At The Gates @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (7/9/2008)

One of the big shows of 2008 was the reunion of Gothenburg Metal legends At The Gates. We were not originally supposed to be at this show because the logistics couldn’t be worked out for our attendance but at the eleventh hour our friend Jasmine St. Clair came through with an extra ticket. The show was a resounding success and be two nights of Metal. We documented our thoughts which you can all see by scrolling past the logo below.

Logo - At The Gates

Artist: At The Gates
Venue: The Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour, Toxic Holocaust
Date: 7/9/2008
Label: Earache Records

If you have been following the way that the Technical Death Metal scene has progressed and improved over the years, it is painfully clear that without the influences of bands like At The Gates that the geography of this Heavy Metal landscape would have been a very different place for us to experience. If you are among those who might require a little bit more background on this then you should be aware that At The Gates was one of the big three bands who founded what came to be referred to as “The Gothenburg Sound”. The other two bands are Dark Tranquillity and In Flames and each of them is still active in today’s Metal scene. At The Gates had broken up in 1996 and formed different projects that were taken to different levels and it wasn’t until 2007 that a reformation and reunion tour was planned. In 1995, the band released what was referred to as their most seminal work in “Slaughter Of The Soul”, and this genre staple would be the focus of tonight’s performance at The Fillmore NY in New York City. The original plan was for there to be only one gig but the immediate sell out of the first scheduled date led to the wise decision to add a second show. Oddly enough, this second performance would now fall before the original date making it the first show for the band in NYC. Supporting the band would be Darkest Hour, Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust and sadly I would arrive slightly after Darkest Hour had started and hence would find out that I missed the other two openers. What I did hear from Darkest Hour was pretty good and I remember seeing them at another show over the earlier year and felt that for this gig were much more on top of their game then I remembered them being that first time. So inside I was and was made aware that this new second/first show had also sold out in record time and everyone in attendance was hungry to hear these Gods of the Gothenburg sound without any question. When the house lights dimmed for their arrival it seemed like all Hell was breaking loose.

The band got right into it and it was another one of those shows where when the moment the first notes were hit that the bodies propelled themselves in all directions. Outside the venue it was an uncomfortable hot evening but inside the usually tolerable Fillmore NY, it was like being in a subway car during rush hour as the audience crammed themselves together in their quest for the best vantage point to enjoy the show. The roiling mosh pit never helps matters and makes the sidelines where relative safety can be found all the more crowded, but you couldn’t blame these folks for their reaction as this material has not been performed live by this band in over ten years. These reunions would celebrate all of the bands releases together but maintain a healthy focus on their pivotal “Slaughter Of The Soul” CD. As result of this a full nine tracks would be delivered from this album alone and the remaining tunes would come from their other releases. The show was nothing less than a stunning display of Melodic Death Metal power as Tomas Lindberg, Anders Bjorler, Jonas Bjorler, Martin Larsson, and Adrian Erlandsson performed as if they had no gaps in their playing together and had been at it since this particular albums release so many years ago. Of course we all know that the Bjorler Brothers had been very active as member of The Haunted, but that band has a different approach to what they did with At The Gates and to be honest I was happier to see them back in this combination for a change as I feel their work with The Haunted doesn’t truly showcase just how incredible they are. The drums were tight as all get out and the growling courtesy of Lindberg called you to attention like never before. It was difficult to find any particular highlight to this evenings gig as every song managed to get you going in the back area of the venue or deep within the midst of a swirling circle pit.

For me the only downside of the night was the fact that I missed Muncipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust entirely and only caught some of what Darkest Hour was doing. I had heard some good things about these openers and always hate when I have that kind of information and then end up missing their set. However, these were very short sets and I am sure that we shall find each of them returning and doing a longer gig sometime in the future. That is the great thing about NYC, everyone wants to blast through town and deliver the Metal for the eager fans. Another downside was that I was not able to be my photographer side self this evening based on me being a guest of someone else at the last minute. This normally would have bothered me greatly but based on the volatile crowd that I was watching I felt some levels of sympathy for my comrades in arms down in the photo pit. While they only get three songs down in the trenches, the looks of fear and being worn down had me view them as if they had just been rescued from the depths of Hell.

These reunions were apparently the only ones that would be done by the band and there are no plans of the group recording new material together. This means if you missed it, you missed it and would not get the chance to witness this again. Of course we all know how reunions work in the music business and often if there is enough demand and finances for doing such a thing that we might see them performing together again. My hope is that some of this was captured on film somewhere so those who were there can relive it again and again and so those who didn’t enter can at least be put at some manner of ease.

Set List:
1. Slaughter Of The Soul
2. Cold
3. Terminal Spirit Disease
4. Raped By The Light Of Christ
5. Under A Serpent Sun
6. Windows
7. World Of Lies
8. The Burning Darkness
9. The Swarm
10. Forever Blind
11. Nausea
12. The Beautiful Wound
13. Suicide Nation
14. All Life Ends
15. Need
16. Blinded By Fear
17. The Flames Of The End’ (tape).

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