At the Gates

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At the Gates
At The Gates HRL2016 1.jpg
At the Gates performing live at the Hard Rock Laager Festival in 2016.
Background information
Origin Gothenburg, Sweden
Genres Melodic death metal, death metal [1]
Years active1990–1996, 2007–2008, 2010–present
Labels Century Media, [2] Earache, Peaceville,
Associated acts The Haunted, Grotesque, The Crown
Past members

At the Gates is a Swedish death metal band from Gothenburg, a major progenitor of Gothenburg-style melodic death metal. [3] The band was initially active from 1990 to 1996, reforming in 2007 for a tour between April and September 2008. In 2011, they reformed again and have since continued to perform. They released At War with Reality , their first album in 19 years, in late 2014. [4]

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.

Gothenburg City in Västergötland and Bohuslän, Sweden

Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden, fifth-largest in the Nordic countries, and capital of the Västra Götaland County. It is situated by Kattegat, on the west coast of Sweden, and has a population of approximately 570,000 in the city center and about 1 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area.

Melodic death metal is a subgenre of death metal that employs highly melodic guitar riffs, often borrowing from traditional heavy metal. The style originated and developed in Sweden and the United Kingdom around 1993. The Swedish death metal scene did much to popularise the style, soon centering in the "Gothenburg metal” scene.



Early career (1990–1994)

At the Gates were formed in 1990 by former members of the death and black metal band Grotesque. They recorded a debut EP, Gardens of Grief , for the Dolores record label. The EP led seminal metal label Peaceville Records to sign the band, and they released their debut full-length album, The Red in the Sky Is Ours in 1992.

Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, heavily distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, raw (lo-fi) recording, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on atmosphere. Artists often appear in corpse paint and adopt pseudonyms.

Grotesque was a Swedish death metal/black metal band formed in Gothenburg, Sweden in September 1988 by former members of Conquest: Kristian Wåhlin (Necrolord) and Per Nordgren (Virgintaker), with the addition of Tomas Lindberg (Goatspell). The band was, however, short-lived and recorded a few demos and an EP. The band's original drummer Shamaatae formed the black metal band Arckanum in 1993. After the demise of Grotesque, Lindberg and Svensson started At the Gates, while Necrolord created his own band Liers in Wait and focused more on creating artwork for several bands including Dissection and Emperor. In 1996, three members—Goatspell, Necrolord, and Offensor—got back together and recorded two songs for the release of a compilation album, which was later re-released as a split album with At the Gates EP Gardens of Grief.

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. EPs generally contain a minimum of four tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

After the recording of their second studio album, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness , founding member and guitarist Alf Svensson left the band in 1993 to pursue tattoo artistry, graphic novel illustration and his solo electronic-opera-black metal project, Oxiplegatz. He was soon replaced by former House of Usher guitarist Martin Larsson, who the band knew from underground tape trading. The band continued touring Europe, and were filmed for a Headbangers Ball special feature in Nottingham, UK in July 1993.

<i>With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness</i> 1993 studio album by At the Gates

With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness is the second studio album by the Swedish death metal band At the Gates. It was re-released in 1993 with The Red in the Sky Is Ours and again in 2003 with bonus tracks.

Alf Svensson is a Swedish heavy metal guitarist. He initially played in Oral from 1984 to 1989. He temporarily entered Grotesque and Liers in Wait before joining At the Gates in 1990. He was their guitarist until 1993. In 1994, he reformed Oral to record an EP. He then formed Oxiplegatz, and went on to release three albums with them. He currently works as art director in First Planet Company.

Martin Larsson is a Swedish heavy metal guitarist. He initially played in The House of Usher from 1990 to 1993. After the band split up, he joined At the Gates, and was their guitarist until they broke up in 1996, and again when they reunited in 2007.

Success and breakthrough (1994–1996)

In 1994, At the Gates released their third album, Terminal Spirit Disease , which was hailed as a breakthrough album. [5]

<i>Terminal Spirit Disease</i> 1994 studio album by At the Gates

Terminal Spirit Disease is the third album by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates. It was released in 1994 and re-released in 2003 with bonus tracks. The band originally had wanted to record an EP of new material, but their label had insisted on a full-length album. To compromise, the band added several live tracks to pad the overall length.

