One of the more melodic death metal bands to expand beyond Sweden and spread their sound across the world alongside peers such as Entombed, At the Gates played a significant role in the death metal genre before breaking up in 1996, leading to the formation of the Haunted. The group’s first lineup — Tomas Lindberg (vocals), Anders Bjorler (guitars), Adrian Erlandsson (drums), Jonas Bjorler (bass), and Alf Svensson (guitars) — formed in late 1990, recording the Gardens of Grief EP for the Dolores label. They toured Sweden with well-known groups such as Bolt Thrower and Dismember before eventually signing to Peaceville Records, who released their The Red in the Sky Is Ours album. In 1993, they replaced Svensson with Martin Larsson on guitar, released their second album, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, and toured the U.K. with Anathema and Cradle of Filth.
Next came their Terminal Spirit Disease album in May 1994, furthering the band’s reputation with critics, who championed their fresh approach to death metal. This acclaim also led to their signing by Earache, who released their Slaughter of the Soul album, which seemed a more realized approach to the melodic style of death metal the group had alluded to on previous releases. Unfortunately, just as At the Gates began to win even more acclaim — a nomination at the Swedish Grammys, heavy rotation on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, two successful U.S. tours with Morbid Angel and Napalm Death — the group splintered, with the Bjorler twins and Erlandsson forming the Haunted and Lindberg forming Hide.
The band reunited in 2007 to play a series of shows. They continued to perform live sporadically over the next few years, but claimed they would no longer record until, in 2014, a full 19 years after the release of their last album, they announced that they would be issuing a new studio effort. At War with Reality, a concept album inspired by the literary genre of magic realism, was released in October through Century Media and was every bit as powerful as their previous releases. After extensive touring, the band took a breather that was extended by the departure of guitarist and songwriter Anders Björler in 2017. Jonas Stålhammar (Crippled Black Phoenix, the Lurking Fear) was hired as a permanent replacement.
At the Gates re-assembled at Parlour Recording Studios in London with producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death, the Haunted, Dimmu Borgir) and completed their sixth full-length by year’s end. To Drink from the Night Itself was announced in January of 2018 with the pre-release of the title track single and video. The album was issued in May, just prior to the band’s summer tour. ~ Jason Birchmeier