Swedish melo-death originators At The Gates released their new video for the song ‘The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)’ today. You can see the clip at this link or below:
Directed by Costin Chioreanu, the video has performance elements shot at the Rockstadt Extreme Fest in Romania on August 15. Chioreanu created the artwork concept of 2014’s At War With Reality (Century Media), as well as the animated video for the song ‘Heroes And Tombs’.
Guitarist Anders Björler commented: “Costin has been a huge part of ‘At War With Reality’ every step of the way. He did the magnificent album art and artwork as well as the impressive animated video for ‘Heroes And Tombs’. Now, he captures the magic of our visit in Romania a couple of weeks ago. A festival situated on the grounds of Transylvania.
“‘The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)’ was actually the first song written for the new album and contains elements from our entire musical history.”
Out of all of the annual big name tours that hit North America, none have been as consistent as The Decibel Magazine Tour. On April 10th at the Royale in Boston, Decibel provided a diverse, yet exciting lineup of newcomers, Vallenfyre, one of rising stars in doom, Pallbearer, metalcore titans Converge, and the legends in the flesh, At The Gates.
Vallenfyre, by Hillarie Jason Photography.
Kicking off the night was Vallenfyre who, even with an early set time starting at 5:30 in the early-evening, was greeted by a generous and excited crowd. With the Royale having a strict cut off time at 9:30 on a Friday night (I know, I know) the supergroup out of the UK only had time for a few quick songs. Having said that, they got in three songs from each of their albums with favorites such as: ‘Bereft’, ‘Cathedrals of Dread’, ‘The Grim Irony’, and ‘Splinters’. I will certainly be looking forward to seeing these guys again and so should you!
Pallbearer, by Hillarie Jason Photography.
Pallbearer hit the stage next to destroy the crowd’s ears and emotions with a wall of sound via doom metal. Obviously in the doom world, songs tend to run a bit longer than your typical song to truly hold atmosphere and provide a mood. Due to this, we only got three songs from the foursome from Little Rock, Arkansas. Boston got to hear ‘Worlds Apart’ and ‘The Ghost I Use to Be’ from the latest release as well as ‘Foreigner’ from Pallbearer’s debut album. Get on the bandwagon for this band as space is limited!
Converge, by Hillarie Jason Photography.
Next up to try and tear down the venue were local heroes, Converge. I will be honest and mention I have never truly been a big fan of these guys, but after seeing them live I think I like the taste of their brand of kool-aid. The adrenaline from the four men on stage had trickled down to the floor as fans started surfing right up and over the barricade to sing their favorite lyrics. The set list was very well constructed to allow for four tracks each from the two latest releases (All We Love We Leave Behind, Axe to Fall) and two tracks each from You Fail Me as well as the classic, Jane Doe. A few favorites heard were: ‘Dark Horse’, ‘Trespasses’, ‘Reap What You Sow’, and the closer, ‘Jane Doe’. I may not have known a single word to any of the songs played, but the sheer energy of this live set by Converge is enough to get me to come back for more.
At The Gates, by Hillarie Jason Photography.
Lastly, the gods themselves, At The Gates, took to the stage. Even given the time constraints, the Swedish legends were able to punch out a set list of 19 tracks! Obviously with a new album out (At War With Reality from Century Media) I expected quite a bit of new tracks. In total, the Boston fans got seven from the new album, 7 from Slaughter of the Soul and a few others sprinkled in. Some favorites/sing-a-longs played were: ‘Death and the Labyrinth’, ‘Terminal Spirit Disease’, ‘Raped by the Light of Christ’, ‘Suicide Nation’, and of course, ‘Blinded by Fear’. Even after being apart for all of those years, At The Gates can still bring it and boy do they bring it all. Easily one of the better shows that will hit the Boston market in 2015!
In Part 2 of Ross Baker’s feature interview with Tomas Lindberg, the subject of the legacy of At The Gates comes up, naturally. A modest figure, Lindberg contemplates the significance of the impact his group have made upon the modern extreme music scene somewhat hesitantly:
“The Gothenburg sound was a very diverse scene. We, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames and Dissection all sound very different. I think the second wave of bands like Arch Enemy and Soilwork are the bands that spawned the American Metalcore scene. These bands reference the originators and it has helped our legend grow but I don’t feel responsible for that movement. We are a death metal band.”