The band continued touring and in 1995 released their most commercially and critically successful album: Slaughter of the Soul , on Earache Records. The album is regarded as their strongest death metal effort, compared to previous albums. [6] This album firmly rooted the band as one of the leaders of the Swedish metal scene, the "Gothenburg sound" of melodic death metal. [7] The band received international attention for the album, gaining them several U.S. tours and heavy rotation of the music video for Blinded by Fear on MTV in America, but despite this international success, the Björler brothers departed in 1996. The remaining members decided it would be impossible to continue without them, so the band broke up. [8]

<i>Slaughter of the Soul</i> 1995 studio album by At the Gates

Slaughter of the Soul is the fourth studio album by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates, released on October 3, 1995. It was their last album before their eleven-year breakup from 1996 to 2007. Slaughter of the Soul is considered a landmark in melodic death metal and played a major role in popularizing the Gothenburg scene, alongside The Jester Race by In Flames and The Gallery by Dark Tranquillity. The album was recorded and mixed in Studio Fredman, early 1995.

Earache Records is an independent record label, music publisher and management company founded by Digby Pearson, based in Nottingham, England with offices in London and New York. It helped to pioneer extreme metal by releasing early grindcore and death metal records between 1988 and 1994. The label roster has since diversified into more mainstream guitar music, working with bands such as Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement, Blackberry Smoke and The White Buffalo. The company also hosted the 'Earache Express' stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2017 and will be hosting 'The Earache Factory' at Boomtown Fair 2018.

A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery, and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or for food or other products. Although the origins of the music video date back to musical short films that first appeared in the 1920s, they again came into prominence in the 1980s when the channel MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these kinds of videos were described by various terms including "illustrated song", "filmed insert", "promotional (promo) film", "promotional clip", "promotional video", "song video", "song clip" or "film clip".

Post-breakup (1996–2007)

When At the Gates broke up in 1996, drummer Adrian Erlandsson, bassist Jonas Björler, and guitarist Anders Björler formed The Haunted. Tomas Lindberg went on working with different bands including Skitsystem, The Crown, Lock Up, and Nightrage. Erlandsson left in 1999 to join Cradle of Filth. In 2001, Peaceville Records released an At the Gates retrospective called Suicidal Final Art .

Adrian Erlandsson Swedish musician

Adrian Erlandsson is a Swedish heavy metal drummer, who currently plays in At the Gates, The Haunted, Netherbird, and Nemhain. He has also been a member of H.E.A.L. (1994–1996), Hyperhug (1994–1996), Decameron (1997), Cradle of Filth (1999–2006) and Needleye (2006–?), Brujeria (2006–2013) and Yorkshire doom metal band Paradise Lost (2009–2016).

Jonas Björler Swedish musician

Jonas Björler is the bass player of the melodic death metal bands, At the Gates and The Haunted. He was formerly in the bands Demolition, Infestation and Terror. He is also a qualified accountant.

Anders Björler Swedish musician

Anders Björler is a musician and a songwriter from Sweden. He is best known as the former guitar player in The Haunted and At The Gates. Anders also has a twin brother; Jonas Björler, whom he has played with in both At The Gates and The Haunted. Anders also released an instrumental solo album in November 2013 entitled 'Antikythera', which was inspired by progressive rock, post-rock, jazz and Italian film soundtracks. In addition to his music career, Anders also directed, edited and produced music videos, documentaries and in-the-studio features for bands like At The Gates, The Haunted, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity & Meshuggah.

Reunion (2007–2014)

At the Gates performing live at Metaltown Festival in June 2011 At The Gates-Live-Metaltown 2011.jpg
At the Gates performing live at Metaltown Festival in June 2011

On 18 October 2007, At the Gates announced several reunion shows for mid-2008, including Getafe Electric Festival, Roskilde Festival, Ruisrock, Wacken Open Air, Graspop Metal Meeting, Sweden Rock Festival, Gods of Metal, Hellfest Summer Open Air and Bloodstock Open Air, [9] as well as a tour of Japan with The Dillinger Escape Plan, Into Eternity, Pig Destroyer, and Mayhem in May 2008. [10]

Anders Björler commented on the reunion:

On the band's official website, Björler declared that "it would be pointless to release something more than ten years after Slaughter of the Soul" and "would just disappoint people." [11]

When asked in October 2007 if the band was planning on writing a new album, Lindberg replied:

Throughout July 2008, they toured the US and Canada on what was dubbed the "Suicidal Final Tour", [13] and played their final UK show at Bloodstock Open Air on Sunday on 17 August 2008. They finished their last show in Athens, Greece, with guest The Ocean on 21 September 2008.

