Vera : At The Gates has written history in the early nineties. In retrospect they appeared to be the echelons of a new genre that would be labelled as the Gothenburg sound and soon bands like Dark Tranquillity and In Flames were spotted as successful equals. However the story of At The Gates did not last that long. After four albums – of which especially ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ (2005) is considered a milestone – guitarist Anders Björler left the band and the other members decided to put the band to rest. At The Gates was history, until the band reunited in 2008 to play some selected reunion gigs. After that silence came again, until they hit the road in 2011 and played all over the world. Only two years later the writing process of what would become ‘At War With Reality’ started. Drum rolls and flourish of trumpets wanted!
As said before, no less than nineteen (!) years after the legendary ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’, At The Gates considered that time was right to release a comeback album. It is true, in the meantime we were able to see the melodic death metal pioneers live at several occasions, but as singer Tomas Lindberg himself states: ‘The essence of a band is creating new music’. That’s exactly what they did now, in the successful line-up from days gone by. This means that the band in addition of Lindberg exists of the Björler brothers (Anders, guitar – Jonas, bass), Martin Larsson as second guitarist and Adrian Erlandsson on the drums. The band brims with self-confidence again, but they do suggest listening to ‘At War With Reality’ without thinking of the past.
That is not so easy, because the Spanish narrative intro is followed by ‘Death And The Labyrinth’ and that is an instant delight of familiar elements. The transparent guitar sound and the nearly hysteric screaming vocals of Lindberg remain the trademarks of this reinvigorated constellation hailing from Gothenburg. The album was recorded by Fredrik Nordström at Fredman Studios and mixed by Jens Bogren. It includes a deep-draught concept, that’s why we hear several spoken passages with an exotic tinge in the songs. A first highlight presents itself with the refined, dark ‘Heroes And Tombs’, while the atmospheric built up ‘Order From Chaos’ also joins our favourites. The songs are compact, but they do create enough space for magnificent, fervent solos of Björler and Larsson. As mid-tempo intermezzo, the instrumental ‘City Of Mirrors’ makes us dream away for a moment, to enjoy the extra dynamics in ‘Eater Of Gods’ and ‘Upon Pillars Of Dust’ to the max. The longest track happens to be the final one ‘The Night Eternal’. With its nice epic ardour we like to call this ending in beauty, since the plucking guitars and emotive solos are the crown on the work here.
The expectations for ‘At War With Reality’ were sky high. Are they redeemed? ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ might be not surpassed – but this is also due to some youth sentiment – but without any doubt At The Gates has a new album in the shops now that will please the fans grandly.