Sunday, April 12, 2015

At the Gates at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Tomas Lindberg
At the Gates was formed by former members of the death/black metal band Grotesque in 1990 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Within a few years, At the Gates became a major progenitor of melodic death metal, sometimes called the Gothenburg death metal sound. At the Gates released its most commercially successful albumin 1995 but disbanded in 1996. The band reformed in 2007 for a reunion tour before splitting again in 2008, then reformed again in 2010. At the Gates presently consists of original members Tomas Lindberg (vocals), Anders Björler (guitar), Jonas Björler (bass), and Adrian Erlandsson (drums), with early member Martin Larsson (guitar). At War with Reality, the band's fifth album and its first in 19 years, was released on October 28, 2014.

At the Gates headlined the fifth annual Decibel Magazine Tour, which ended tonight at a sold-out Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom. The concert marked At The Gates‘ first performance in New York since a pair of sold-out concerts at Irving Plaza in 2008. The stage darkened as the band's pre-recorded spoken word track "El Altar del Dios Desconocido" played over the public address system. At The Gates then stormed into "Death and the Labyrinth" from the most recent album. A hearty eight of the 19 songs performed were from this album, the rest of the set culled from highlights of the band's 1990s catalogue. The stage show was a no-frills performance, with Lindberg pacing the stage, stopping at the lip with one foot on a monitor to growl lyrics into the audience, and the flashy guitarists and bassist similarly working the audience. While not breaking new ground, At the Gates stood above similar bands simply through the music itself. Lindberg's blood curdling grunts and growls were backed by smooth, melodic guitar leads. The melodeath masters blazingly demonstrated muscle and finesse without sacrificing heaviness or thrash, and the band's stripped-down ferocious aggression powered the fluid melodic structure well. In the 1990s as in the present, this is where uncompromising thrash and dark metal best meet.

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