At the Gates

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At the Gates
At the Gates Sweden Rock 2008.jpg
Background information
Origin Sweden
Genres

Death metal,[1] (early)

Melodic death metal[2]
Years active 1990–1996, 2007–2008, 2010–present
Labels Century Media,[3] Earache, Peaceville
Associated acts Brujeria, The Haunted, Cradle of Filth, Liers in Wait, Grotesque, Nightrage, The Crown, Disfear, Skitsystem, Lock Up, The Great Deceiver, Oxiplegatz, House of Usher, Dead To Fall
Website www.atthegates.se
Members Tomas Lindberg
Anders Björler
Adrian Erlandsson
Jonas Björler
Martin Larsson
Past members Alf Svensson

At the Gates is a Swedish metal band from Gothenburg, and a major progenitor of the melodic death metal (or Gothenburg death metal) sound.[2]

Initially active from 1990 to 1996, the band reformed in 2007 for a reunion tour before breaking up once again in 2008. However, they reformed for a second time in December 2010, and have since continued to perform live. The band will release At War with Reality, their first album in 19 years, in late 2014.[4]

History[edit]

Early career (1990–1994)[edit]

At the Gates were formed in 1990 by former members of the death/black metal band Grotesque. They recorded a debut EP, Gardens of Grief, for the Dolores record label, and sold cassettes, vinyl, and XL t-shirts to promote the recording. The EP led seminal metal label Peaceville Records to sign the band, and they released their debut full-length album, The Red in the Sky Is Ours.

After the recording of their second studio album, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, founding member and guitarist Alf Svensson left the band in 1993 to pursue tattoo artistry, comic illustration and his solo electronic-opera-black metal project Oxiplegatz. He was soon replaced by former House of Usher guitarist Martin Larsson, who the band knew from their early tours. The band continued touring Europe, and were filmed for a Headbangers Ball special featuring a tour date in the United Kingdom in July 1994.

Success and breakthrough (1994–1996)[edit]

In 1994, At the Gates released their third album, Terminal Spirit Disease, which was hailed as a breakthrough album.[5]

The band continued touring and in 1995 released their most commercially and critically successful album: Slaughter of the Soul, on Earache Records. The album is known as their most melodic death metal sound, compared to previous albums. This album firmly rooted the band as one of the leaders of the Swedish metal scene and was labelled as a benchmark album in the Gothenburg sound by AMG. Decibel Magazine hailed it as "the most influential death metal album of the next decade".[6][7][8]

The band received international attention for the album, gaining them a U.S. tour and heavy rotation of the music video for Blinded by Fear on MTV in America, but despite this international success, the Björler brothers departed in 1996. The remaining members decided it would be impossible to continue without them, so the band broke up.[9]

Post-breakup (1996–2007)[edit]

When At the Gates broke up in 1996, drummer Adrian Erlandsson, bassist Jonas Björler, and guitarist Anders Björler formed The Haunted. Tomas Lindberg has worked with many bands including Skitsystem, The Crown, Lock Up, and Nightrage and is currently in The Great Deceiver and Disfear. Erlandsson left The Haunted to join Cradle of Filth. In 2001, Peaceville Records released an At the Gates retrospective called Suicidal Final Art.

Reunion (2007–2014)[edit]

At the Gates performing live at Metaltown Festival in June 2011

On October 18, 2007, At the Gates announced several reunion shows for mid-2008, including Getafe Electric Festival, Roskilde Festival, Ruisrock, Wacken Open Air, Graspop Metal Meeting, Sweden Rock Festival, Gods of Metal, Hellfest Summer Open Air, Castle Festival, and Bloodstock Open Air,[10] as well as a tour of Japan with The Dillinger Escape Plan, Into Eternity, Pig Destroyer, and Mayhem in May 2008.[11]

Anders Björler commented on the reunion:

Well, it felt like the timing was right for once. We have been talking about a possible reunion for years now, but this was the first time everything fell into place. For me personally, it feels like getting closure. The break-up over ten years ago was abrupt and left a bad vibe between us that took years to get over. We have a better relationship today and a more relaxed approach to who we are and what we do. The time is right to get together and play some shows. Try to catch us live in the summer 2008. It could be your last chance.[citation needed]

On the band's official website, Björler declared that "it would be pointless to release something more than ten years after Slaughter of the Soul" and "would just disappoint people."[12]

When asked in October 2007 if the band was planning on writing a new album, Lindberg replied:

No new record will be recorded. The legacy of Slaughter of the Soul will remain intact. It would be fun to write together, but not under the name of At the Gates.[13]

Throughout July 2008, they toured the US and Canada on what was dubbed the "Suicidal Final Tour",[14] and played their final UK show at Bloodstock Open Air on Sunday on 17 August 2008. They finished their last show in Athens, Greece, with guest The Ocean on 21 September 2008.

The band's performance at Wacken Open Air in 2008 is available on The Flames of the End, which also includes clips of songs from other venues and a documentary that covers the reunion in its entirety.

