At The Gates, 20 December, 2019, 013 Tilburg

I missed At the Gates during their heydays in the 90s. They played in the same venue a year and a half ago at NDF. At that time, I was more interested in other bands and they didn’t make a lasting impression. So now they are back as headliner to promote their latest album I checked them out. The venue was only half full, perhaps it was the time of the year. But it seemed relatively quiet.

They had brought two support acts. The first was was the German Deserted Fear, who play in a very similar style. And although they play pretty tightly and with lots of enthusiasm, there really seems to be missing something, maybe something like a little punch. And like many German bands originality is not a big thing with them. Decent show, but a bit run-of-the-mill melodeath.

Quite a different band is Nifelheim. These Swedes play thrashy black metal with many heavy metal influences in them. Their outfits were over the top black metal with spandex, leather and spikes. It looked pretty bizarre for a couple of middle aged guys. Musically not entirely my thing but the show was interesting.

Then finally it was time for the also Swedish At The Gates. Of course they would play a lot of songs of the classic Slaughter of the Soul album. No less than seven songs. So they only have to learn two more songs for next year when they will play that album in its entirety. The remainder of the set was mostly filled with newer songs. Their latest album was quite okay, but the first album since the reunion was pretty weak. And that showed live, the strongest material was definitively from before their splitting up. Musically it was all really strong. Adrian’s drumming was as excellent as ever. The two guitarist make the riffs work. Tomba seemed to be in a good mood although his vocals aren’t as powerful as they used to be, it sounded all quite good. They unfortunately took Kingdom Gone of the set half way through the tour, so we only got two songs from before Slaughter, namely the Swarm and Raped by the Light of Christ. Maybe they should really tour someday for just the first 3 records and 2 EPs, as that was by far their strongest material. Although the outro for The Night Eternal works quite well as a set closer. Cool gig all in all, though.

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