Me and At the Gates have a history. Not so long, but still a history. I met the band a few years ago when I opened my eyes to Melodic Death Metal and naturally the band came to me. I guess it was via some of those YouTube compilations. Not really sure. Fact is that I liked the band even more when I noticed that my son liked them as well. Bull’s eye.
To say that At the Gates is one of the pioneers of the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal scene is redundant, however necessary because it’s possible that some newcomer metaller may read this review. It’s also a fact that there lots of controversies about the band the paths they took throught the years. From where I’m standing there is no problem in changing. I take it for me that it must a pain to play always the same thing for years and years. The real problem is how the band changes. THereare bands that violate all their history in inexplicable and hard to understand changes. I won’t say names as we all know them. Well, At the Gates changes a lot and that’s fact however the band never changed its soul, its essence. The will to change was always there in the innerself of the band. So I guess for what I’ve heard.
This new album “The Nightmare of Being” has the winds of change that are the main feature of the band. From the beginning the fan may not see them all as go At the Gates slowly adding them to it as if they were preparing the fans to what would come. In general, the album doesn’t show too many changes as in a retrospect, however they are enough to the most radical fan of Death Metal even if considering that the most radical fan of Death Metal won’t in any circunstance listen to the band. In my opionion passions off, the album is really good. It’s varied and has its very moments of little insanity as in the opening track “The Nightmare of Being” whose vocals harsh contrast with the more intimistic instrumentals. Until there the album doesn’t sound too daring, or unreal to many fans. Things get jazzy from “Garden Of Cyrus” on as the track sounds as if it were from the soundtrack of some B movie from the 1980s. It’s not that the track is really bad, but I don’t like the sound of the saxophone. To be true, I dont like saxophone in any way. Maybe some trauma from the 1980s when I was a teenager and all pop songs had saxophones. “Garden Of Cyrus” is followed by the Iron Maidenish “Touched by the White Hands of Death” whose drumming in certain parts sound as if it were “Iron Maiden.” “The Fall Into Time” also has some winds of changes as it assumes an operesque mood with a neat instrumental that reminds a lot the 1970s jazz rock as John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Long story short, “The Nightmare of Being” is an album with many plot twists. For some it’s a good sign of a restless band that doesn’t allow itself to be always the same, to others a band that has lost their perosnality and is trying to reach larger audinces. Both are right and both are wrongt at the same time. As I like that kind of mix of the album, this ‘new’ music sounds awesome, but I agree to the ones that feel it too jazzy.
P.S.: If the fan really can’t stand the jazz rock mix, please avoid “Cosmic Pessimism.”
At the Gates “The Nightmare of Being” will be released on July 2nd via Century Media Records.
- Spectre of Extinction
- The Paradox
- The Nightmare of Being
- Garden of Cyrus
- Touched by the White Hands of Death
- The Fall into Time
- Cult of Salvation
- The Abstract Enthroned
- Cosmic Pessimism
- Eternal Winter of Reason
Watch “Spectre of Extinction” official music video here: