home. Tomas "Tompa" Lindberg still sounds like the angry young man he used to be, but now with more presence and command. He is at the forefront of what truly is a metallic monster casting all before it. Whatever anyone may want from a metal album, I can pretty much guarantee that this one has it. From the first note to the very last all I wanted to do was to keep turning it up time and again. It has been four years since the last album, let’s just hope that it isn’t so long until the next one.

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