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Sunday Old School: At The Gates Lays the Foundation for Melodic Death Metal

This week in Sunday Old School we return to the 90's, having revisited the late 1960's and early 70's with Black Sabbath, Budgie, and Blue Cheer. While the 90's are less than twenty years ago, can you imagine a time before melodic death metal and even metalcore cannibalized the same melodeath riffs over and over ad nauseum? Enough said. Nearly twenty years ago, Swedish band At The Gates formed and soon helped popularized a new sound called melodic death metal, which was largely associated with Gothenburg scene due to the efforts of In Flames and Dark Tranquillity around the same time. The imitators have been many and in recent years the line between melodic death metal and melodic metalcore has blurred so much that it is often difficult to tell the difference between the two.

At the Gates did not remain together for even a decade, but their impact on the metal landscape has been enormous. The band remained entrenched in the underground as their first few albums suffered from 80's quality (read: low) production. It was not until 1996's "Slaughter of the Soul" that had significantly better production and was released by Earache Records that the band started to break into the mainstream a little more. After their breakup, drummer Adrian Erlandsson, bassist Jonas Björler, and guitarist Anders Björler went on to form The Haunted, while Lindberg has been in bands such as The Crown, Lock Up, Nightrage, The Great Deceiver and Disfear.

Newer metalheads can check out At The Gates to see where so many modern bands have drawn their influences from.

The video below is a live track lifted from the 2008 reissue of the classic album "Slaughter Of The Soul" that comes with a bonus DVD. The DVD features a recently unearthed live show filmed in Krakow Poland in 1995. More videos follow after the jump.

At The Gates Live In Poland 1995

At The Gates - Live At Corona March 22, 1996

These videos, while not labelled as such, seem to be from the same show:

At the Gates - Slaughter of the Soul (Live)

Finally, here's At The Gates' "Kingdom Gone" Music Video

Visit Metalunderground.com every Sunday to get your weekly dose of Sunday Old School.

deathbringer's avatar

A self-described "metal geek," Doug Gibson has been listening to heavy metal for more than twenty five years and designed and coded Metal Underground.com from scratch over ten years ago.

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5 Comments on "Sunday Old School: At The Gates"

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Zukros's avatar


1. Zukros writes:

A good, albeit brief article, and it's good to see bands like Blue Cheer and At the Gates getting a bit more appreciation for all they acheived and inspired.

And it's good, for once, to see Dark Tranquillity named alongside In Flames - I've got tired of the number of people who forget the third of the Gothenburg three, without whom In Flames would almost certainly not have acheived its present fame.

And you have got a point there about generic, repeated riffs, but I find the better bands tend to have a degree of originality - Insomnium, Be'lakor, Mercenary, Shadows Fall and Nightrage, to name a few, all add their own flair to the Gothenburg style. A pity that they are overshadowed by the hundreds of bands who don't do the same.

# Oct 25, 2009 @ 10:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
TheMidnightCowboy's avatar


2. TheMidnightCowboy writes:

Seeing them live in NYC for they're reunion tour last summer was one of the best concerts iv ever attended. Great article, man. Hopefully some of the less knowledgeable fans of today's metal read this article and check out one of the best bands of the 90's.

# Oct 25, 2009 @ 4:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

3. Cynic writes:

Thank the gods for putting the "Kingdom Gone" video in, good stuff deathbringer. That's one of my fav vids of all time, true death metal and nothing else.

Also, people who like "Slaughter of the Soul" should definitely check out "Terminal Spirit Disease", which isn't much of a full length (6 new tracks) but has some incredibly underrated songs on it (like "The Swarm", which is one of the live tracks here). Cheers.

# Oct 25, 2009 @ 5:44 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Hammerheart's avatar


4. Hammerheart writes:

Great videos, deathbringer. At the Gates have always been one of my favorites.

Cynic: TSD is definitely a great CD as well.

# Oct 25, 2009 @ 7:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

5. deathbringer writes:

Glad you like it. I wasn't attuned to the underground in the early nineties, and didn't really find my appreciation for At The Gates until they were probably broken up (or soon to).

# Oct 25, 2009 @ 8:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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