At The Gates – The Nightmare Of Being

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I have mentioned again how well At The Gates managed the reunion. Initially only for concerts without releasing an album right away. They only did it when they thought the right time had come and so far they have not disappointed us. Without trying to record “Slaughter Of The Soul Part II” but looking ahead. Which would be impossible anyway, since we are talking about one of the most important albums in the extreme sound.

Full-length number seven for Swedish legends and number three since the reunions. Here I can say that the band surprised me in a very good way, since it tries several different things and elements in its sound. This band has never been one-dimensional in its discography anyway. Do not imagine radical changes of course, their characteristic style remains.

I am referring to tracks such as “The Nightmare Of Being”, “Garden Of Cyrus”, “Cult Of Salvation”, “Cosmic Pessimism”, “Eternal Winter Of Reason” and the almost seven-minute progressive “The Fall Into Time”. Here we see the band in mid-tempo compositions, darker, more atmospheric, with acoustic parts and unusual for them melodic lines (I would characterize them as gothic), brass instruments, strings, keyboards, choirs as well as Tomas Lindberg trying clear vocals as a recitation that reminded me slightly of the good old In Flames (and not the current joke).

Of course, there are also songs with the classic structure, i.e. the fast thrashy melodic death metal with the characteristic sharp riffs that we find in “Specter Of Extinction”, “The Paradox” (the first two singles/videos from the album), the amazing “Touched By The White Hands Of Death” and “The Abstract Enthroned”. In some of them there are a few interludes of experimentation, but generally they follow the familiar musical style of the band.

Putting in the excellent but not polished production, we have a very interesting record, with At The Gates not being complacent and showing that they have an appetite to experiment with their music and not just stick on the well-known and successful recipe. Huge respect for this move. I would say the same of course if I did not like the final result. But not only do I like it but I also consider it one of the best I’ve heard this year.