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Music / At the Gates

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At the Gates is a death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden, and possibly, out of the three Gothenburg bands that pioneered the genre of Melodic Death Metal, the most-often cited as an influence (the other two being Dark Tranquillity and In Flames).

The band was formed in 1990 by former members of the death/black metal band Grotesque. They recorded a debut EP, Gardens of Grief, which led Peaceville Records (yes, that one) to sign the band, and they released their debut album, The Red in the Sky is Ours, which featured an eclectic and technical sound, including, for instance, neoclassical arrangements and even a string solo.

They continued with their technical style on their second album, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, but moved away from it with Terminal Spirit Disease, considered their breakthrough album. In 1995, they released the legendary Slaughter of the Soul, possibly the most important album in defining melodeath as a subgenre. Slaughter of the Soul was a huge commercial success (unfortunately for disgruntled fans of the band's more complex early works), but despite this success, the band broke up in 1996.

Like fellow melodeath pioneers Carcass, they reformed at a later date (in AtG's case, 2007) to play several reunion shows.

Despite originally planning for their 2007-2008 tour to be their last, At the Gates reunited once again in 2010 for some festival dates and have continued to play shows since then. Although they had stated in numerous interviews that they had no plans to release new material, the band confirmed in January 2014 that they had signed to Century Media Recordsnote  and entered the studio in the summer to record At War With Reality, their first album in 19 years.

Current lineup:

  • Tomas Lindberg − vocals (1990–1996, 2007–2008, 2010-present)
  • Adrian Erlandsson − drums (1990–1996, 2007–2008, 2010-present)
  • Jonas Björler − bass (1990–1992, 1993–1996, 2007–2008, 2010-present)
  • Martin Larsson − rhythm guitar (1993–1996, 2007–2008, 2010-present)
  • Anders Björler − lead guitar (1990–1996, 2007–2008, 2010-2017, 2022-present)

Former members:

  • Alf Svensson − rhythm guitar (1990–1993)
  • Jonas Stålhammar − lead guitar (2017-2022)

Studio albums:

  • The Red in the Sky is Ours, 1992
  • With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, 1993
  • Terminal Spirit Disease, 1994
  • Slaughter of the Soul, 1995
  • At War With Reality, 2014
  • To Drink From the Night Itself, 2018
  • The Nightmare of Being, 2021

Tropes of the Soul:

  • Badass Bookworm: Tomas Lindberg works as a social studies teacher for his day job, and not only do his students know about his status as a musician, but he has even graded tests while on tour during down time.
  • Concept Album: At War with Reality is one that is based on a literary genre known as magic realism while To Drink From the Night Itself is inspired by Peter Weiss' novel The Aesthetics of Resistance.
  • Death Metal: The Red in the Sky is Ours and With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness are straight-up death metal albums. They also border on Technical Death Metal, though the band wasn't a particularly big influence on tech-death compared to say, Death, Atheist and Cynic.
  • Last Chorus Slow-Down: Songs "Cold" and "Unto Others" almost resemble this, only that it's not exactly the "chorus" they slow down for. Still epic bridges (unless you're not into Slaughter Of The Soul).
  • Metal Scream: Tomas Lindberg's vocals are a solid Type 3, though his work with The Lurking Fear is somewhere between a Type 1 and a Type 2.
  • Melodic Death Metal: Trope Maker, along with In Flames and Dark Tranquillity.
  • Signature Style: A very thick, harmonized dual guitar style involving lots of chugging, heavy grooves, and harmonic minor chords, and throat-cracking, very pissed-off screams, set to typical blastbeat-led Death Metal drumming. Of the three big melodeath bands, they were the most abrasive.
  • Trope Maker: They co-created Melodic Death Metal alongside In Flames and Dark Tranquillity.
  • Trope Codifier: For the heavy, chug-driven style of melodeath as played by more modern examples such as Amon Amarth, DevilDriver, Arsis, Eyeconoclast, Mnemic, Kalmah, Hypocrisy, The Haunted, Heaven Shall Burn, The Black Dahlia Murder, Kataklysm (on later albums), Revocation, Shadow of Intent (from Melancholy onwards) and even Dethklok.