At The Gates - To Drink From The Night Itself review


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Band: At The Gates
Album: To Drink From The Night Itself
Release date: May 2018

01. Der Widerstand
02. To Drink From The Night Itself
03. A Stare Bound In Stone
04. Palace Of Lepers
05. Daggers Of Black Haze
06. The Chasm
07. In Nameless Sleep [feat. Andy LaRocque]
08. The Colours Of The Beast
09. A Labyrinth Of Tombs
10. Seas Of Starvation
11. In Death They Shall Burn
12. The Mirror Black

At War With Reality was a good album… but this is where At The Gates comes back. There's no mistaking that sound, the sound that had been scrubbed and polished away from At War With Reality just the way Surgical Steel and Deceiver Of The Gods stripped away the filthy lustre from Carcass and Amon Amarth.

At War With Reality sounded like a modern melodeath album, everything front and center, bared for inspection; heavy, perhaps, but lacking in subtlety, and musically, too, At The Gates evaded much of their trademark ingenuity. To Drink From The Night Itself, living up to its sultry, ominous title, pulls back the vocals and summons the obscurity that cloaked Terminal Spirit Disease. That dusky tone, those eldritch riffs… Sure, it ain't like it's 1994 all over again, but it has been a long time since we heard that cavernous rumbling, and there's some real crunch settling back into the sound. At The Gates isn't atmospheric, per se - there is much too much fury and activity in these songs for that - but the menace conjured up by these groovy melodeath tunes is so striking and enveloping that not only is it immediately apparent whom we're listening to, but the songs get that much of an extra boost.

In terms of production alone, To Drink From The Night Itself feels like the resurgence of a side of At The Gates that we have not seen in a long time. Tompa's intense, wicked screams and the fluid instrumentation make this album come alive. This is At The Gates, packed with heavy moods and unique, twisting riffs that take the concept of melodeath for a dark, dark ride. From a songwriting perspective, this album takes most of its cues from With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness and The Red In The Sky Is Ours - not quite as accessible or groove-filled as Slaughter Of The Soul, still steeped in the constant shifts and raw aggression of older death metal, but full of oddly catchy melodies nonetheless. To Drink From The Night Itself has enough standout tracks to make it a serious contender for album of the year even without taking into consideration the good will attached to the name of At The Gates. "A Stare Bound In Stone" says it all, but "Daggers Of Black Haze," "A Labyrinth Of Tombs," "The Colours Of The Beast," and the title track continue to drive the point home. I will admit that none of the singles stuck with me, taken alone on their release; heard in the context of the full album, however, each gains a new energy and becomes part of a powerful whole.

As I said, At War With Reality is a good album, one that I return to frequently and something hardly worthy of intense criticism. Hearing To Drink From The Night Itself, however, it seems that this is the true comeback album. With that in mind, it is true that this album is no radical departure from the formula of past At The Gates material; folks expecting some evolution will likely be disappointed to find that this is yet another album of ATG-style melodeath played ATG-style, but that's precisely what I am looking for. The songwriting itself offers enough variety for me and the overall sound of At The Gates has become so addicting that I don't require a radical departure; in fact, To Drink From The Night Itself sounds even more like the olden days than At War With Reality, which is a strong plus for me.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8


Written on 17.05.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 7   Visited by: 275 users
18.05.2018 - 00:57
The Nothingth
Either you've gotten a lot better at writing in the past year, or I have just been finding more time to read your reviews lately, but either way I gotta say I really enjoy them, even though I often disagree or feel like you're being too generous.
I'm not a big At The Gates fan, but I never really mind listening to them so I'll probably end up giving this one a listen. Your mention of the first two albums has got me slightly more excited though, since I feel like those are the band's best.
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
18.05.2018 - 09:47
Written by Zaph on 18.05.2018 at 00:57

Either you've gotten a lot better at writing in the past year, or I have just been finding more time to read your reviews lately, but either way I gotta say I really enjoy them, even though I often disagree or feel like you're being too generous.

He can't be too generous. It's HIS rating. If yours is different, it's fine. But you can't judge his rating

That being said, I'm having difficulty getting into this album. After 2 listens nothing really stands out, all songs blur together. I did notice that the second half of the album seems to be slightly more progressive than usual. At The Gates deserve a second chance, so I'll keep listening
Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
18.05.2018 - 11:27
I'll be picking this up for sure. I liked 'At War With Reality' but I didn't love it. I thought all the ingredients for a great album were there, except for decent lyrics and some hooky riffs. The lyrics were way too abstract to have that gut-wrenching realism of the 'Slaughter of the Soul' lyrics. I don't understand why Tomas is being so distant and coy.
Anyway, like I say, I I'll be picking up the new one and giving it plenty of air time before I judge it.
18.05.2018 - 21:26
Now I want this!
19.05.2018 - 17:27
Mr. Doctor
The self-titled song impressed me quite a bit. Most likely due to my low expectations. I'm a big fan of the first two albums (not much anything else) and I do hear some similarities although most of the songwriting is more comparable with "Terminal..." and "Slaughter...". But yeah, the sound itself feels darker. I will have to listen to the whole album then. Great review once again!
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
25.05.2018 - 09:11
Good review has usual ! Pretty interesting album overall. The only thing I can't stop thinking while listening to it is that Dark Tranquillity did it so much better since so much albums, especially their last one...but nonetheless pretty solid album !!!
26.12.2018 - 20:03
They still mantain their roots so vividly, and altough it´s not super original, it´s still a great record.

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