At the Gates
Early career (1990–1994)
At the Gates were formed in 1990 by former members of the death/black metal band Grotesque. They recorded a debut EP, Gardens of Grief, for the Dolores record label. The EP led seminal metal label Peaceville Records to sign the band, and they released their debut full-length album, The Red in the Sky Is Ours in 1992.
After the recording of their second studio album, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, founding member and guitarist Alf Svenssonleft the band in 1993 to pursue tattoo artistry, graphic novel illustration and his solo electronic-opera-black metal project Oxiplegatz. He was soon replaced by former House of Usher guitarist Martin Larsson, who the band knew from underground tape trading. The band continued touring Europe, and were filmed for a Headbangers Ball special feature in Nottingham, UK in July 1993.
Success and breakthrough (1994–1996)
In 1994, At the Gates released their third album, Terminal Spirit Disease, which was hailed as a breakthrough album.
The band continued touring and in 1995 released their most commercially and critically successful album: Slaughter of the Soul, on Earache Records. The album is regarded as their strongest death metal effort, compared to previous albums. This album firmly rooted the band as one of the leaders of the Swedish metal scene, the “Gothenburg sound” of melodic death metal. The band received international attention for the album, gaining them several U.S. tours and heavy rotation of the music video for Blinded by Fear on MTV in America, but despite this international success, the Björler brothers departed in 1996. The remaining members decided it would be impossible to continue without them, so the band broke up.
When At the Gates broke up in 1996, drummer Adrian Erlandsson, bassist Jonas Björler, and guitarist Anders Björler formed The Haunted. Tomas Lindberg went on working with different bands including Skitsystem, The Crown, Lock Up, and Nightrage. Erlandsson left The Haunted in 1999 to join Cradle of Filth. In 2001, Peaceville Records released an At the Gates retrospective called Suicidal Final Art.
At the Gates performing live at Metaltown Festival in June 2011
On October 18, 2007, At the Gates announced several reunion shows for mid-2008, including Getafe Electric Festival, Roskilde Festival, Ruisrock, Wacken Open Air, Graspop Metal Meeting, Sweden Rock Festival, Gods of Metal, Hellfest Summer Open Air and Bloodstock Open Air, as well as a tour of Japan with The Dillinger Escape Plan, Into Eternity, Pig Destroyer, and Mayhem in May 2008.
Anders Björler commented on the reunion:
“Well, it felt like the timing was right for once. We have been talking about a possible reunion for years now, but this was the first time everything fell into place. For me personally, it feels like getting closure. The break-up over ten years ago was abrupt and left a bad vibe between us that took years to get over. We have a better relationship today and a more relaxed approach to who we are and what we do. The time is right to get together and play some shows. Try to catch us live in the summer 2008. It could be your last chance.”
On the band’s official website, Björler declared that “it would be pointless to release something more than ten years after Slaughter of the Soul” and “would just disappoint people.”
When asked in October 2007 if the band was planning on writing a new album, Lindberg replied:
“No new record will be recorded. The legacy of Slaughter of the Soul will remain intact. It would be fun to write together, but not under the name of At the Gates.”
Throughout July 2008, they toured the US and Canada on what was dubbed the “Suicidal Final Tour”, and played their final UK show at Bloodstock Open Air on Sunday on 17 August 2008. They finished their last show in Athens, Greece, with guest The Ocean on 21 September 2008.
The band’s performance at Wacken Open Air in 2008 is available on The Flames of the End DVD boxed set, which also includes clips of songs from other venues and a documentary that covers the history of the band in its entirety.
In December 2010, the band announced a second reunion in their hometown (Gothenburg, Sweden), with plans to perform at Metaltown 2011. Later that month, they announced that they would perform at Bloodstock Open Air in Derbyshire, England.
On January 29, 2012, At the Gates announced on their official Facebook page that they would be doing more reunion shows in 2012. They appeared at the Brutal Assault and Vagos Open Air festivals in August, and also Resurrection Fest in Spain. They also appeared on board the Barge to Hell which sailed out of Miami in December.
In October 2012, Tomas Lindberg stated that he would not say “never” to the possibility of At the Gates recording again.
The band also confirmed some reunion appearances in 2013, including Sweden Rock Festival in Solvesborg and Heavy MTL in Montreal.
At War with Reality (2014–2016)
On January 21, 2014, At the Gates released a video on YouTube showing a distorted video with lines of text on it, followed by text saying “2014”, possibly hinting toward possible lyrics for an upcoming album. On January 27, the band revealed on Facebook via a new cover photo and profile picture, that their confirmed fifth record would be titled, At War with Reality and would be released in the fall of 2014 through Century Media.
Asked whether At War with Reality is At the Gates‘ final album or if the band will continue recording, Tomas Lindberg replied, “We can’t say really. We have no plans of stopping but we’ve broken promises before so it’s best not to say anything.” In numerous recent interviews members of the band have expressed interest in doing a follow-up album.
At The Gates concluded the touring cycle for At War with Reality in August 2016 with a festival appearance at Elb Riot in Hamburg, Germany.