I started listening to At The Gates in the early 90’s, and as a ripe teenager bought Slaughter of The Soul the day it came out. Even then, years before they were noted as anything more than an opening band, it changed my life and the way I listen to music. So when I heard the band was releasing their first new album in 19 years, my heart sank a little. Let’s face it, most comeback albums fall extremely short of recreating the magic you fell in love with.
So it pleases me to say, At War With Reality is the greatest comeback record in metal history! At least as far as I'm concerned. I’ve had the release about a month now, and for the life of me, I can not stop listening to it 5-10 times a day. Simply put, it’s the follow up to SOTS you were hoping for, with amazing 2014 production. It hooks you from the first listen, and only continues to infect you with their haunting melodies. When the record is over, you’re fucked because there’s nothing else of this caliber out right now. So you play it again, and again.
The album begins with a foreshadowing spoken passage “Sobre héroes y tumbas” (in English: On Heroes and Tombs) written by Argentine novelist Ernesto Sabato in 1961. From there the music rips right into “Death and the Labyrinth” and “At War with Reality” showing off some of the classic ATG you fell in love with. But if you could believe it, I think all the best songs on the album have yet to be publicly released. Tracks like “The Conspiracy Of the Blind”, "The Head of the Hydra”, and “Eater of Gods” are right up there with any SOTS classic. While songs like “The Circular Ruins” and “Heroes and Tombs” are less aggressive but more melodic and mature than anything ATG has done in their career yet. It's truly impressive to watch an already influential band go the extra step. Yet again, proving why they're influential in the first place.
In a nutshell, At The Gates has managed to retain their amazing classic songwriting while growing into a whole new mature beast at the same time. Without question the Gothenburg kings are keeping their legacy where it belongs, on top.
Rating: 5 out of 5
At War With Reality will be released October 28, 2014 via Century Media Records. Pre-order you copy here.