Recrudescing with the classic Gothenburg sound at full throttle, Melo-death pioneers At The Gates alas return with their sixth studio album.
Well, it’s been quite a year for these dudes so let me bring you up to speed! Early March 2017 the band announced the departure of original lead guitarist Anders Bjӧrler, despite this loss their spirits were not tarnished. They pushed their creativity to reshape the band and pursue working on To Drink The Night Itself. Jonas Stålhammar was appointed lead guitarist, known by the members for almost 30 years and his experience in the 90’s death metal scene playing with bands such as God Macabre and Abhoth made him the exemplary replacement.
Der Widerstand introduces the record, delivering an instrumental of sombre and dark melancholy- a clever mechanism to set the tone for what the tracks covey lyrically. To Drink From The night Itself links to novelist Peter Weiss and The Aesthetics of Resistance, a volume bound by ideas of resistance to political power and striving to live through the social understanding of art. The band is by no means political, but the way of which the novel inspired the band is rather sublime. Both [Jonas] Björler and Lindberg have carefully crafted these lyrics together, of which Lindberg has stated in a previous interview “Our art means a lot to us. It’s the reason why we get up in the morning. So, we drink from the night itself. And I think our fans do too. The night is a metaphor for the essence of pure art.”
The title track certainly reminisces Slaughter Of The Soul; I wouldn’t necessarily label this as a weakness but I think there is an element of creative limitation. However, it’s paced and primarily focuses on the layers of melodic riffs, a distinct formula that the band is known for. The anthemic chorus will certainly go down a storm live. As for the following tracks I’m still indecisive on whether they’ll be just as memorable; the composition touches old territory and I get the impression that the band has shied away from trying something contemporary. But you know what? It works; it’s bloody meticulous and fulfils everything that we might expect from a solid melodic death metal record instrumentally.
As a fan of their older work I can’t really complain as such for being trapped in this nostalgic void, but if you’re listening to this record in the hopes for something fresh it may present a challenge. Not to mention, the album has been mastered in the UK’s Parlour Studios by our own Russ Russell, recognised for his stellar work with the likes of Napalm Death and Dimmu Borgir. This is undoubtedly showcased by his influence on how tight and structured guitar and bass complement each other.
Overall it’s been a successful comeback for the Swedish innovators and by no means will they be taking their upcoming summer tour by the guts!
* At The Gates return to the UK commencing 12.08.18 at Bloodstock Open Air *
To Drink from The Night Itself is set to be released May 18th, 2018.
Melo-death pioneers At The Gates alas return with their sixth studio album.