AT THE GATES Guitarist: People Forget That Early-’90s Swedish Metal Was Helped By the State

At The Gates

While discussing the early days of AT THE GATES, guitarist Martin Larsson said people tend to forget the role the state played in the creation of the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene.

The musician told Heavy New York during a recent interview:

“Honestly, there weren’t a lot of metal bands in Gothenburg back then [when At the Gates started in 1990].

“What we do now, making a decent living out of playing metal, it wasn’t even imaginable in the ’90s. It was just like a weird concept.

“What really helped back then was the municipal help with rehearsal rooms and music lessons. I think that’s often forgotten when you talk about the Swedish metal [scene], or whatever you call it – we had a lot of help from the state.”

Asked about the group’s influences, Martin replied:

“The way we grew up with all the old heavy metal music, it was dangerous back then in the early ’80s.

“That was extreme back then, and then we grew up within the scene when it gradually became more extreme, so we brought all that along with us when our music became more and more extreme.

“It’s just a natural progression of what we do – the combination of classic heavy metal melodicism and death metal… You don’t really think about these things. I don’t think it’s healthy.

“We just play. To us, it’s not melodic death metal – it’s just metal, and whatever form it takes, it’s just metal to us, and then it’s up to everyone else to categorize.”