- At The Gates
- To Drink From The Night Itself
- Melodic Death Metal
At The Gates are another OG metal band bringing out a new LP in 2018, making it an exciting year across all the genres. They were one of the major pioneers of the Gothenburg death metal sound but we’re here to see if they did anything with that sound beyond helping to create it. A thing with ancient bands is that they usually try to stick to the older styles that inspired them to form a band, and then the styles of their peers that helped continue to shape the scene around them. They pretty much ignore the developing trends and genre combinations that are so popular right now. This is can good and bad… or it can just be a big bland in between.
To Drink From The Night Itself doesn’t make a whole lot of changes to the formula but it doesn’t waste their time or ours by putting out a bad product either. It just doesn’t inspire much. It’s death metal for when you just broke up with your girlfriend and so you’re drinking beers with a friend you don’t hang with unless you’re feeling destructive. On one hand it’s a necessary kind of music to have exist, on the other hand it doesn’t feel animated, like I don’t particularly want to move to it.
There’s a bit of repetition with the riffs – a lot of the time it’s very similar riffs throughout with variations on it played throughout. I swear “Der Widerstand” and “Palace of Lepers” use the same base riff, like the exact same riff. If you can get into the sound, then there is a lot of it here. I can give them that, they have a style and theme and then they stick with it consistently. Which is a long time to maintain that because this album has a ballsack worth of tracks. 17 tracks for a little over an hour worth of At The Gates’ brand of metal (for the deluxe version, otherwise 13 original tracks). Value for money if you’re a fan or even just liked some of their other stuff.
The highlights of the album are the guitars. Everything else kind of melds into the background and barely asks for any notice until key moments in a song. The guitars have a lot of moments to show off their high-pitched solos and clean guitar compositions. These are the times my ears usually perk up but beyond that there isn’t much to actually listen to, you mostly just put it on and hear it happening between intervals of getting distracted by the internet. The vocals are by no means bad, they’re perfectly suitable for the music. Perhaps even too suitable.
I would put this in the above-average category for the genre but not an essential part of it. At The Gates do have a unique sound but you’ll find better examples of it being implemented in their previous releases. In all honesty I think they are a talented band with some good ideas – It’s just the genre of melodic death metal that’s the real problem. It’s a genre based on big climatic and often emotional moments but the biggest chunk of the songs is tediously leading up to that moment. At The Gates definitely do a better job at keeping the lead ups aggressive at least.
Twenty – Or even ten years ago this would have been on all the top ten lists and essential metal recommendations. Since then A LOT of stuff has happened to metal, possibly in death metal more than any other genre. So many variations and fusions. The common presence of ‘core’ elements used and modern recording specifications. I’m not saying these are essential to the genre now – There’s plenty of old school sounding bands on this website that I love – but they would benefit from a sound mix that allows headphone wearers to be able to hear every little detail in the playing. The current mix is a bit muddled up on the backline and the vocals only sound a little louder than that.
Despite the problems mentioned above this is still a confident release from the band, they haven’t completely shit the bed or anything like that. It is awesome, they just repeat that awesome too much instead of making room for additional units of awesome.
At the very least they have one unit so it’s all good.