The tough part for At the Gates is always having to live in the shadow of that titan. Slaughter of the Soul. Having made not only the greatest death metal album of all time, but also the greatest swedish album of all time (yes, that includes Abba), casts a gigantic shadow over their whole career, especially seeing how no other album comes even remotely close to the greatness of Slaughter. Yes, I know some try to claim Terminal Spirit Disease is their best effort, but no, it nowhere near. And also how the band just vanished after this gigantic effort, never to resurface again. As Slaughter just grew and grew more and more to be one of the most influencial metal albums of all time, and the melodic death scene it spawned became more and more a world phenomenon, At the Gates themselves remained peacefully in their grave.
A shallow grave, perhaps. Once the band reunited in 2008, the sensation was tremendous. The same goes for the 2014 album At War With Reality. But once it’s out of the box, it gets harder and harder to keep the sensation going. Like I said, Slaughter is the bands only real masterpiece, and it seems logical that the bands reunion-efforts are more in the quality of the bands other albums. Which of course are good, but not what made At the Gates legendary. Therefore, I don’t think The Nightmare of Being is going to leave much more impact than their previous effort, To Drink From the Night Itself. After all, the band has ended up just being another one of the leading Gothenburg death metal bands.
But yeah, that’s kind of a problem as well. Because The Nightmare of Being IS a really guite good melodic death metal album. The old forces of evil and dark melodies are all here. I especially love the dark saxophone nightmare of Garden of Cyrus, that just doesn’t sound like anything the band has ever done before. Touched by the White Hands of Death is another great one that shows the band still have more to give. The more original and different the songs are, the more exciting it gets.
I really like this album. It’s neat. But it will probably never cause a sensation. Beacause the band is always gonna live in the shadow of that one great titan. But for that, you shouldn’t miss this.
Artist: At the Gates
Title: The Nightmare of Being
Label: Century Media
Date of release: 2/7 -21
Standout track: Garden of Cyrus