Sep 222014


The time has finally arrived: At the Gates have just premiered the title track from their forthcoming comeback album At War With Reality — their first new music in 19 years.

There have been considerable differences of opinion within the community of metal about whether this comeback was a good idea, and considerable speculation about what the new music would sound like — would it be in the vein of Slaughter of the Soul or more like the earlier albums? Well, now we have our first clue to the answers to those questions.

It’s hard to know how representative the title track is of the album as a whole, but I’m damned glad to have it. It’s a fast-paced song with racing, jabbing riffs, and it’s also immediately memorable. Tompa Lindberg’s vocals are by definition going to give the music a scarring, bloodthirsty quality, but the guitar solo is the sweepingly melodic centerpiece of the song. And yes, it’s a very melodic song — a very good one, in my book. By sheer coincidence, I was listening to the title track to Terminal Spirit Disease last night (because I really like that song), and this new one could easily link arms with it. Listen next….




  1. Awesome… but weirdly short.

  2. This is good stuff, and if the rest of the album sounds like this, then it will be a solid follow up to “Slaughter…” both in terms of quality and style. However, I think there are going to be a good number of detractors with a variety of opinions when this is finally released. I can see the younger generation who weren’t around when this band was being underwhelmed “Where are the blast beats?!”, I can see the curmudgeons being bitter and convincing themselves that this isn’t as good as the old stuff, and I can see the nerds (remember we didn’t really have the internet back in the early 90’s, and no internet metal nerds) getting all elitist and turning their noses up. That’s my prediction. Personally, I’m looking forward to owning this.

    • I for one think all of your predictions about the reactions will prove true. And like you I’m really looking forward to owning the album. I’m sure in my case there is a nostalgia factor at work, but for whatever reason, this first song is already a long way to convincing me that I’m going to really enjoy what they’ve done.

  3. It’s always funny when people say: the elitists or crumudgeons will hate it because of X, Y, Z.

    It’s like they have to convince themselves something they are hoping and praying is good, actually is, and a typical defense mechanism. God forbid anyone who doesn’t like it can have a valid point in the matter.

    Generally speaking, the skeptics are going to have a more truthful and enlightened opinion than those who WANT to like it simply because it’s an ATG record.

    • An interesting approach to what I said. In my case I’m not trying to convince myself that this will be good. It probably will be, but who knows? The rest of the album could be terrible. However, there will be people that adopt the “defense mechanism” you’ve spoken of here, for sure. The point I was making is that there will be people doing the exact opposite – convincing themselves that this is bad, for reasons that don’t always necessarily reflect the quality of the music.

    • Bullshit. It swings both ways. Many “sceptics” are already going to be predisposed to dislike an album… just as many fans are going to be predisposed to like it… no matter its objective quality.

  4. I, on the other hand, am trying to convince myself its better than I initially thought it would be.
    I definitely need to reserve my judgement for the album as a whole but I am lacking the enthusiasm to get excited based on the one song. Who knows, given the above conversations, expectation can be a bane or a boon.
    And in this case, maybe going in with little will result in leaving with a lot more.
    I certainly held my breath when I heard about Carcass releasing Surgical Steel. I expected it to be a clunker, despite my massive love for 99% of their work. Boy was I wrong that time.
    But had I gone in thinking “Oh this is definitely going to rule”, like I so often do, I may have been let down instead.

  5. The only problem I really see here is the impossible amount of hype they have to overcome. Its like when they first showed you Jason’s face in Friday the 13th, there was no way the movie would ever satisfy your imagination.

    After waiting almost 20 years for new material from At The Gates, can they really live up to all of our expectations?

    • That is indeed a problem for them, though I think it really depends on what the expectations are. There will be people who will be very happy if the music is of a similar style and quality to one or more of their previous albums (although those albums don’t all sound alike). And there will be people (like a certain someone further up this thread) who will have higher expectations (or maybe higher demands is a more accurate phrase), i.e., that the music reflect some kind of growth or change from what went before.

  6. this sounds pretty killer to me, and i have a lot of experience with killering. i was just killered by the new Cannibal Corpse earlier today.

  7. The fact is that ATG is not a divisive band that people either love or hate. All of their albums are solid and they never had any missteps or issues that damaged their ‘cred in people’s eyes.

    So again, generally speaking, people are overwhelmingly going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, you are going to have more people (especially the younger generation) fawn all over it, as you will have the old school cry out in protest that “this sucks”.

    You are always going to get the over praising and the overly critical for the sake of being both. But in this case, if the album is poor and they are called out on it, it’s going to be a little more “pure” than say Manowar.

  8. Hot damn, this track RIPS! I would have been more skeptical about a comeback album working prior to 2013’s explosion of awesome comeback records, but now I’m cautiously optimistic. Considering I’m too young for this album to feel like it needs to “follow up” SOTS, perhaps my expectations aren’t as large as other (I only hope for a killer album, and not necessarily an album that needs to compete with SOTS or be seen as a worthy follow-up (if you catch my drift – I realize I’m wording this pretty poorly).

  9. It was ok. I must admit I’ve never been way into this band, but I was trying to approach it from a neutral standpoint. The leads were good, the riffs and vocals were kinda lackluster, and… the song structure was just boring and obvious. It just didn’t seem like the “blood, sweat, and tears [they’ve put] into this record” really shines through with this track. It sounded like all the bands they inspired, but with less enthusiasm.

  10. Sounds like At the Gates to me… take them or leave they’re nothing if not recognizable. I’m hearing a lot of Terminal Spirit Disease here, personally, but I’m having a hard time getting psyched about it. It seems like where Carcass’ comeback was a fun as hell and refreshing throwback, this is amounting to formula. I could be wrong, though, but if this is indicative of the best the upcoming album will offer, it’s going to be a bit meh.

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