Swedish melodic death metal masters.
There are many things synonymous with the words “death metal”, but in its early days, “melody” was certainly not one of them. Swedish quintet At The Gates changed all that however, marrying the genre’s exhilaratingly heavy wall-of-sound approach with triumphant, stirring and memorable song writing and a distinctive melodic sensibility that is all their own. Right from their inception, it was clear that these Swedes would stand out from the pack, with their ’92 debut ‘The Red In The Sky Is Ours’ incorporating eerie, dissonant harmonies and even atmospheric violin passages, with vocalist Tomas Lindberg’s poetic, introspective lyrical themes setting them apart from the standard guts’n’gore fare of the their contemporaries. The band would refine and hone their sound over the next few years before teaming up with Earache Records and changing the face of extreme metal forever with their anthemic classic ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ in 1995, a record that harnessed unforgettable, arena filling hooks without losing any of death metal’s raw, unflinching power.
Though the band split up shortly after its release, ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’s impact was enormous, inspiring everyone from fellow countrymen like In Flames and Dark Tranquility to American metalcore heroes like Killswitch Engage and The Black Dahlia Murder to inject a healthy dose of melody into their otherwise relentlessly savage sound. Though frequently imitated however, nobody ever managed to nail down the sound quite like At The Gates did, with the group’s absence leaving a huge hole in the extreme metal landscape for years to come.
After enjoying success with other projects like The Haunted, Lock Up and Agrimonia, the band reunited for a one-off appearance in 2008. Given the electric atmosphere the band generated, with fields full of fans screaming along to bona fide anthems like ‘Cold’, ‘Under A Serpent Sun’ and ‘Blinded By Fear’, it would have been churlish not to continue, and sure enough the group pressed forward to complete two more studio albums and numerous world tours. After all these years, At The Gates’ revolutionary spin on extreme metal still sounds as fresh as ever, and years of playing together have turned them into an absolutely ferocious live act. Whether you want to bang your head to unstoppable brutality or sing along to some of the catchiest riffs and biggest hooks in the business, their headline set promises to be an absolutely essential experience.