“I don’t feel guilty for the Metalcore thing as we don’t have anything to do with it at all.”
Nearly two decades on from revolutionary opus Slaughter Of The Soul (Earache) Gothenburg pioneers At The Gates are back with a new album At War With Reality (Century Media), a blistering release featuring all the hallmarks of their sound. Arguably the band who helped inspire the Metalcore movement, a scene the band are quick to disown, anticipation for the new record and subsequent tour has reached fever pitch. Lounging on the couch backstage at Manchester’s Academy, Tomas Lindberg takes a sip of Rioja as he explains what led to the genesis of the new album. “We are better listeners than we were in our early twenties. It was probably a big factor in our breakup. Everyone has a veto on decisions made concerning recording or touring. Working with other people, in other bands has helped us learn how to communicate more effectively. The idea of writing together came through Anders. He is the main songwriter and everything goes through him. Working with him again has been very fruitful.”
Considering the immense pressure and level of expectation which would preceed such a record after such a long time apart it was perhaps no surprise the group elected to begin writing and recording sessions in secret. “It could have been negative if we announced it to early. That way we only had to please ourselves.” The frontman pondered. “If we had got to seven or eight songs into the project and did not like what we heard we could have disbanded without anyone ever knowing. When we put the teaser video on YouTube back in February the album was more or less written. We had to be honest to ourselves and our fans and not second guess what we felt was right. That would be selling out.”
A teacher by trade, Lindberg does not rely solely on income from At The Gates to survive. An articulate and composed gentleman, he is happy to wax lyrical upon the concept behind At War With Reality which hinges on the works of a group of philosophers and writers who comprise a largely South American literary movement known as ‘Magic Realism’:
“I was inspired by the way these intertextual post-modern writers. I delved into post structuralism views about the perception of reality and how different people perceive it. These writers are often self-referential. A lot of the songs are influenced by their novels. The line from ‘Spanish song..’ is from a chapter in the book ‘From Heroes and Tombs’ of a nightmarish dream one of the main characters has about the concept of God. I felt it had to be read in this manic Spanish voice which Anton (Resseingger) delivered with such style. It takes you to a nightmare world!”
Indeed a couple of the song titles are derived directly from these tomes, ‘The Circular Ruin’ and ‘The Book of Sand’ both come from the works of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. “I have been reading these authors for a while and found the concept (of Magic Realism) very inspiring. The French philosopher Michel Foucault wrote a lot of essays about structures of power but he wrote one book which was about how language could be used to alter people’s concept of reality which is ‘Death In The Labyrinth’ that song essentially explains what the concept of the record is about is in that song. There is not only one reality or truth but many.”
“The magic realism movement was one born out of oppression and frustration. The ideas of these Latin authors were presented in such a multilayered way as they wrote to criticise the oppressive states in which they lived in places like Chile, Paraguay and Argentina. In ‘Heroes In Tombs’ (the movement) was already questioning how the establishment was “perverting the hearts of men.At War With Reality is somewhat a cautionary tale, a warning against globalisation. They could not explain their ideas openly so they did it through their work. We are not a political band but we are criticising the materialistic, superficial culture of today.”
In amongst the big boys now, with the Official Ghost Cult Top 10 Albums of 2014. Kicking off with albums 10 to 6, these were the attention and headline grabbing albums that provided the soundtrack to the year…
10. DEVIN TOWNSEND – Z2 (HevyDevy/InsideOut)
Not one but two aural explosions from everyone’s favourite Canadian ADD sufferer. Disk 1 showcases the epic pop-Metal melodies expounded on Epicloud, in a vibrant collection of melodies, twists and simply great tunes, while Disk 2 is the long awaited Ziltoid sequel, a more symphonic and aggressive take on the original. Devin has shown, once again, that no matter what project fills his head, he is a pure musical genius, with 3 albums (technically) in our Top 50.
