By Alex Young
Photos by Skylar Santimeau

http://atthegates.se
http://convergecult.com
http://pallbearerdoom.com

Legendary Swedish death metal masters At the Gates stormed the stage with their influential musical legacy of darkness, alongside American hardcore metal crossover band Converge and the melodic doom sounds of Pallbearer. With a line-up that showcased a wide range of all that is heavy, it’s no wonder the venue was erupting with infectious enthusiasm from metal-heads from along the West Coast.

American doom metal juggernauts Pallbearer invaded the evening with their massive sound and simplistic songwriting that truly embodies the philosophy of less is more. This is a band that can shatter the sound barrier with four chords, which makes them sound like an army of musicians. The band pens tracks that flood the audience like an ocean of sound when they play live. The band is reminiscent of the downtrodden doom of Electric Wizard mixed with the atmospheric melody of instrumental acts like Pelican or Palms. Although the band does have vocals, their songs largely remain instrumental and the sonic depth is astonishing.

Converge took furious charge of the audience with their hybrid sound that blends hardcore punk rock, thrash metal, and elements of psychedelic sonic abstraction woven together to create a unique musical mosaic within each song. Fans that love crossover bands that blur the lines between genres of heavy music like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Holly Springs Disaster should definitely give Converge their due credit. With a sound imitated by many modern hardcore bands, Converge cracked out tracks from their landmark record Jane Doe and their latest album All We Love We Leave Behind, with blistering intensity.  In a heartbeat, the band can swing from playing faster than Black Flag to slower than Black Sabbath. Lead singer Jacob Bannon took charge of the stage like he was ready to burn it to the ground, charged up fans and laying the groundwork for At the Gates – a band hailed as one of the most important death metal acts of all time.

At the Gates has truly mastered the dark art of death metal by releasing some of the most original, classic and influential albums within their genre.  They are credited for creating the “Gothenberg Sound” alongside acts like In Flames and Dark Tranquility. The band is currently celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their seminal record Slaughter of the Soul that immortalized the power of their sound and gave birth to bands that would go on to change heavy metal.

On tour in support of their newest record, 2014’s At War With Reality, the band remains as ferocious and bloodthirsty on stage as they ever have. With incredible rapid-fire machinegun drumming that seamlessly shifts gears within each song, and with relentless aggression and mechanical precision, tracks like “Slaughter of the Soul” and “Cold” truly came alive on stage.

Lead vocalist Tomas Lindeberg let his blood-curdling death metal snarl take command of show goers – his clarity of tone segregating him legions of death metal vocalists. The songwriting tag team of brothers, Anders and Jonas Björler that founded the sound of At the Gates played their instruments as if they were charging into battle.  Live, the band proves that they sound better with some of their tracks than the recorded version.

Terminal Spirit Disease ignited an inferno of passion and fury, sending tremors throughout the mosh pit along with classic cuts including “Suicide Nation”, “Under the Serpent Sun” and “World of Lies”.

For hardcore fans and newcomers alike, At the Gates still casts a massive shadow of influence with their engaging performance, as well as album that elevated the death metal genre and still stand as classics.

At the Gates Set List

  • Altar (Intro)
  • Death & the Labyrinth
  • Slaughter of the Soul
  • Cold
  • At War With Reality
  • Terminal Spirit Disease
  • Raped by the Light of Christ
  • Circular Ruins
  • Under a Serpent Sun
  • Windows
  • Suicide Nation
  • Heroes and Tombs
  • Nausea
  • Eater of Gods
  • World of Lies
  • The Burning Darkness
  • The Book of Sand

Encore

  • Blinded By Fear
  • Kingdom Gone
  • The Night Eternal

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