At The Gates - At War With Reality review




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Band: At The Gates
Album: At War With Reality
Release date: October 2014


Disc I
01. El Altar Del Dios Desconocido
02. Death And The Labyrinth
03. At War With Reality
04. The Circular Ruins
05. Heroes And Tombs
06. The Conspiracy Of The Blind
07. Order From Chaos
08. The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)
09. The Language Of The Dead [Limited Mediabook and Digipak edition bonus]
10. The Skin Of Fire [Limited Mediabook and Digipak edition bonus]
11. The Head Of The Hydra
12. City Of Mirrors
13. Eater Of Gods
14. Upon Pillars Of Dust
15. The Night Eternal

Disc II [Artbook edition bonus]
01. Language Of The Dead
02. The Skin Of A Fire
03. Re-Animation
04. Eater Of Gods

Disc III [DVD] [Artbook edition bonus] [5.1 Surrounded Mix]
01. El Altar Del Dios Desconocido
02. Death And The Labyrinth
03. At War With Reality
04. The Circular Ruins
05. Heroes And Tombs
06. The Conspiracy Of The Blind
07. Order From Chaos
08. The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)
09. The Head Of The Hydra
10. City Of Mirrors
11. Eater Of Gods
12. Upon Pillars Of Dust
13. The Night Eternal


Full disclosure: At The Gates is one of my favourite bands. And when I say that, I don't mean in my top 50. They are in the running for #1. It's been almost 20 years since the release of Slaughter Of The Soul, an album considered by many (myself included) to be one of the finest melodic death metal recordings ever. At last, they are back with a new album - At War With Reality.

Taking that intro into account, you would think that I'd be hyped out of my mind for the new album. Oddly enough, for one reason or another, I wasn't that excited about it. Most of the time, when a band comes out of hibernation to follow up a classic, they can't quite recapture whatever it was that made that classic special. That being said, At War With Reality captures some of what made its predecessor so great. First and foremost, the riffs in this album are some of the best that melodic death metal has to offer. They always carry the momentum of the music well and are written in a way that will often draw your ear to a couple different places and create a tension and release that is very rewarding to the ear. For me, the sheer quality of the songwriting (to be expected from a veteran group) really kept this album from getting boring.

Sadly, not everything on this album came together so nicely; the production in particular doesn't do it any favours. It's one of those sterile and indistinct productions you might hear on, for example, 99% of albums released on Nuclear Blast. In the case of this album, it certainly isn't enough to kill the music altogether, but I can't help but wonder how much of an absolute beast At War With Reality would be if the production wasn't holding back some of the fire on display in the songs. That being said, it's still a great ride, and the band has stuck to their roots of top quality riff-driven melodic death metal with some real pace to it. On songs like "Eater Of Gods" it gets downright thrashy, which is another good sign and harkening to the style that influenced Slaughter Of The Soul quite heavily.

At War With Reality isn't a mind-blowing album for me, but at the end of the day it's just really nice to jam to some At The Gates again. I can easily look past the production problem and just enjoy listening to one of my favourite bands do what they do. For some, the production and familiarity (on a band level anyway) will probably deter repeated listening, though.


 



Written on 10.11.2014 by Dallas... Salad


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 354 users
10.11.2014 - 08:54
Darth Satanious
Post Destroyer
Allow me to translate the awesome intro of this album, spoken in Spanish, and an excerpt from the book "On Heroes and Tombs" from Ernesto Sabato:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Heroes_and_Tombs

The unknown god's altar

At the arrival of the epoch of the raider gang I had already elaborated the following possibilities:
1.- God doesn't exist.
2.- God exists and is despicable.
3.- God exists but sometimes He is asleep, His nightmares are our existence.
4.- God exists but He has a fit of madness, those fits of madness are our existence.
5.- God is not omnipresent, He cannot be in all places. Sometimes he is absent, in another worlds, to other things.
6.- God is a nobody with problems way beyond His grasp. He struggles with material as an artist does with his work.
Sometimes, in some instances He gets to be Goya, but most of the time He is a disaster.
7.- God was defeated before the beginning of history by the Prince of Darkness, and defeated, committed as a presumed second devil he is devalued twice as it is attributed to Him this Universe of calamity.


This album was disappointing. The album began and it pumped me up to the max level. Then after the first couple of songs it got so fucking boring man. Some of the last songs go and lift the album up again, but the middle is very weak. The album feels like a sandwich with some awesome bread slices but with shitty contents in the middle.

The translation of the awesome intro I did above helps me describe this album:

Sometimes, in some instances the album gets to be Goya, but most of the time it is a disaster (maybe not a disaster but uninspired and bland).
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Christless
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10.11.2014 - 10:25
Wes
Nice Darth! That intro was extremely disturbing to me without knowing the meaning, and now you've confirmed it.
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10.11.2014 - 10:34
Darth Satanious
Post Destroyer
You find it disturbing Wes buddy? Listening to it brings fluffy feelings to my heart.
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Christless
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10.11.2014 - 20:08
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
I agree that this album was somewhat of a letdown. As forerunners, this is still better than any of the imitators that run amok, but it's just kind of flat. The opening track is weak (not the intro, the first proper song), the titular track should have openned the record. There are also a lot of snoozers. I was really surprised at the pacing after hearing the single. Maybe they used up all of their best riffs for The Haunted?
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Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
Listen to the Trench Talk podcast.
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10.11.2014 - 23:51
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
Written by flightoficarus on 10.11.2014 at 20:08

I agree that this album was somewhat of a letdown. As forerunners, this is still better than any of the imitators that run amok, but it's just kind of flat. The opening track is weak (not the intro, the first proper song), the titular track should have openned the record. There are also a lot of snoozers. I was really surprised at the pacing after hearing the single. Maybe they used up all of their best riffs for The Haunted?


