AT THE GATES - To Drink From The Night Itself
Release date May 18/18 (Century Media)
It has gotta be hard for a band to continue releasing albums after issuing a genre-defining platter. From Slayer (Reign In Blood) to Venom (Black Metal), bands have struggled to meet unrealistic expectations. This applies to At The Gates, as well. Slaughter Of The Soul is an unquestionable classic of the melodic death sub-genre and with it comes the same weighty hopes. 2014's At War With Reality, issued 19 years after Slaughter, was met with much fanfare, but ultimately failed to make many end-of-year best-of lists. The band have now issued the To Drink From The Night Itself follow-up for consideration.
After a short throwaway instrumental, the title track follows with the quick-picking, drum-propelled sound that unquestionably refers back to their classic album. Attention grabbed, for sure. 'A Stare Bound In Stone' follows suit, giving the ol' neck muscles a good workout ... again, pure At The Gates. The band then go a little off script, retaining the same guitar tone and Tomas Lindberg's caustic rasps, but down-ratcheting the speed element. Not bad, but the problem is that much of the balance of this album is taken up with such mid-tempo fare, totally killing the momentum that the opening provided. The result - a good, but not strong release.