The band's performance at Wacken Open Air in 2008 is available on The Flames of the End DVD boxed set, which also includes clips of songs from other venues and a documentary that covers the history of the band in its entirety.

In December 2010, the band announced a second reunion in their hometown (Gothenburg, Sweden), with plans to perform at Metaltown 2011. Later that month, they announced that they would perform at Bloodstock Open Air in Derbyshire, England.

On 29 January 2012, At the Gates announced on their official Facebook page that they would be doing more reunion shows in 2012.[ citation needed ] They appeared at the Brutal Assault and Vagos Open Air festivals in August, and also Resurrection Fest in Spain. They also appeared on board the Barge to Hell which sailed out of Miami in December.[ citation needed ]

In October 2012, Tomas Lindberg stated that he would not say "never" to the possibility of At the Gates recording again. [14]

The band also confirmed some reunion appearances in 2013, including Sweden Rock Festival in Solvesborg and Heavy MTL in Montreal.[ citation needed ]

At War with Reality (2014–2016)

At the Gates live at Summer Breeze Open Air in 2016 At the Gates 2016231182342 2016-08-18 Summer Breeze - Sven - 1D X II - 0834 - AK8I5737 mod.jpg
At the Gates live at Summer Breeze Open Air in 2016

On 21 January 2014, At the Gates released a video on YouTube showing a distorted video with lines of text on it, followed by text saying "2014", possibly hinting toward possible lyrics for an upcoming album. On 27 January, the band revealed on Facebook via a new cover photo and profile picture, that their confirmed fifth record would be titled, At War with Reality and would be released in the fall of 2014 through Century Media. [4]

Asked whether At War with Reality is At the Gates' final album or if the band will continue recording, Tomas Lindberg replied, "We can't say really. We have no plans of stopping but we've broken promises before so it's best not to say anything." [15] In numerous recent interviews members of the band have expressed interest in doing a follow-up album.

At The Gates concluded the touring cycle for At War with Reality in August 2016 with a festival appearance at Elb Riot in Hamburg, Germany.

Departure of Anders Björler and To Drink from the Night Itself (2017–present)

On 8 March 2017 in an official statement released by the band, they announced that Anders Björler had departed from the band. Despite Anders' departure, they went on to confirm that they are now working on a follow-up studio album to 2014's At War with Reality, which they are aiming to record and release in 2018. [16] In September 2017, Jonas Stålhammar was announced as the new guitarist to take the place of Björler on a permanent basis, but joined too late to be involved in the writing process of the new album. They entered the studio to begin recording the album in November 2017, titled To Drink from the Night Itself , which was released through Century Media Records on 18 May 2018.

Musical style and lyrics

The band's melodic and melancholic death metal style "would inspire the whole Gothenburg region". [17] According to Steve Huey, Slaughter of the Soul "lacked the intricate twin-guitar leads of In Flames, the complex song structures of Dark Tranquillity, the progressive artistry of Edge of Sanity, or even the rock & roll underpinnings of latter-day Entombed. Slaughter of the Soul was more rooted in American thrash (especially Slayer) than its peers, and didn't seem to be consciously trying to break new ground. It was simply a stripped-down, no-frills melodic death album that hit all the basic points of the style. […] It's also important to note that in place of the usual guttural death grunts, vocalist Tomas Lindberg here adopts a strangled shriek that keeps the lyrics somewhat intelligible." [6]


At the Gates were nominated for a Swedish Grammy (Grammis) for Slaughter of the Soul in 1996, but did not win. [18] They won the Swedish Grammy (Grammis) in February 2015 for the 2014 comeback album At War with Reality . [19] The band were also awarded the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Inspiration Award in June 2015. [20]



At the Gates


Studio albums

Related Research Articles

Tomas Lindberg Swedish singer

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The Haunted is a Swedish extreme metal band from Gothenburg formed in 1996. The original members were Anders and Jonas Björler, Peter Dolving, Adrian Erlandsson and Patrik Jensen. Both of the Björler brothers and Erlandsson were members of the seminal melodic death metal band At the Gates, a pioneering force in the Swedish death metal scene.

