The full extent of At The Gates’ legacy is not something I can entirely comprehend, given that I was in diapers at their peak, when Slaughter of the Soul wreaked wonderful havoc on the ears of extreme music fans everywhere. Ultimately I discovered the group because their massive influence on bands to this day is undeniable; they were frontrunners in catalyzing extreme music. And although I was not there for their reign in the early 1990s, I could not be more thrilled that At The Gates has reclaimed their rightful throne as Swedish death metal gods. At War With Reality, their first album in almost 20 years, was well worth the grueling wait and is a testament to the tenacity and grit that allows this genre of music to persevere through generations.
After a creeping, spoken word opening that leaves the listener in a state of anxious terror, the album kicks off with the captivatingly heavy track “Death and the Labyrinth,” which pummels the listener, instantly smothering any doubts and confirming that At The Gates still has “it”.
The face-melting continues with the song “At War With Reality.” The riffage is as melodic as it is deadly and the solo is undeniably classic At The Gates, earning this piece of audible magic the highly coveted spot as title track.
My personal favorite song is the quick and dirty, mercilessly catchy tune “Upon Pillars of Dust.” This tune echoes that the Swedish legends’ 20-year hiatus was utterly well spent. At The Gates is clearly more developed, refined, and have progressed with the times without losing touch with their roots. This band is eternally a force to be reckoned with, and At War With Reality is a masterpiece that was absolutely worth the wait.
01. El Altar del Dios Desconocido
02. Death and the Labyrinth
03. At War with Reality
04. The Circular Ruins
05. Heroes and Tombs
06. The Conspiracy of the Blind
07. Order from Chaos
08. The Book of Sand (The Abomination)
09. The Head of the Hydra
10. City of Mirrors
11. Eater of Gods
12. Upon Pillars of Dust
13. The Night Eternal
Run Time: 52:41
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Check out the song “Death and the Labyrinth”