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At The Gates – The Forum, London – December 04 2014 (Live Review)

Friday, 05 December 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

A pesky winter chill tickled London as At The Gates brought some Swedish weather, an immaculate support bill and their first new material in 19 years to the capital. There was, from the word go, more than a passing chance that things might get a little rowdy.

Young hopefuls Code Orange performed to a gradually filling floor, but their caustic concoction of all things nasty had little effect on this particular At The Gates crowd. Which was a shame, because the title track to the band's 'I Am King' record sounded absolutely huge and bassist Joe Goldman hurled himself about as a few kung-fu types flailed their limbs in the pit. It was a gritty – albeit slightly contained – affair, and one that should probably have been experienced in a sweat-box rather than the Forum's cavernous halls.

Morbus Chron seemed to tickle the proverbial fancy of many in attendance, though, and their doomy death metal was churned out with resolute power. But, as with Code Orange's set, polite applause was the default response.

And then we had Triptykon. Tom G. Warrior strolled onto a stage adorned with H. R. Giger artworks, plucked his guitar strings and signalled the start of Goetia, and from there on it was a war of attrition. It truly takes endurance to get through a Triptykon show, with riff upon riff smashing skulls into tiny little pieces as Warrior’s barks peel the skin from ears.

V. Santura's backup death growls changed things up a bit, and when the band kicked into a rollicking rendition of Celtic Frost's Circle Of The Tyrants, a heaving circle pit erupted on the dancefloor. Tom might have smiled. We've never seen a 51-year-old man punish a guitar with such spite in our lives, and we can't wait to see what the master of misery comes up with next.

At The Gates are anything but miserable. Taking the stage and tearing into new track Death And The Labyrinth, everyone’s favourite melo-death band proved why they are the best in the game.

Going straight into Slaughter Of The Soul and Cold, At The Gates showed they weren’t playing. Prowling across the stage and screaming into the mic in trademark fashion, Tomas Lindberg ushered in an hour or so of utter bliss. With Terminal Spirit Disease, Raped By The Light Of Christ, Suicide Nation and more getting rolled out, it's debatable whether the quantity of twin-harmony tunes aired is legal. Even Lindberg's dodgy, echo-prone microphone couldn’t undermine their power.

Fresh tracks from 'At War With Reality' sat exceedingly well on the setlist and, while they're not met with the same fanboy reaction as the old stuff, Lindberg managed to get the entire venue chanting along to the title track in a primal, chest-beating display of brilliance. For the encore, Adrian Erlandsson pummelled his way through the iconic, still incomprehensibly tight drum assault of Blinded By Fear, with the band revelling in the crowd's chant of 'Nauseating pain!'

Finishing with the moody, sprawling epic The Night Eternal, these Gothenburg heroes laid down the law and reminded us all why they're one of the most revered death metal bands on the planet. The red in the sky and the tears in our eyes belonged to At The Gates.

At The Gates Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri December 05 2014 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 2
Sat December 06 2014 - GLASGOW Glasgow Garage
Sun December 07 2014 - BIRMINGHAM Oobleck
Mon December 08 2014 - CARDIFF Globe

Click here to compare & buy At The Gates Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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