“Double albums are notoriously difficult beasts to grapple with. If there’s a suspicion of ‘all filler, no killer’, that’s perhaps understandable given some of rock music’s recent inglorious past when it comes to musical heft. The common consensus on this sort of exercise ranges from how to edit Use Your Illusion (Geffen) into one digestible chunk; realising that, yes, Fleetwood Mac really did do ALL of the drugs when recording Tusk (Warner Bros) and, frankly, even Corey Taylor must think that there is way too much padding on House of Gold and Bones (Roadrunner). Breathe easier, then, as this is not a sprawling, indulgent mess. Z2 is indulgent and there is a LOT to get through but Z2 is two records being issued simultaneously rather than some attempt at a single, 23 song epic.”
9. AT THE GATES – At War With Reality (Century Media)
After a gap of 19 (NINETEEN!) years the Fathers of the Gothenburg sound released the follow up to one of the greatest extreme albums of time, the genuine legend that was Slaughter of the Soul (Earache). That they didn’t embarrass themselves is one thing, that they were able to ignite the flame of excitement in older fans and pick up newer ones, whose favourite bands swore by the altar of ATG is testament to their quality.
“At War With Reality is a genuinely worthwhile listen and worth the 19 year wait. It still sounds like At The Gates, not the razor-focused Slayer-worship of Slaughter of the Soul, although those moments are still present, but an all-encompassing At The Gates that draws from the band’s entire back catalogue. At The Gates have shown the world that they’re still the most powerful force in melodic death metal. At War With Reality does more than just prop up the band’s legacy, it enhances it.”
8. PALLBEARER – Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore)
Doooooooooooooom, beautiful doooooooooooom! Melancholy, poignant, mournful and emotive, the second album from Arkansas’ Pallbearer set new standards in textured 70’s styled doom, twining haunting, reflective leads, heart-felt impassioned lyrics and vocals, and down-tuned crashes.
“Superlatives and panegyrics are thrown around like confetti these days, and mostly for albums that just don’t deserve them. Here is an entity beyond words. The blend of crushing weight and sadness that twines with an almost paradoxical ascension to light throughout this quite magnificent set is sublime and inspirational. This willingness to puncture doom’s boundaries and travel outside them surely hails Pallbearer as the most important band of their genre right now.”
7. TRIPTYKON – Melana Chasmata (Century Media / Prowling Death)
The sound of decomposition in thick, gloopy, stained riffage, the darkest end of despair in musical format, the sound of utter personal devastation hammered relentlessly into your ears as Tom G Warrior continues the styling first unveiled on Celtic Frost’s swansong, Monotheist. Beyond the gloom, beyond the end of the universe, lurks Triptykon’s second opus magnificum.
“Still gloriously innovative at 50, the enigmatic and death-obsessed Thomas Gabriel Fischer returns with his latest and possibly most enigmatic incarnation. The darkly expansive Eparistera Daimones, the first Triptykon album, displayed a panoply of musical styles. Remarkably, sophomore suite Melana Chasmata sees a deeper mining of that creativity, reaffirming the band’s reluctance to be confined by any musical barrier and confirming the triumphant second coming of Gabriel’s most inventive, diverse and impressive guise.”
Perhaps the most hotly anticipated “pure” Death Metal release of the second half of the year, this Polish hate machine did not disappoint, with a career and genre defining masterpiece, adding to their impressive canon with an absolute killer of cemtex-infused vocal growls, blistering drumming, colossal grooves and excessive riffs. But this was no old school rehash, the Krosno krew enhance their wares with industrial touches, and an insinuation of Slipknot showing this is a thoroughly modern and quite exceptional Death Metal band.
“With this much skill at their disposal, looking back it almost seems embarrassing that they were ever doubted. To use a lazy comparison, Decapitated are like (Marvel Comics anti-hero) Blade; they possess all of the strengths of Death Metal and none of its weaknesses. And it’s increasingly evident they cannot be killed. Quite simply Blood Mantra is one of the finest Death Metal albums to be released now or ever and it’s difficult to see how it can be topped. One thing is for sure; Vitek would be proud.”
