At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
Label: Century Media
Release Date: May 18, 2018
Formed in 1990 in Gothenburg, Sweden, At The Gates has been riffing and grooving for almost 30 years now. Considered to be some of the early pioneers of melodic death metal, the band has built a sizeable reputation for consistent quality and sound. With their wildly successful 1995 release, Slaughter of the Soul the band was propelled into the upper echelons of the death metal world. Now when they put out a top shelf record, it doesn’t feel like a surprise, rather it feels like the band simply doing what they know how to do best. Regardless, it is always great to see a band put out another successful record that lives up to its potential.
To Drink From The Night Itself starts of softly and slowly builds on the track “Der Widerstand”. It’s a very pretty track that sets up the album well. The title track kicks off the heaviness with some fast-paced hooks. The sound is so distinctly unique to At The Gates, that if you just heard this song randomly with no context, you’d probably at least be able to recognize it as being At The Gates. I think they have done a great job in maintaining their original sound throughout the years without sacrificing any growth or evolution in their sound. I really like the piano intro to “Daggers of Black Haze”. I’m a sucker for adding classical instruments to death metal tracks. I think they blend incredibly well and are a wildly under utilized element.
My one beef with this album is that there isn’t enough texture to the songs to really make individual tracks jump out. As a whole, it flows well and each song falls right into the next, but it is hard to tell where one track ends and another begins if you aren’t paying close attention. The tempo bounces between a few different speeds, but really doesn’t vary too wildly. The guitar tone is dead even across all the tracks so that doesn’t break up the monotony much either. This really is a personal gripe, but I think it is important to really emphasize the both the highs and the lows rather than sit in the safety of the center.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think To Drink From The Night Itself is a solid record. There are some really catchy riffs throughout that I caught myself humming for a few days. The production is absolutely fantastic as the record sounds like a very tight, well oiled death machine. At The Gates should feel proud of their work as it is another great achievement in a flourishing career. I do hope to be able to catch them live soon to really experience their sound in person.