At the gates

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At the gates
At the Gates at Wacken Open Air 2015
At the Gates at Wacken Open Air 2015
General information
origin Gothenburg , Sweden
Genre (s) Death Metal , Melodic Death Metal
founding 1990, 2007 (for a tour) , 2011
resolution 1996
Founding members
Tomas Lindberg
Jonas Björler
Alf Svensson (until 1993)
Anders Björler (until 2017)
Adrian Erlandsson
Current occupation
Tomas Lindberg
Jonas Björler
Martin Larsson (since 1993)
Jonas Stälhammar (since 2017)
Adrian Erlandsson
former members
Tony Andersson (1992)
Jesper Jarold (1992)

At the Gates ( English for “At the gates”) is a Swedish metal band. Founded in 1990, it initially dissolved in 1996. In 2008 a reunion tour started, during which farewell concerts that were once missed were given afterwards. After the tour ended on schedule, At the Gates decided to give more concerts. Since then two new albums have been released.

Band history

Active time

In October 1990 in Gothenburg emerged from the band Grotesque and named after a phrase of one of their songs, At the Gates acquired a recording contract with the music label Dolores Records with their first demo recording Gardens of Grief in May 1991 , through which the demo was released as an EP and - if also difficult to obtain - was perceived on a broad basis. Supplemented by the live impression that she left on the following tour with Dismember , Bolt Thrower , Massacre and Immolation , she was able to sign a new, well-paid contract with Peaceville Records . The first studio album, The Red in the Sky Is Ours , was released on July 27, 1992 via their sub-label Deaf Records, and it enjoyed unexpected popularity. This was followed by a tour of Europe together with My Dying Bride , after which work on the second studio album With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness began. When the recordings were completed, rhythm guitarist Alf Svensson was replaced by his friend Martin Larsson due to musical differences and other band membership. Following the release of their second album on May 7, 1993, the band took on English Nottingham Rock City - Festival part which for MTV's Headbanger's Ball Special was filmed. This was followed by another tour together with Anathema and Cradle of Filth .

In 1994 At the Gates released their third album Terminal Spirit Disease , which gave the band a high profile and has since been considered a milestone in the melodic death metal genre. Due to this success, the band toured first through England and then for the first time as a headliner across Europe.

On November 14, 1995, the band released their fourth album Slaughter of the Soul after another label change in July of the same year to Earache Records . A little later it was nominated for the Swedish Grammy for "Best Hard Rock Album" in 1995. In 1996 At the Gates completed a total of five tours, including in the United States with genre greats such as Morbid Angel and Napalm Death , until the band split up that same year.

After the dissolution

After At the Gates, front man Lindberg was involved in numerous bands and projects, for example The Crown , The Great Deceiver or the crustcore band Skitsystem . He is also a singer with Disfear and was involved in two albums by the melodic death metal band Nightrage . The Björler brothers and drummer Erlandsson founded The Haunted . Erlandsson later left the band to join Cradle of Filth.

In 2004 a tribute album was released for At the Gates called Slaughterous Souls - A Tribute to At the Gates .


At the Gates live at Summer Breeze 2016
Singer Tomas Lindberg live at Party.San 2016

In early 2005 rumors surfaced that the Gates musicians were planning reunion shows, but these were denied. On October 18, 2007, Anders announced on the band's official website that final farewell concerts were planned for 2008. In fact, there were appearances at the Belgian Graspop Metal Meeting or at the Wacken Open Air . On September 22nd, 2008 the band thanked their fans on their website for an "unforgettable summer 2008". The band couldn't say exactly how things would go on, but the band members' new projects had priority. On February 22nd, 2010 the live DVD The Flames of the End was released . This consists of three DVDs, each containing a documentary, the live performance at Wacken Open Air 2008 and all of the band's music videos.

At the end of January 2014, the band indicated with two teaser videos that a new album would be coming in 2014. This was officially confirmed by the band and record label Century Media on January 27th . The album was released under the name At War with Reality on October 24, 2014.


