At The Gates @ Trix, Antwerpen, 18 December 2014

It was either going to Antwerpen or to the Eindhoven Metal Meeting, and considering I didn’t care much for the line-up in Eindhoven, the entrance fee is much lower, and it is actually closer by too, I opted to go to Antwerpen. Traffic proofed to be quite light, despite the bad weather and rush hour, and it was easy to find, and a free parking spot really close by the venue was available. So I was quite early at the venue, and they hadn’t even opened yet.

After waiting for half an hour the Trix venue was filled up quite well already as Morbus Chron started to play. This is a bit weird death metal which in a way reminds me of the latest Tribulation in some aspects. There are lots of psychedelic influences in the music and far less of the typical death metal riffing with mostly quite simple drumming and some interesting guitar work. A bit hard to get into for me and certainly could keep my full attention for the half hour they got.

Triptykon started playing after a quick change over. This is the new band of Tom Warrior after the demise of Celtic Frost, but musically it continues in the same vein of sludgy doom metal with a large variety of influences from other genres. It only got a lot more interesting for me when they started to play two songs from the early Celtic Frost days, Circle of the Tyrants and The Usurper. But these songs are very different from what they do now and so they stood out quite a bit among the remainder of the set. On the other hand I always find it a bit of a weakness if you have to play stuff from a previous band, and with two long albums they sure have enough material to fill a 45 minute set.

The last change-over took a long time and at 22.00 sharp the Spanish spoken word intro for At the Gates sounded over the PA. And they opened with Death and the Labyrinth of the new album. After the 19 year hiatus I wasn’t all that impressed by the new album, as it is quite bland and lacks a lot of punch, and this became immediately apparent live as well, when they played Slaughter of the Soul and Cold next. The pace is a lot higher and the riffs are more complex. That they could write really great songs in the past is proofed by a blistering performance of Raped by the Light of Christ and also Windows. Most of the set however was split by the new album and Slaughter of the Soul. Over the years they gradually watered down their form of melodic death metal. Fortunately they played tight and Tomba was quite active on stage as ever. Although a great show for a band that I unfortunately missed in the 90s, but a couple of more older songs like The Red in the Sky Is Ours, Night Comes, Blood Black or Beyond Good and Evil would make it a much more interesting gig.

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