AT THE GATES mix a ferocious blend of distinct melody and brutal riffs into a sound that is extreme yet remains memorably listenable. Hailing from Gothenburg in Sweden, the five piece have built a solid reputation for delivering greAt albums and frenetic live performances.
Formed in late 1990, the five piece recorded their 'Gardens of Grief' EP for the Dolores label, with a line up of Tomas Lindberg (vocals), Anders Bjorler (guitars), Adrian Erlandsson (drums), Jonas Bjorler (bass) and Alf Svensson (guitars). Following prolonged Swedish touring with the likes of Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Massacre and Immolation, AT THE GATES attracted the attention of Peaceville Records and after signing soon produced their debut album titled 'The Red in the Sky is Ours'. Released in November 1991, the album proved a hit with fans of the burgeoning death metal scene.
European touring with My Dying Bride surrounded the release, before the band issued their follow up, 'With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness' in August 1993. Replacing Alf with new guitarist Martin Larsson, they had by now built up a reputation for being a hard working touring act, and this was further enhanced by their debut UK show at Nottingham Rock City which was filmed for an MTV Headbangers special. This was followed by a short UK tour with Anathema and Cradle of Filth.
In May '94, the band unleashed 'Terminal Spirit Disease', an album which saw the band gain widespread acclaim. Kerrang! magazine hailed them as the natural successors to countrymen Entombed, although in truth the sound of 'Terminal...' had more in keeping with a modern day Carcass. More UK gigs followed, then European dates again with My Dying Bride and Anathema, before the band finally headlined Europe on their own with Seance and Ancient Rites.
In July 1995, the band were snapped up by Earache Records and immediately entered Studio Fredman in Sweden to record their debut for their new label, 'Slaughter of the Soul.' Taking the melodic edge further the band delivered a record that displayed all the power and rawness that AT THE GATES had been threatening, creating the most complete sounding album of their career. Keyboards were even added on one track, adding yet another dimension to their sound, and the critics noted its innovation, Kerrang! simply stating: "At The Gates hammer home the point that brutality can be melodic."
The band embarked on lengthy touring, beginning with a European jaunt with fellow Swedes Unleashed, and continuing into '96 with a nine date UK headline tour. In the midst of this, 'Slaughter of the Soul' was voted Number One album of '95 by Sweden's Close Up magazine, and was followed by a nomination in the best Hard Rock category at the Swedish Grammy Awards. In addition, the video for the albums lead cut, 'Blinded By Fear' was one of the most played MTV Headbangers Ball clips, so much so that the show was forced to ignore viewers requests and restrain from playing the track each week! The video was eventually nominated at the 1996 Kerrang! awards in the 'Headbangers Ball Best Video Category.'
Meanwhile, At The Gates continued touring, hitting the States for the first time with two full American tours, firstly with Morbid Angel, then with Napalm Death, interrupted by a five week European jaunt with Napalm Death and Crowbar, further establishing them as a major live force. Quite simply, if you don't believe melody and brutality can mix, 'Slaughter of the Soul' will most definitely prove you wrong.
Then, the unthinkable happened - five tours in under a year took their toll as a split developed in the band, culminating with the writing force of the Bjorler twins opting to leave. Feeling unable to carry the true spirit of At the Gates without its core members, the band called it a day, leaving 'Slaughter of the Soul' as a fine memorial. Happily, two new bands have risen from the ashes - vocalist Tomas Lindberg has formed Hide, a more Hardcore influenced outfit, whilst the Bjorler twins Anders and Jonas, together with drummer Adrian have formed The Haunted.