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Interview

At The Gates Already Looking To Next Album, Discusses "To Drink From The Night Itself" And More

At this year's edition of the Bloodstock Open Air festival, I had the privilege of speaking with guitarist Martin Larsson, of one of death metal's most respected names, At The Gates. Now on their second reunion, the band recently released their sixth album, "To Drink From The Night Itself" through Century Media Records, to follow up the well received 2014 effort, "At War With Reality." While speaking with Larsson, the musician revealed that the band are already looking ahead to their next album, while also shedding some light on "To Drink From The Night Itself" and the legacy of Swedish death metal. You can check out the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "To Drink From The Night Itself" is out now. It's a very worthy successor to "At War With Reality," very strong and very dark as well. What made it such a dark album?

Martin Larsson: I'd say just the way of the world in general. These are pretty bleak times we're living in. Good times as well, but let other people write about the good times.

Diamond Oz: And where does the title come from?

Martin: There was a line from the last album that we used for the title. The general concept is inspired by a German writer called Peter Weiss, he wrote a huge novel called The Aesthetics Of Resistance, which is the main inspiration for the album concept.

-Oz: This is the second reunion if you like, after reforming and playing some shows around 2008. What's different this time and did you see yourselves doing any more than one album when you returned?

Martin: It's slightly different this time. It's not like a comeback, we never went away other than losing a guitar player. We were supposed to write for about six months and it turned into eighteen months because we had to find another guitarist. It was one of the main songwriters that we lost but we're back on track. We never planned to have such a long break in albums. We waited a few years after coming back before we came to the point where we had to decide, "Are we going to be a proper band doing new music or are we going to be like a nostalgia act?" which can only last for so long. We're doing what we love, we want to go further and do this for real. We are very privileged that people still care but at the same time that's a testament that we're honest about what we're doing. People see that this is for real and we're not doing it just for the sake of it.

Diamond Oz: You mentioned losing Anders Björler, how different was the writing process for this album?

Martin: Well, when he gave us his notice it was kind of a relief because we sort of expected it, though we were hoping it wouldn't come, so we were able to release this pent up energy. Maybe we'll see when it comes to the next album but we do have a lot of inspiration and I feel like we're in a really good place right now.

Diamond Oz: It certainly sounds like you're in a good place musically and it's very exciting to hear that you're already thinking about the next album.

Martin: Well, you never know. We said before that we were not going to do a new album and we did so I'm not going to say that we're definitely going to do a new album but we're all happy. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow.

Diamond Oz: Aside from the obvious, the departure of Anders, what was different about "To Drink From The Night Itself" to "At War With Reality"?

Martin: We brought in some older influences, more so than the last album. Just generally trying to look ahead and try something new. On the last album we tried to bring in like a movie atmosphere, make things a bit darker and I'd say we went a little further with that on this one. Hopefully if there's a new album, we'll continue and go even further with that.

Diamond Oz: At The Gates are kind of a strange band in that you have a sense of accessibility for a death metal band. Do you think you're a little more accessible compared to say Unleashed, Dark Tranquility, Entombed or any of the other Swedish death metal bands?

Martin: I don't think we really think about our place in the big picture. I don't think bands do really. I'm not sure, we just do what we do. Every band is like the sum of their inspirations and influences. We're just trying to channel that."

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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