Basic music description

The music of At the Gates was classical Death Metal with high complexity at the beginning , but this characteristic is partly lost in the rather raw production of their first two albums ( The Red in the Sky Is Ours / With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness ). In later releases, beginning in 1994 with Terminal Spirit Disease , the style was mixed with harmonic melodies and thus modified. The songs became more catchy, but the fast and "brutal" character was retained. With Slaughter of the Soul at the end of their existence, they finally delivered their magnum opus , a work that set standards and served as a blueprint for subsequent bands. The death metal community appreciated it equally and raised it to cult: complex, brutal, melodic in one - and that in perfection. Even experts appreciated it, as the nomination for the "Swedish Grammy" Grammis 1996 in the HÅRDROCK category shows. Martin Larsson, who had told the Metal Hammer that you will "never make a perfect album, because then there would be no reason to continue", kept his word, even if the reasons for separation were in reality different. In addition, they were not at all of the opinion (at least in 1995) that they had landed a big hit: “Our best album with an epoch-making character has still not been written. We are slowly approaching our own benchmark. "

In retrospect, the last few albums are mostly defined as Melodic Death Metal, but this term was not yet in use at the time, which is why At the Gates is considered a co-founder of this subgenre .

Individual music description

Matthias Herr was only able to describe two albums (not counting the EP) due to the printing of his lexicon and did so with the two characteristics "high speed" and "hoarse larynx". For the authors of the Rock Hard Encyclopedia , these early years were marked by "aggressive death metal", after which the band "cautiously entered new territory" in their opinion. In the internal “Rock Lexicon” of the horror infernal magazine it can be read: “ There is also dark music behind the dark name! Death Metal of the mid 90's, hard, aggressive and yet not run-of-the-mill. At the places where other bands of the toughest pace get bored, At the Gates know how to convince. ” says“ typically Swedish Death Metal sound with catchy melodies ”.

Hanno Kress summarized the early phase in Rock Hard with the style tapeworm "Bombast- Grind- Death-Metal" and stated with regard to Slaughter of the Soul that classical music and cat music come together in a surprisingly harmonious and melodic way. Robert Müller called the style in Metal Hammer a technical, chaotic Death Metal with many black metal echoes. In a self-characterization to the magazine Bang , Tomas Lindberg said that in the early days you were very technical, you never gave up this complexity, but you made it more accessible. And compared to the horror infernal , the third album turned out "more brutal" than intended, because the structure of the songs is conventional and there is even a classically arranged instrumental piece. At first he approached the conclusion "Death Metal" in terms of self-categorization, by saying that it was Death Metal with Thrash Metal and Hardcore , with the vocals being assigned to Black Metal. The review in the same issue speaks of groovy guitars, brutally pounding sound, brutal vocals, classical elements and sticking melodies. David Ivanov attested “thrashing” and melancholy in his horror infernal review from November 1995 to the Slaughter-of-the-Soul album and moved the interpreters in the direction of Carcass . Incidentally, made the same assignment. In the interview, Lindberg disagreed with the latter. It is important to them to play fast and brutally, less important to be melodic. Carcass has become too slow and melodic.

Text descriptions

Robert Müller recognized on the debut a "literary level previously unattainable in this area", with which the listener is abducted into "the gloomy satanic abyss of the human psyche". The poetry and content reminded him of Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche . Matthias Herr demystified this statement by looking at the accompanying text sheet and countered that the lyrics of the second album were "ambiguous" and "immature", while those of the first were actually captivating. Hanno Kress found the texts set in a fantasy world simple and boring. Tomas Lindberg replied that he gave a lot of thought to death and what would happen to you afterwards. His explanations a year earlier in the Horror Infernal were more detailed : “The lyrics get blacker and blacker every time, also very nihilistic. I find these things even more depressing than most of the Doom bands. But hatred of everything is still anchored in it; H. against oneself and against society. It's just dark and I want to write lyrics to make the songs even more aggressive. The lyrics should be such that you can shout them out. I have to be convincing in what I sing. ”In response to further inquiries, he specified that his formulations remained abstract, that he received his inspiration - and with that he confirmed Robert Müller - from Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and their contemporaries.


