No doubt one of the most welcome returns of 2014, At War With Reality sees the re-emergence on the extreme metal scene of Gothenburg legends At the Gates, a band that has influenced in some way nearly every metalcore or melodic death metal act out there today. Though it's been 19 years, the current line-up of Tomas Lindberg (Vocals),
Anders Björler (Guitars), Jonas Björler (Bass), Martin Larsson( Guitars), and Adrian Erlandsson (Drums) sound here like they never left. While it's silly to think that the band will recreate something along the lines of the seminal Slaughter of the Soul, truth be told At War With Reality is much better than expected, and leagues more enjoyable than much of what falls into the 'melodic death metal' tag these days.
Proof that the band 'still has it' can be instantly heard on the raging "Death and the Labyrinth" or the crushing, old school sounding title track. Slow, effective riffing and plenty of tasty lead guitars shine on the menacing "Heroes and Tombs", with Lindberg's ferocious bellows packing plenty of venom over the top. The band can still deliver the speedy melo-death they are famous for, as evident on the furious "The Conspiracy of the Blind", and it's hard to not get fully transfixed by the tumultuous riffing & drum blasting of the lethal, churning "The Book of Sand (The Abomination)", easily one of the highlights here on At War With Reality. "Eater of Gods" even toils in thrash metal realms, and does so quickly and effectively, one thing all the tunes here on At War With Reality seem to do. No need for epic length songs on this one, as At the Gates instead offer up standard length pieces that don't overstay their welcome and instead get the job done in just the right amount of time. "Upon Pillars of Dust" is another good example of this, as the frantic rhythms, monstrous riffs, and violent vocal attack provide for just under 3-minutes of savage death metal enjoyment.
I love being pleasantly surprised, and to be honest there was no guarantee that At War With Reality was going to be a 'slam-dunk' successful return for At the Gates, but that's precisely what it is. Along with the triumphant return of Carcass, we now have another legendary Swedish band kicking ass once again.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
01. El Altar de 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