A few weeks ago, we were invited by Earache Records to a private screening of the new At the Gates documentary. The metal blogeratti was out in full force with members of MetalSucks, Metal Insider, Noisecreep and others in attendance. The documentary was edited by founding guitarist Anders Björler and is included on The Flames of The End 3-disc DVD.
Before the screening we had the opportunity to interview Anders and talk about the DVD. He talked about how it was a very nostalgic experience that helped bring the band closer together. He also implied this DVD is the last chapter in the At the Gates history. Watch the full interview here.
The piece starts off focusing on the early years of each member of the band, going into great detail about previous projects and the formation of the group. While some, if not most of this is common knowledge, fans of Sweedish death metal will certainly appreciate the history lesson given here. There is such great detail given in addition to cutaways to bootleg footage, vintage photos and fliers.
The documentary goes back and forth between a retrospective history of the band and footage from their 2008 reunion. It was incredible seeing footage of the band in their early stages practicing then flashed to the band playing the same song at Wacken Open Air to tens of thousands of people. The band gives an oral history album by album, with frontman Tomas Lindberg seeing the most face time. We see the schools where the met, the locations of venues they played as well as a ton of bootlegs throughout their career. Through it all, you see these are just a couple of regular dudes who "drank cheap beer and played death metal". It just so happened they became one of the most influential bands ever in the entire metal scene.
At a running time of over two hours, it may feel a little long. You get the feeling that certain things could have been trimmed down but seeing as though this was such a personal project it is completely understandable. The documentary is still entertaining throughout. Overall, I feel this is a must watch for any fan of At the Gates. The 3 disc package will also come with their pristine looking set shot at Wacken Open Air. The package comes out April 6th in North America and is currently available in Europe.