Few bands have the kind of legacy At The Gates managed to create in their relatively brief run in the 90s. That one album has had such an impact on modern metal is nothing short of amazing. But legacies can be double-edged. There’ll be many who say new album At War With Reality (Century Media) is the album of the year solely because it’s At The Gates, and they’ll be just as many saying it’s failure because it’s not an exact replica of their seminal 1995 record Slaughter of the Soul (Earache).
For the few who have actually waited to listen before they pass judgement, At War With Reality is a genuinely worthwhile listen and worth the 19 year wait. It still sounds like At The Gates, not the razor-focused Slayer-worship of Slaughter of the Soul, although those moments are still present, but an all-encompassing At The Gates that draws from the band’s entire back catalogue.
The riffs are still there; the guitar work of Anders Björler & Martin Larsson is as fast, furious and intricate as ever. The title track, ‘Death and the Labyrinth,’ and ‘The Conspiracy of the Blind’ all recall the band’s thrash-fuelled energy of Slaughter. Tomas Lindberg’s vocals are still savage, but they’ve aged into a deeper, more pained howl. But as well as the speed and the aggression, the album has its fair share of slower moments and dark atmospherics that recall earlier albums such as Terminal Spirit Disease or 1993’s With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness (both Peaceville).
The crisp production just adds extra weight to those crunching yet addictive guitar lines. The slow burning ‘Order from Chaos’ and ‘Heroes and Tombs,’ both brood over irresistibly catchy guitar lines, while the epic ‘Book of Sand (The Abomination)’ mixes relentless aggression with squealing melodic solos and breakdowns. While fans of ATG or melo-death will feel at home straight away, there are few dull or predictable moments.
The return of Carcass last year showed reunion albums didn’t have to hackneyed rehashes, and history has repeated itself in the best way possible. At The Gates have shown the world that they’re still the most powerful force in melodic death metal. At War With Reality does more than just prop up the band’s legacy, it enhances it.
At The Gates, certainly the most anticipated extreme metal album remaining on the 2014 release schedule, have just unveiled the title track from their upcoming album. At War With Reality sounds like what you were expecting from the band, despite the long layoffs. All the hallmarks of the “Gothenburg Sound” of 90s melodic death metal are present here: Harsh vocals, unrelenting rhythms and top notch riffs. The album drops on October 27th from Century Media Records.
From the Press Release
Today marks the debut of At The Gates’ first new material in 19 years: the title track from their highly anticipated album, At War With Reality, due out worldwide on October 27thvia Century Media Records! To hear this momentous single from the “Gothenburg style” melodic death metal pioneers, click the link below:
At The Gates’ Jonas Björler (bass) comments: “We have finally reached the moment for the unveiling of a first full brand new At The Gates song! We have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this record for the past year, and we are very happy to now present you the title track of ‘At War With Reality’. Let the journey begin…”
With the classic line-up of their latest masterpiece, Slaughter Of The Soul(1995), At The Gates recorded At War With Realitywith Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman (In Flames, Arch Enemy, Dimmu Borgir) and mixed with Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios (Opeth, Amon Amarth, Kreator). Never compromising their vision, this is an album that once again captures the honesty and integrity that has defined At The Gates, making them one of the most significant extreme metal names of the past 25 years. True devotees have always been excited by the band’s willingness to be diverse; At War With Realitycontinues that tradition after 19 years of anticipation. With this long-awaited album, “the greatest Swedish Death Metal band ever reclaims their rightful throne”(Decibel Magazine).
