My HeadBangers welcome from Gothenburg, Sweden:
AT THE GATES
“Spectre Of Extinction”
My HeadBangers, ahh my ears are happy as that nordic sound flows into me, in 5 seconds I can tell where it comes from, it’s a sound that cannot be duplicated by any other part of the world. It is distinct to me, it gives me a rush, goosebumps and makes me just want to not stop talking, but I know I have to lmfao. Ok this band is more than just a Gothenburg black metal band check it:
At the Gates’ musical style has been described as melodic death metal and death metal. The band’s early work invented a “progressive, complex way of crafting songs of dextrous melodic fluidity and variation”, which would influence progressive death metal, but also the black metal of e.g. Darkthrone’s Transylvanian Hunger. Most of this material was composed by former member, Alf Svensson, who, according to guitarist Anders Björler, a former member, fused the Swedish melancholy of Nordic folk music with death metal and classical music.
What a combination of genres, but it truly works, and I love it.
Time for some bio on this band:
At the Gates were formed in late 1990 by former members of the death and black metal band Grotesque. They recorded a debut EP, “Gardens of Grief”, for the Dolores record label. The EP led the label Peaceville Records to sign the band, and they released their debut album, The Red in the Sky Is Ours in 1992.
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, graphic novel 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 underground tape trading. The band continued touring Europe, and were filmed for a Headbangers Ball special feature in Nottingham, England in July 1993.
In 1994, At the Gates released their third album, “Terminal Spirit Disease”, which was hailed as a breakthrough album.
The band continued touring and in 1995 released their most commercially and critically successful album: “Slaughter of the Soul”. The album is regarded as their strongest death metal effort, compared to previous albums. This album firmly rooted the band as one of the leaders of the Swedish metal scene, the “Gothenburg sound” of melodic death metal. The band received international attention for the album, gaining them several U.S. tours 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.
“Blinded by Fear”
On 18 October 2007, At the Gates announced several reunion shows for mid-2008, including Getafe Electric Festival, Roskilde Festival, Wacken Open Air, Graspop Metal Meeting, Sweden Rock Festival, Gods of Metal, Hellfest Summer Open Air and Bloodstock Open Air, as well as a tour of Japan with The Dillinger Escape Plan, Into Eternity, Pig Destroyer, and Mayhem in May 2008. Throughout July 2008, they toured the US and Canada on what was dubbed the “Suicidal Final Tour”, 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 DVD boxed set, which also includes clips of songs from other venues and a documentary that covers the history of the band in its entirety.
On 21 January 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 27 January, 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.
When asked whether At War with Reality is At the Gates’ final album or if the band will continue recording, Tomas Lindberg replied, “We can’t say really. We have no plans of stopping but we’ve broken promises before so it’s best not to say anything.” In numerous recent interviews members of the band have expressed interest in doing a follow-up album. At the Gates concluded the touring cycle for At War with Reality in August 2016 with a festival appearance at Elb Riot in Hamburg, Germany.
On 8 March 2017, in an official statement released by the band, they announced that Anders Björler had departed from the band. Despite Anders’ departure, they went on to confirm that they were working on a follow-up to 2014’s At War with Reality, which they were aiming to record and release in 2018. In September 2017, Jonas Stålhammar was announced as the new guitarist to take the place of Björler on a permanent basis, but he had joined too late to be involved in the writing process of the new album. They entered the studio to begin recording the album in November 2017, titled “To Drink from the Night Itself”, which was released through Century Media Records on 18 May 2018.
At the Gates released their seventh studio album, “The Nightmare of Being”, on 2 July 2021. While the album remains rooted in the Gothenburg metal tradition, it also features a wider range of musical styles, influences, and instrumentation. The ideas in the album are influenced by the writings of horror philosophers such as Thomas Ligotti and Eugene Thacker.
At the Gates were nominated for a Swedish Grammy for “Slaughter of the Soul in 1996, but didn’t win. They won the Swedish Grammy in February 2015 for the 2014 comeback album “At War With Reality. The band were also awarded the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Inspiration Award in June 2015.
So much life and changes in this band, and still they play on. Let’s meet these Swedish Metal Men!!!
Tomas Lindberg – Vocals (1990-96, 2007-08, 2010-present)
Adrian Erlandsson – Drums (1990-96, 2007-08, 2010-present)
Jonas Bjöler – Bass (1990-92, 1993-96, 2007-08, 2010-present), Drums-1990
Martin Larsson – Rhythm Guitar (1993-96, 2007-08, 2010-present)
Jonas Stålhammar – Lead Guitar (2017-present)
And one more thing we don’t want to forget:
My HeadBangers, so much to read, so much to hear from this band. Where do I start with all the feelings I feel right now? I have nothing but respect for this band, to go through extreme highs and lows and back to highs, what a ride they have had, and still going, even have their own Scotch from Scotland! It’s bands like these that keep me doing what I do. There are times I feel like giving up, but then I look at the stories of these bands and realize we all go through things that can make or break us, never surrender never give up is my motto. Really how could you we are all metal family. Think if this band had just stopped, we would be missing some of the best music Sweden has to offer. Since doing the blog I have had several band that quit and then come back, this shows you that the human spirit in those truly devoted to their music doesn’t go away, it comes back and when it does it’s stronger, louder, and cannot be stopped. I bow my head to AT THE GATES, keep going never stop…..
That’s it for this week my HeadBangers. Join me next week for another band and another song. In the meantime don’t stand to close to the fire if you can’t handle the burn…..