At the risk of repeating something I said not five days ago: The Swedish melodic death-metal group At The Gates are maybe my favorite active band in the world today. I’ll amend that, actually, since I’ve had almost a week to think about it: Maybe they are actually my favorite fucking band of all time. Truth! They’re up there. The music they make is exactly what I want music to be: crustpunk fury + existential dread + Scandinavian craftsmanship + Iron Maiden-style anthemic bombast + gigantic buzzsaw guitars played louder than fuck + the best extreme-metal vocalist in the history of the goddamn world. (Said vocalist being Tomas “Tompa” Lindberg, whose voice — against the actual laws of physiology as they apply to everyone else on the planet, and especially those who scream for a living — has gotten noticeably better, stronger, and more dynamic over the last three goddamn decades since he started in this biz as a kid playing in a tiny little band called Grotesque).
I’m not gonna go into all the biographical/historical stuff because I did that in the other post and also, who cares. At The Gates would be immortal icons even if they never dropped another note of music. They’d be giants for eternity even if they made new music and it straight-up sucked. But today they drop the lead single/title track/video from their upcoming To Drink From The Night Itself (their first album since 2014’s incredible comeback LP, At War With Reality) and it is ABSOLUTE GODHEAD. Like, for real: This is the most brutal shit they have ever done, and it is still as catchy, complex, and thrilling as their very best work.
Now look, I’m no fool. I know you’re gonna read these zealotic proclamations and think, “hyperbole?” Nope. Listen to the music! Tell me I’m wrong! I am in awe. IN AWE. If this is a fair representation of To Drink From The Night Itself, it could wind up being my favorite At The Gates album, which is…not even possible? I wouldn’t have thought so. Their 1995 album, Slaughter Of The Soul, is widely considered, like, the best Swedish death metal album of all time, if not the best death metal album of all time, period. And like I said up top, At The Gates just might be my own personal favorite band of all time. And now this? Tell you what: I will listen to this song nonstop for the next, say, six weeks. Let’s circle back then. K? Now YOU listen.
Oh hey here’s what Tompa had to say about the song. He sounds a little more coherent than I do.
So, for the first song to present to the public, we chose the title track of the album. Which is also the opening track of the record. To us, this gives a presentation of the attitude of the album: raw, hungry and desperate. It also gives an introduction to the whole concept of the record. We live through our art, and the whole album deals with the concept of art. Art as a tool either for revolution, or suppression. To drink from the night itself is just that, a metaphor for living and breathing through art. Of course the concept goes deeper than that, but this song is the heart of the concept, the fierce call to arms so to say. We are still at war, but this time we are fighting the abyss, the abyss of apathy and oppression. It is an aggressive song, but also contains a lot of the other elements of the band´s sound on this record. Melancholia, desperation and struggle. For the first video we chose to use Patric Ullaeus again, as he is good at capturing the raw energy of the band playing live. In the video you can also see glimpses of the art used for the cover, so it binds it all together nicely. Enjoy.
“Enjoy.” That is a fucking understatement, b. Anyway album deets as follows: To Drink From The Night Itself is out 5/18 via Century Media Records, and you can pre-order here.