It feels like we’ve been down this road before. It feels familiar, nostalgic.
As soon as you hear the opening riff to the title track, “To Drink From The Night Itself”, you’re probably thinking, “this sounds like Blinded By Fear!” Well…indeed, it certainly does. To Drink From The Night Itself was described to be a follow-up to Slaughter Of The Soul, At The Gates’ most successful, and well-known album.
The riff is a familiar one, but it is not unwelcome. Picking up where they left off with Slaughter Of The Soul, To Drink From The Night Itself is an action packed blast from the past trip clocking in at 44 minutes and 48 seconds. A fitting length, enough to keep one at the edge of their seats and headbanging for the entire duration.
To Drink From The Night Itself begins with a slow and haunting acoustic instrumental titled Der Widerstand, or The Resistance, it begins to pick up pace right at the end, as if a warning, warning the listener of what’s to come. The title track, “To Drink From The Night Itself follows this track, the first single off the album, reminiscent of “Blinded By Fear”, an excellent choice for the first single. It’s anthemic, while played live, it’s the kind of song you throw your hands in the air and sing along to. In a nod to their past, the video even seems to take place in the same area as “Kingdom Gone“, during their “Red In The Sky Is Ours” era.
“A Stare Bound In Stone” follows this track, this was selected to be their second single, the second music video off “To Drink From The Night Itself”. Even the title itself is a reminder of the past, similar to “City Of Screaming Statues” off their 1991 demo, “Gardens Of Grief”, and one of my personal favorites.
The riffs are unmistakably At The Gates, the sound we all know and love. The sound that influenced a generation of New Wave Of American Heavy Metal back in 2004, and who continues to influence bands from all over the world, today.
Prior to this release, At The Gates would lose the services of long time guitarist, Anders Björler, twin brother of bassist Jonas. A move that could have halted the band in their tracks, but they would soldier on, recruiting the services of Jonas Stålhammar, guitarist of God Macabre. A band recognized and well-known in the Swedish underground death metal scene, with a hint of melody. Quite the suitable replacement.
“At War With Reality”, released in 2014, was their comeback album. Released 19 years after “Slaughter Of The Soul”, it was a welcome back to the god-fathers of Swedish melodic death metal. “To Drink From The Night Itself” reiterates this. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint. It seems to send a message, that the originals are sticking around, and they’re here to teach the youngins a thing or two, with excellent riffs reminiscent of their colorful discography, the undeniably familiar sound that they created and continue to perfect to this day, and with vocalist Tomas Lindberg delivering some of his best vocals since Nightrage’s “Glow Of The Setting Sun”.
“To Drink From The Night Itself” is essential for any At The Gates fan. The album is a celebration of sorts of their entire career, picking up where they left off in 1995, and returning with a crushing, in your face package of melodic death greatness. Stand-out tracks include: “To Drink From The Night Itself, Palace Of Lepers, The Chasm, Seas Of Starvation, and In Death They Shall Burn.
It’s standard At The Gates, it’s nothing different than they’ve ever done in their careers, but it’s straight and to the point. As the old adage states,”Why fix something that isn’t broken?”, and for At The Gates, it works magnificently.