Fans can pre-order At War With Realitynow in North America:http://www.cmdistro.com/Search/at_the_gates
See below for an overview of the various album formats for At War With Reality: – Jewelcase CD (20 page booklet) – Digipak CD (20 page booklet; 2 bonus tracks; patch) – Cassette (limited to 500 copies worldwide) – Digital download – Gatefold 180gr. LP (20 page booklet; poster) – Ltd. mediabook CD (40 page booklet; 2 bonus tracks; patch) – Ltd. 3-disc artbook (48 page booklet; 4 bonus tracks; 5.1 surround mix DVD; patch) – limited to 3000 copies – Ltd. 2×10″ boxset (20 page booklet; poster) – limited to 1000 copies worldwide via CM Distro
The 12″ LP format will be available in the following colored vinyl editions: – Black (unlimited) – Transparent red (limited to 300 copies via CM Webshop EU) – Dark green (limited to 500 copies via CM Distro EU) – Clear (limited to 500 copies in Sweden) – Lilac marble (limited to 100 copies via CM Distro USA) *sold out* – Blue marble (limited to 200 copies via CM Distro USA) – Magenta marble (limited to 200 copies via CM Distro USA) – Ash grey marble (limited to 500 copies via CM Distro USA) – Silver (limited to 400 copies in the USA) – Gold (limited to 1500 copies in the USA) – White (limited to 100 copies; exclusive 2015 MDF edition in the USA)
At War With Reality standard track-listing 1. El Altar Del Dios Desconocido 2. Death And The Labyrinth 3. At War With Reality 4. The Circular Ruins 5. Heroes And Tombs 6. The Conspiracy Of The Blind 7. Order From Chaos 8. The Book Of Sand (The Abomination) 9. The Head Of The Hydra 10. City Of Mirrors 11. Eater Of Gods 12. Upon Pillars Of Dust 13. The Night Eternal
At The Gates + ROTTEN SOUND: 20.11.2014– Tampere (Finland) – Klubi 21.11.2014– Jyväskylä (Finland) – Lutako 22.11.2014– Helsinki (Finland) – Nosturi
At The Gates, GRAVE, MORBUS CHRON: 27.11.2014– Göteborg (Sweden) – Trägårn 28.11.2014– Stockholm (Sweden) – Arenan 29.11.2014– Malmö (Sweden) – KB
At The Gates, TRIPTYKON, MORBUS CHRON: 04.12.2014– London (UK) – Forum 05.12.2014– Manchester (UK) – Academy 2 06.12.2014– Glasgow (UK) – Garage 07.12.2014– Birmingham (UK) – The Oobleck 08.12.2014– Cardiff (UK) – The Globe 10.12.2014– Essen (Germany) – Turock 11.12.2014– Hamburg (Germany) – Markthalle 12.12.2014– Eindhoven (The Netherlands) – Eindhoven Metal Meeting 13.12.2014– Leipzig (Germany) – Conne Island 14.12.2014– Wien (Austria) – Arena 16.12.2014– Aarau (Switzerland) – Kiff 17.12.2014– Munich (Germany – Backstage Werk 18.12.2014– Antwerpen (Belgium) – Trix 19.12.2014– Cologne (Germany) – Essigfabrik 20.12.2014– Berlin (Germany) – Postbahnhof
At The Gates – live 2015: 08.01.2015– Istanbul (Turkey) – Garajistanbul 09.01.2015– Athens (Greece) – Stage Volume 1 10.01.2015– Thessaloniki (Greece) – Principal Club 16.01.2015– Bologna (Italy) – Estragon 17.01.2015– Rome (Italy) – Orion 18.01.2015– Trezzo Sull’Adda / Milano (Italy) – Live Club 31.01.2015– Dublin (Ireland) – Academy 21.02.2015– Bergen (Norway) – Blastfest 26.02.2015– Oslo (Norway) – Vulkan Arena 27.02.2015– Karlstad (Sweden) – Nöjesfabriken 28.02.2015– Umeå (Sweden) – House Of Metal 02.05.2015– Sundsvall (Sweden) – Pipeline 29.05.2015– Johannesburg (South Africa) – Carfax 30.05.2015– Johannesburg (South Africa) – Carfax
At The Gates line-up: Tomas Lindberg – Vocals Anders Björler – Guitars Martin Larsson – Guitars Jonas Björler – Bass Adrian Erlandsson – Drums
At The Gates selected discography: Gardens Of Grief/ EP – 1991 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 Purgatory Unleashed/ Live – 2010 At War With Reality– 2014