In a throwback to late last year, we caught up with legendary drummer Daniel Erlandsson of Arch Enemy, as they were winding down their tour with Amon Amarth, At The Gates, and Grand Magus. We chatted about the bands recent covers album, Covered In Blood, (Century Media), the decision to represent the entire career of the band on the release, reflections of 2017’s Will To Power album and tour cycle, the job Alissa White-Gluz has done since replacing Angela Gossow, comparisons to his brother Adrian (At The Gates) new material the band is already working and whether Jeff Loomis will get to contribute to the songwriting! Interview by Keefy, with sound production (and final question help) by Omar Cordy. Continue reading
From the cover art of their Winged Death (Century Media) 7” EP released back in May, to its 1970s style typeface and the name of the band itself, you don’t have to be a genius to work out that Swedish act The Lurking Fear are about all things old school Death Metal, and Lovecraftian themed horror. Continue reading
Set against a stunning and wholly appropriate backdrop of the genuine Ancient Roman Amphitheatre of Philippopolis in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Symphony For The Lost (Century Media), a double CD and DVD package, is a culmination of a seed germinated and cultivated over a decade before being actualized in a unique and special moment for a band that has made a genuine and lasting impact on European metal and beyond, as Halifax’ finest, Paradise Lost, achieve a long-held ambition of performing with a full orchestra (the Plovdiv Philharmonic) and the Rodna Pesen choir.
Split into two halves, the first set is the band performing a selection of tracks specifically chosen due to their natural allegiance to classical music – accompanied by the full orchestra and choir – beautifully scored by Levon Manukyan, known for classically reworking Marilyn Manson and Judas Priest along with collaborating with Tarja Turunen.
While Paradise Lost’s music does lend itself to the swells, crescendos and additional trimmings expertly and subtly applied by Manukyan, containing a lot of space, it is particularly pleasing how compatible the partners in this marriage are. While Metallica’s S&M (Vertigo) was a spotted affair, the eight tracks of collaboration here are perfect bedfellows, with ‘Victim of the Past’ from The Plague Within (Century Media) in particular enriched by the additional melodies and strings that dance over the intro and weave into the tapestry of the song.
‘Tragic Idol’ is a classy opener, and throughout Nick Holmes is in good voice while Gregor Mackintosh’s distinctive melancholic leads intertwine with the strains and descants flowering around him, before we are treated to a jaw-dropping, mesmeric rendition of ‘Joys of Emptiness’; the iconic (sic) track truly resplendent in darkest majesty. The doom-grandeur of ‘Gothic’ is the natural conclusion to a special first half of the show.
The one nagging disappointment is that, as with exposure to any good thing, the desire is, naturally, to want more, and the second half of the set, performed sans embellishments, leaves you wishing that they had the same orchestral touches and enhancements, particularly as the backing tracks splice in synths, strings and female vocals. It’s a minor quibble, as the band polish off the latter nine tracks with style and panache.
Deliberately eschewing the option of being too dramatic or cinematic with the shooting, the direction is an understated warts-and-all that suits the band, as does Holmes dry self-deprecating between song wit. The overall release is truly completed by the brilliant Bulgarian crowd, as you can feel their love for PL, and their gratitude at witnessing something special, in their honest appreciation and participation.
Paradise Lost is one of Britain’s greatest, most distinctive and influential bands. Symphony For The Lost is a fitting addition to their career and a well-deserved achievement.
Swedish extreme metallers At The Gates have been keeping themselves busy on the road, and venturing into new areas on each stop. Their venture took them to Knotfest in Devore, CA where they played to a packed second stage area on the Saturday of the two day event.
It has been over a year since they released At War With Reality, their first new album since 1994’s Slaughter of the Soul. Being away from the music scene under this moniker since the band stopped, guitarist Martin Larsson spoke about how different their writing approaches were, versus prior to their abrupt stop years ago.
“The actual writing [is] not much difference, but the collaboration is so much easier. Now we’re so spread out. In the 90s we were all in Gothenberg…um I wasn’t so nevermind…basically Gothenburg.”
“But now the drummer’s [Adrian Erlandsson] in London in the UK and three of us are in Gothenberg, and the bass player [Jonas Bjorler] is about three to four hours away in Sweden. With the internet and email and files to Dropbox and what have you, usually what happened on this album is Anders [Bjorler] made a demo and then once he’s satisfied, in a second we can all listen to it wherever we are and comment on it. Ideas bounce back and forth over the internet.“
“I think we spent the better part of a year just sending ideas back and forth and doing demos. We had such a full idea of the album already when we went into the studio. I think that’s the big difference – the whole collaboration is so much easier.”Photo Credit: Hillarie Jason
During the time away from the band, the various members were at various times involved in a number of other bands and projects. Frontman Tomas “Tompa’ Lindberg was involved in The Crown, Disfear, Skitsystem, Nightrage and Lock Up; guitarist Anders Bjorler was with The Haunted and now his solo project; bassist Bjorler is with the Haunted; and Erlandsson with Nehain, as well as his stints in Cradle of Filth and Paradise Lost. Larsson himself is currently playing with Agrimonia when At The Gates has down time.
Have doing other projects re-energized the members of At The Gates towards adding a new spark into the band? “Maybe in a way yeah. I guess doing other stuff always gets you excited to do At The Gates, I suppose. A lot of outside influences and ideas or whatever, so I guess so,” he said.
When it comes to the touring side, Larsson explained how they balance out who will be touring with what band and aligning schedules to make it work in the long run.
“With the other bands it’s first come first serve, so it’s an easy rule to follow. Whatever band gets the booking first has the privilege. All of us do regular stuff on the side or At The Gates is on the side. Mostly Tomas and Jonas have regular proper jobs. They work part-time during the week. We mostly play weekends. We’ve done that for this year since the album came out. We’ve done a couple of tours. We did a US tour for three weeks in March. Right after this we have a week in Australia and a couple of dates in Japan. It’s mostly weekends.”
“There’s a lot of travelling just doing weekends. I feel like I’ve been jet lagged constantly for about a year, but playing is such a pleasure. You don’t mind it at all. We’re privileged that we get to do this and that people still want to see us.”
Since the band has reformed, At The Gates has found themselves touring new territories they were unable to visit the first time around. Larsson spoke about some of their target areas they wish to hit.
“I’m a bit of an explorer myself. I always like going to places I haven’t been before. We’re going to South Africa in March. I’m stoked to do that. I’d like to play more in Eastern Europe and Asian countries. We’ll take it gradually.”
He spoke about their visit to China, one of the newest frontiers for many artists in recent years.
“We played China twice. Things haven’t really happened in China metal wise, but they’re starting to. First time we were there we played to 100 people, and the second time 200 people. There’s a progression. Things are happening. It’s exciting. It’s like when we started 25 years ago.”
Aside from their upcoming US tour with The Haunted and Decpaitated, he also unveiled another upcoming tour stop on a cruise. “The cruise in the Carribbean – 70,000 Tons of Metal. We’re playing that. This is the first time under that name. We did the Barge to Hell ones, which is kind of the same. That one had even more focus on the extreme metal. I guess this one is all around metal. It’s going to be great.”
Lastly, he talked about the possibilities of a new At The Gates record and whether it was realistic to talk about one yet. “No. I’m not saying we’re not gonna but we don’t know. The only plan we have at the moment is not quitting. So we’re going to take it as it comes. We’re already booked until August. Once this goes down we’ll just sit down and see.”
“We’re not going to push it. If there’s more music – fine. That’s good. I’d like it there to be more music but we’ll find out.”