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<i>Suicidal Final Art</i> 2001 compilation album by At the Gates

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<i>The Red in the Sky Is Ours</i> 1992 studio album by At the Gates

The Red in the Sky Is Ours is the debut album by the Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates released on July 27th, 1992. It was re-released in 1993 along with With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness and then in 2003 with bonus tracks.

<i>Gardens of Grief</i> 1991 EP by At the Gates

Gardens of Grief is an EP by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates. This EP was later re-released as a split CD with Grotesque's In the Embrace of Evil album.

Liers in Wait were a Gothenburg, Sweden-based death metal band active between 1990 and 1995.

<i>The Flames of the End</i> 2010 video by At the Gates

The Flames of the End is a three-disc DVD set from Swedish metal band At the Gates. Its main feature is a 2-hour+ documentary detailing the history of the band and their successful reunion tour, directed by guitarist and founding member Anders Bjorler. The set also includes their set from Wacken Open Air 2008 on the second disc, and a collection of songs from various venues, music videos and deleted scenes from the documentary on the third. The set is packaged in a digipak with a 40-page booklet. Earache Records has also made available a limited-edition set including an LP, CD, shirt, belt buckle, keyring, patch and 4 plectrums. Bjorler has described the DVD as "a fine last document for the band".

<i>Purgatory Unleashed – Live at Wacken</i> 2010 live album by At the Gates

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<i>At War with Reality</i> 2014 studio album by At the Gates

At War with Reality is the fifth studio album and major label debut by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates, released on 28 October 2014. It is the band's first album since Slaughter of the Soul (1995), marking the longest gap between two studio albums in their career, though the reason for this length of time was the band's previous break up and for many years despite their eventual reunion, they initially had no plans to record another album. It is a concept album based on the literary genre of magic realism. At War with Reality received positive reviews from music critics, and music videos were released for "Death and the Labyrinth", "Heroes and Tombs", The Book of Sand " and "The Night Eternal". The album is the band's last studio album to feature co-founding guitarist Anders Björler, who had departed from the band in March 2017.


  1. Robert Müller: Satanische Verse. In: Metal Hammer , no. 6, June 1993, p. 159.
  2. "Century Media Records - At The Gates: : Announce new studio album; Sign worldwide deal with Century Media Records!" . Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  3. Ekeroth, Daniel (1 January 2008). Swedish Death Metal. Bazillion Points Books. p. 222. ISBN   9780979616310.
  4. 1 2 "At The Gates Announces New Studio Album, Label Home". 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  5. Morgan, Anthony (November 2007). ""The Flames of the End"? - Guitarist Anders Björler wishes to pen the final chapter in the glorious history of Swedish legends At The Gates". Lucem Fero. Archived from the original on 6 February 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  6. 1 2 Steve Huey: Slaughter of the Soul - At the Gates, accessed on 18 September 2013.
  7. "At the Gates | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
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  9. "It's Official: At The Gates To Reunite For Select Shows". Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  10. "Extreme The Dojo". Extreme The Dojo. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  11. Archived 14 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. "AT THE GATES Frontman Discusses Reunion, Touring Plans". Earache Records. 2007-10-30. Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  13. Decibel Magazine [ dead link ]
  14. "AT THE GATES Frontman On Possibility Of New Studio Album: 'I've Learned Never To Say Never'". 15 October 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  15. "Interview With At The Gates Vocalist Tomas Lindberg". 18 November 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  16. "AT THE GATES Statement - March 8, 2017". Facebook. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  17. Daniel Ekeroth: Swedish Death Metal. Second printing. Brooklyn, NY: Bazillion Points 2009, p. 222, accessed on 18 September 2013.
  18. "Grammis". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  19. "Grammisvinnare".
  20. "Golden Gods 2015".
  21. The History Of At The Gates - Under A Serpent Sun (English Subs). 9 July 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2015 via YouTube.