Album Review – To Drink From the Night Itself by At the Gates (Century Media Records)

The melodic death metal legends that are At The Gates have released their 6th studio album called To Drink from the Night Itself. Released via Century Media Records, To Drink From the Night Itself has been receiving top reviews from critics and fans alike.

The Swedish metallers certainly stoked the fires of expectations with the release of some excellent singles in the build up to the album release. The first single was the title track, To Drink from the Night Itself. That was followed by A Stare Bound in Stone and then Daggers of Black Haze. You can read our thought son them by following the links but basically I loved them. I particularly like the unpolished edge to each track giving them a feel of older albums like Slaughter of the Soul.

To Drink From the Night Itself is the second album from At The Gates since their return from a ten year hiatus with 2014’s At War with Reality. Since then Jonas Stålhammer has joined the band on guitars in replace of the supremely talented Anders Björler. All other members remain in place so it is Tomas Lindberg on vocals and Martin Larsson on guitars. The bass is in the hands of Jonas Björler while drums are with Adrian Erlandsson.

To Drink

To Drink From the Night Itself gives us 12 tracks and 45 minutes of music. There are even a couple with relatively short names. Basically, the album is bloody good. Really, really impressive. Starting with an instrumental called Der Widerstand, loosely meaning The Resistance, sets the album up nicely. It is only a 90 second long track but has loads of melodic guitars and even brings in orchestral sections giving it a feeling of the grandiose. From there we delve straight into the two singles, To Drink From the Night Itself and A Stare Bound in Stone before the first taste of a new track.

Palace of Lepers is the fourth track on the album and is a really heavy one. A groove riff starts us off before the track jumps into life along with the arrival of the rasping vocals. The tracks stays fast and furious throughout with a bouncing riff and catchy drum beat until it nears the end when the style switches up into the perfect instrumental section. Crashing drums and melodic guitars keep the heaviness going but in a pattern you simply must head bang to. The final single Daggers of Black Haze comes next before we head back to new music for the rest of the album.

The Chasm and In Nameless Sleep come next. The former is a short ripper of a track with a catchy riff whereas the latter chucks in a perfect melodic slow down that builds into one of the best solos on the album. The Colours of the Beast has a similar melodic slow down but is overall a much darker, more sinister sounding track. The bass is prominent on this one and Lindberg’s vocals sound menacing. The slower, chugging riff offers something a little different than what you maybe expect from At The Gates.

To Drink

A Labyrinth of Tombs raises the tempo back up again with a blistering track that also ends with a fantastic solo before Seas of Starvation switches things up again. A gentle, but distorted melodic guitar starts us off before it suddenly jumps into life with a fast drum beat, vicious vocals and melodic guitar lines. There is line after line of guitar melody soaring all over the background of this track making it one of the most exciting on the album. The penultimate track is called In Death They Shall Burn. A  violent title for a furious track. Another great riff, as expected now, leads the song. Coarsely spat vocals and blasting drums build and build leading to an ending that will destroy pits.

To Drink from the Night Itself ends with The Mirror Black. A slow but ominous melody rings out at the beginning before it kicks in with a slowish tempo that will force you to headbang along to it. Higher toned guitar lines join the verses which see Lindberg singing in a slow, deep and almost demonic tone. It is a seriously heavy song but in a slower, brooding style. As it progresses you see At The Gates expanding on their sound a bit with the reintroduction of the orchestral section heard in the album opener. Basically the track fades into a 90 second orchestral section full of violins and choir chants. It sounds huge and actually quite black metal and definitely leaves you wanting more.

That closes out a truly fantastic album. At The Gates really seem fired up and hitting new peaks of variety and creativity. The raw production may not be to everyone’s taste but I do like it. It suits their sound so much better than a cleanly polished tone would. At 12 tracks, it is quite long so perhaps a track or two could have been trimmed but I wouldn’t want to choose which ones to drop. There is plenty of variety ont eh album with differing paces and riffs, a little orchestral start and end, some really heavy blast tracks and some more traditional melodic death metal ones. It is a great album and one I will be listening to for a long time to come.

To Drink From the Night Itself is available now on all the usual streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. You can pick up a physical copy from Century Media here. You can also grab a copy of this, and more from At the Gates at the links below. Keep up to date with news and release info from the band at their website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

At the Gates will also be appearing as a special guest at the UK’s best metal festival, Bloodstock. Get your tickets to that here.

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To Drink From the Night Itself by At the Gates (Century Media Records)
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