In December 2010, the band announced a second reunion in their hometown (Gothenburg, Sweden), with plans to perform at Metaltown 2011. Later that month, they announced that they would perform at Bloodstock Open Air in Derbyshire, England.

On January 29, 2012, At the Gates announced on their official Facebook page that they would be doing more reunion shows in 2012.[citation needed] They will also appear at the Brutal Assault festival in August, at Vagos Open Air in the same month and also Resurrection Fest in Spain. They will also be on appearing board Barge to Hell which sails out of Miami in December.[citation needed]

In October 2012, Tomas Lindberg stated that he would not say "never" to the possibility of At the Gates recording again.[15]

The band has also confirmed some reunion appearances in 2013, including Sweden Rock Festival in Solvesborg, Eistnaflug at Neskaupsstaður(Iceland) and Heavy MTL in Montreal.[citation needed]

At War with Reality (2014–present)[edit]

On January 21, 2014, At the Gates released a video on YouTube showing a distorted video with lines of text on it, followed by text saying "2014", possibly hinting toward possible lyrics for an upcoming album. On January 27, the band revealed on Facebook via a new cover photo and profile picture, that their confirmed fifth record would be titled, At War with Reality and would be released in the fall of 2014 through Century Media.[4]

Musical style and lyrics[edit]

According to Eduardo Rivadavia, At the Gates started as "a pretty standard and uninventive death metal combo" but were "slowly becoming a true contender in the scene".[16] The band's debut album had an eclectic sound, featuring neo-classical arrangements including a string solo. In 1993, Metal Hammer journalist Robert Müller called At the Gates a band that combined "intelligent-Satanic lyrics with avantgarde black/death metal".[1] Their third album Terminal Spirit Disease contained only six new songs, but showed that the band's sound had progressed noticeably in only one year, in terms of playing and production.[16] The band's melodic and melancholic death metal style "would inspire the whole Gothenburg region".[2] According to Steve Huey, Slaughter of the Soul "lacked the intricate twin-guitar leads of In Flames, the complex song structures of Dark Tranquillity, the progressive artistry of Edge of Sanity, or even the rock & roll underpinnings of latter-day Entombed. Slaughter of the Soul was more rooted in American thrash (especially Slayer) than its peers, and didn't seem to be consciously trying to break new ground. It was simply a stripped-down, no-frills melodic death album that hit all the basic points of the style. […] It's also important to note that in place of the usual guttural death grunts, vocalist Tomas Lindberg here adopts a strangled shriek that keeps the lyrics somewhat intelligible."[7]

Awards[edit]

At the Gates were nominated for a Grammis for Slaughter of the Soul in 1995 along with Fireside's Do Not Tailgate, Meshuggah's Destroy Erase Improve and Yngwie Malmsteen's Magnum Opus.[citation needed]

Members[edit]

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Release date Label
The Red in the Sky Is Ours July 27, 1992 Peaceville
With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness May 7, 1993 Peaceville
Terminal Spirit Disease July 18, 1994 Peaceville
Slaughter of the Soul November 14, 1995 Earache
At War with Reality Fall 2014 Century Media

Compilation albums[edit]

EPs[edit]

Other albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Kingdom Gone" (1992)
  • "The Burning Darkness" (1993)
  • "Terminal Spirit Disease" (1994)
  • "Blinded by Fear" (1995)

DVDs[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Robert Müller: Satanische Verse. In: Metal Hammer, no. 6, June 1993, p. 159.
  2. ^ a b c Daniel Ekeroth: Swedish Death Metal. Second printing. Brooklyn, NY: Bazillion Points 2009, p. 222, accessed on 18 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Century Media Records - At The Gates: : Announce new studio album; Sign worldwide deal with Century Media Records!". Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  4. ^ a b "AT THE GATES Announces New Studio Album, Label Home". Blabbermouth.net. 2014-01-27. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  5. ^ Morgan, Anthony (November 2007). ""The Flames of the End"? - Guitarist Anders Björler wishes to pen the final chapter in the glorious history of Swedish legends At The Gates". Lucem Fero. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  6. ^ [1], accessed 24 december 2013.
  7. ^ a b Steve Huey: Slaughter of the Soul - At the Gates, accessed on 18 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Review: At The Gates, Slaughter of the Soul", sputnikmusic.com.
  9. ^ "At The Gates", Earache.com.
  10. ^ "It's Official: AT THE GATES To Reunite For Select Shows". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  11. ^ "Extreme The Dojo". Extreme The Dojo. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ "AT THE GATES Frontman Discusses Reunion, Touring Plans". Earache Records. Blabbermouth.net. 2007-10-30. Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  14. ^ Decibel Magazine[dead link]
  15. ^ "AT THE GATES Frontman On Possibility Of New Studio Album: 'I've Learned Never To Say Never'". Blabbermouth.net. 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  16. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Terminal Spirit Disease - At the Gates". allmusic. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 

External links[edit]