One of the most popular death metal subcultures is Swedish melodic death metal – or Gothenburg metal. This term stems from the rise in popularity of melodic death metal in Sweden in the early 90s – a movement spearheaded by In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and of course, At The Gates.
At The Gates pioneered the Gothenburg sound by combining death metal with NWOBHM-style riffing and harmonics. Tomas Lindberg’s vocal delivery, death metal grows with a melody, are also signature element of the style.
But it was in 1995, At The Gates released their fourth album, ‘Slaughter of the Soul’, which is considered one of the most iconic and influential albums of the genre. The album was inducted into Decibel’s Hall of Fame, ranked 8th in Metal Injection’s 10 Most Influential Metal Albums, and included in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Shockingly, a year later, as the band saw skyrocketing success thanks to ‘Slaughter of the Soul’, At The Gates called it a day. They’d released a modern classic, and went out on a high, I suppose.
However, that wasn’t the end of the ATG story. Twelve years after they split, At The Gates reunited to tour, with huge enthusiasm from their fans. Labelled the ‘Suicidal Final Tour’, they band continued touring throughout 2008 and then went quiet.
It was another six years before At The Gates teased further activity via their social media, eventually announcing ‘At War With Reality’, their fifth album, and first in 19 years. Remarkably, after so long and with such a hard act to follow in ‘Slaughter of the Soul’, the album was a triumphant success.
Since then, At The Gates have actively toured, as well as releasing their sixth album, ‘To Drink From The Night Itself’ – it, too, being a success – and now prepare to release album number 7 in the coming days.
Somehow, after releasing a modern classic and dropping off the face of the earth, At The Gates managed to come back from a near two decade recording absence and pick up right where they left off – maybe even bolder than before.