Studio albums

year Title
music label
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placementsTemplate: chart table / maintenance / without sources
(Year, title, music label , placements, weeks, awards, notes)
1992 The Red in the Sky Is Ours
Peaceville Records
- - - - -
First published: July 27, 1992
1993 With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness
Peaceville Records
- - - - -
First published: May 7, 1993
1994 Terminal Spirit Disease
Peaceville Records
- - - - -
First published: July 18, 1994
1995 Slaughter of the Soul
Earache Records
- - - - -
First published: October 3, 1995
2014 At War with Reality
Century Media
DE25 (1 week)
AT39 (1 week)
CH51 (1 week)
US53 (1 week)
SE3 (2 weeks)
First published: October 28, 2014
2018 To Drink from the Night Itself
Century Media
DE10 (3 weeks)
AT22 (1 week)
CH25 (1 week)
- SE13 (1 week)
First published: May 18, 2018

More albums

  • 2001: Suicidal Final Art ( compilation )
  • 2010: Purgatory Unleashed: Live at Wacken
  • 2010: Live in Krakow

Video albums

  • 2010: The Flames of the End


  • 1991: Gardens of Grief



  • 1991: Gardens of Grief
  • 1992: Promo Demo 1992
  • 1995: Promo demo 1995


  • 1994: Gardens of Grief

Web links

Commons : At the Gates  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c d Matthias Herr: Heavy Metal Lexicon . Vol. 4. Verlag Matthias Herr, Berlin April 1994, DNB  980283302 , At the Gates, p. 19th f .
  2. a b c d At The Gates , accessed February 27, 2013.
  3. a b c d e At the Gates . In: Holger Stratmann (Ed.): Rock Hard Enzyklopädie. 700 of the most interesting rock bands from the last 30 years . Rock Hard GmbH, Dortmund 1998, ISBN 3-9805171-0-1 , p. 30 .
  4. a b c d e f g h i At the Gates biography. In: Musikbase. Retrieved May 18, 2014 .
  5. a b c David Ivanov: At the Gates . In: Horror Infernal . 54, August / September, 1994, pp. 38 f .
  6. a b Dietmar Storck: At the Gates. Revisited and improved . In: Bang! The rock magazine. 4, August / September, 1994, pp. 40 .
  7. a b c d e f At the Gates. In: Retrieved May 18, 2014 .
  8. At the Gates announce new studio album and sign with Century Media Records worldwide , accessed January 28, 2014.
  9. a b c d e f At the Gates Portrait. In: Musikbase. Retrieved May 18, 2014 .
  10. a b c David Ivanov: At the Gates. Suicidal Thoughts . In: Horror Infernal . No. 61 , November 1995, p. 63 .
  11. a b David Ivanov: At the Gates. Slaughter of the Soul . In: Horror Infernal . No. 61 , November 1995, p. 44 .
  13. a b c Robert Müller: At the Gates. Madness for grades . In: Metal Hammer . November 1993, p. 129 .
  14. a b c Hanno Kress: Bacilli and delusional fever. At the gates . In: Rock Hard . No. 102 , November 1995, pp. 60 .
  15. Thomas Michel: BYH !!! Review 2013. At the Gates. (No longer available online.) In: Bang Your Head !!! Festival. Archived from the original on May 18, 2014 ; Retrieved May 18, 2014 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. At the Gates . In: Horror Infernal . 57, February / March, 1995, Rock Lexikon, p. 13 (Rock Lexicon with its own pagination: p. 13 corresponds to p. 61 of the booklet).
  17. ^ David Ivanov: At the Gates. Terminal Spirit Disease . In: Horror Infernal . 54, August / September, 1994, pp. 53 .