I disagree that "Death and the Labyrinth" is a weak track. It's one of my favourite songs from the album, as well as the title-track. My favourite is the one-two of "The Book of Sand (The Abomination)" and "Head of the Hydra". Overall, this is a satisfying album that I enjoy listening to.
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The sun shines over The Fool...
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11.11.2014 - 00:05
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by Ace Frawley on 10.11.2014 at 23:51

Written by flightoficarus on 10.11.2014 at 20:08

I agree that this album was somewhat of a letdown. As forerunners, this is still better than any of the imitators that run amok, but it's just kind of flat. The opening track is weak (not the intro, the first proper song), the titular track should have openned the record. There are also a lot of snoozers. I was really surprised at the pacing after hearing the single. Maybe they used up all of their best riffs for The Haunted?


I disagree that "Death and the Labyrinth" is a weak track. It's one of my favourite songs from the album, as well as the title-track. My favourite is the one-two of "The Book of Sand (The Abomination)" and "Head of the Hydra". Overall, this is a satisfying album that I enjoy listening to.


I have tried to like Death and the Lanyrinth, but I just can't. Listened to it many times hoping it would grow on me. I just find it dull and anticlimactic. But yeat, Book of Sand and Head of the Hydra are excellent.
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Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
Listen to the Trench Talk podcast.
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07.12.2014 - 20:14
skydancer
Written by Darth Satanious on 10.11.2014 at 08:54

Allow me to translate the awesome intro of this album, spoken in Spanish, and an excerpt from the book "On Heroes and Tombs" from Ernesto Sabato:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Heroes_and_Tombs


Thanks for the translation and the info, I might just read this book. Lots of the lyrics on this album seem to be inspired by it. Slaughter of the Soul motivated me to read The Diceman by Luke Rhinehart, as Tompa claimed to have been inspired by it. It's always a nice experience to look at what's on his mind when he writes the lyrics for ATG.

As for my opinion on the album, it's nothing groundbreaking this time, just standard top-quality gothenburg face-melting. But nobody said it needed to be more than that.
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11.01.2015 - 16:33
Sturmulus
Ok, I know I am writing this a little late but I just got a chance to start listening to At War With Reality. So far I like it. So far its decent. Is it incredible, over the top change my life and music forever metal? NO! but who cares. Honestly I like your review because it was completely fair. However, I want to point out that I am disappointed in the new album because Slaughter of the Soul did just that. It slaughtered My Soul. It changed my views on metal in general and broadened my horizons. It had this in your face, we don't care what you think, kickass tone that most metal albums just do not have anymore. Maybe one day they will release an album like that again but I doubt it. For now I will just sit back and listen to the new At the Gates and know that they are still talented, they can still rock and it is great.
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11.01.2015 - 17:48
Mattybu
Written by Sturmulus on 11.01.2015 at 16:33

Ok, I know I am writing this a little late but I just got a chance to start listening to At War With Reality. So far I like it. So far its decent. Is it incredible, over the top change my life and music forever metal? NO! but who cares. Honestly I like your review because it was completely fair. However, I want to point out that I am disappointed in the new album because Slaughter of the Soul did just that. It slaughtered My Soul. It changed my views on metal in general and broadened my horizons. It had this in your face, we don't care what you think, kickass tone that most metal albums just do not have anymore. Maybe one day they will release an album like that again but I doubt it. For now I will just sit back and listen to the new At the Gates and know that they are still talented, they can still rock and it is great.


Thanks for the comment man. Slaughter of the Soul happened to slaughter my soul as well. At the time (earlier in my metal listening period) I hadn't heard anything so vicious yet carefully filled with awesome riffs and melodies. That album and The Jester Race definitely helped me to explore new avenues in music and many years later I still love them both.

It would be interesting to see how I'd react to this album if it were back then. Nowadays it's a type of music I'm more accustomed to (although I still contend that AtG has their own tricks and ways to be unique in the genre) and I'd say I'm a more careful and critical listener now than I used to be. Who knows, if this was my first melodic death metal album, it might have been an all time favourite for me. Like you said, the quality is there but it never quite goes off the rails. I guess where I'm going with this is that, hopefully, there are a few people out there without much exposure to melodic death metal/AtG who will hear this album and have their own horizons broadened.
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17.04.2015 - 09:15
Fisheth
Very late on this I know, but only got round to really giving it a listen. It's solid, but really, really, really safe. Would have liked to see a couple of risks taken with it. Love a few tracks on it though.
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08.03.2018 - 14:16
Marchosias
At The Gates has released their best effort with Slaughter Of The Soul and "Slaughtered our souls" as many fellow listener has expressed so eloquently. This does not mean that At War With Reality is a bad record. Its an impressive album with good aspects to it.

Nearly 4 years after its release i can still go back to it and listen. Sometimes something urges me to it.
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A mediocre metalhead.
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