10 Years. That’s how long it’s been since At The Gates reunited. I remember it fondly. The middle of the summer, July 11, 2008, to be exact. It was a hot day in New York City, I remember being nearly late to the show, so my friends and I squeezed into a taxi and made our way to Irving Plaza. I’m so small that I could curl up and sit on the floor while we allowed two more of our group to join us.
I remember the long line, we met more of our friends, I wanted the barricade. How bad of an idea was that? Screaming, loud guitar riffs, thrown into the metal barricade by hundreds of moshing fans and crowd surfers. My friend was so tall, standing behind me, throwing people over my head, I was forever grateful. I never thought I’d see At The Gates live, as they had already been broken up for many years when I got into metal. But I was aware of them. They, along with Dark Tranquillity and In Flames, making up the Gothenburg Three.
My friend said it best. It was the most wildest show he had ever seen. He said,”Before At The Gates started, I saw you up front. I was worried. I thought you’d get killed. As soon as the first “GO!” for “Slaughter Of The Soul” started, I didn’t see you up until now.” (when we had found each other after the show.) I was a sweaty, drenched mess, but I didn’t care. I just saw At The Gates. Nothing else mattered. I’d shower when I got home.
Fast forward to ten years later. My musical tastes have expanded, as did my encyclopedia of bands I had seen live. But some things remain the same. That is, that At The Gates show back in 2008 was the best live performance I had ever seen in my life. The only closest shows were Emperor back in 2007 at BB Kings in New York City, and Kalmah in 2011 at Theatre Plaza in Montreal.
Since then, I had seen At The Gates four times. I had seen them in New York, I had seen them in Philadelphia, I even saw them in a hot tub in the middle of the ocean. And here, I had seen them on Easter. On March 31st, 2018, ten years later, At The Gates played Philadelphia. At The Fillmore, the newest and upscale venue in the heart of Fishtown for the Decibel Magazine sponsored Metal And Beer Fest. Other bands who played were New Jersey’s Evoken, Pallbearer from Arkansas, Monster Magnet, also of New Jersey, among others. It was a night full of fun, friends, food, booze, and metal.
Once Monster Magnet was finished, it was time. The time we had all been waiting for. At The Gates were ready to take the stage. I was so excited. Despite this being the fifth time seeing At The Gates, it always feels like the first time.
The lights went out, the excitement was in the air. The first screams as they played their introduction,” El Altar del Dios Desconocido”, the crowd clapped and chanted “At The Gates!” “At The Gates!” the band hit the stage for “Death And The Labyrinth” and the crowd was ready. As soon as the first riff began, the crowd was ready to dance. A friend had asked me before they started,”Do people mosh to At The Gates?” I replied with,”Yes, they sure as hell do.”
And this was terribly evident during their most famous song,”Slaughter Of The Soul”. As soon as the first “GO!” was screamed, the crowd went berserk. Circle pits, push pits, crowd surfers, dancing, screaming, we all sang the words, shouting “Slaughter Of The Soul, Suicidal Final Art! Children-Born Of Sin, Tear Your Soul Apart!”
The atmosphere was electric.
We moshed to “Under The Serpent Sun”, we sang along with “Nausea”, and when their last song,”Kingdom Gone” played, we shouted for more. Despite being sick, my adrenaline was flowing, my excitement as well. At The Gates will forever remain one of my favorites. I absolutely love this band.
Go see them if you haven’t, I guarantee, you will not regret it.
-El Altar del Dios Desconocido
1. Death and the Labyrinth
2. Slaughter of the Soul
4. At War With Reality
5. The Swarm
7. The Circular Ruins
8. Under a Serpent Sun
9. Raped by the Light of Christ
10. Heroes and Tombs
11. To Drink From the Night Itself
12. Suicide Nation
13. The Book of Sand (The Abomination)
14. Blinded by Fear
15. Kingdom Gone