It doesn't feel right to start here. I have barely given the Swedish group a listen in the past, Ive heard the praise, recognize their album covers and am very much aware of their legacy within the broader Metal community. After a string of well regarded albums in the early nineties At The Gates split in 97 for over a decade long, returning with the original lineup many years later in this era of sustainability for bands given the increased wealth in music and large amount of festivals to support and give exposure to bands, especially old bands die-hards want to see again.
To Drink From The Night Itself is the bands second album after their reunion and the first proper listen Ive given then. Unfortunately it falls into the "generic" Melodic Death Metal camp but of the vein I can very much enjoy. That is only because I know this sound all to well, they may have once been at the forefront of this style but their is little fresh or new on this record, it is however very well written and strongly executed, making for a healthy dose of a sound and style I really enjoy.
The band put together songs without flash or flair, their consistent pounding pace and temperate approach to guitar riffing lets the mood and tone of the tracks eminate from steady and composed melodies hidden in the exterior of harsh distortion guitars. When they do break in tone an introduce acoustics its rather underwhelming in the wake of their steady Metal machine that drives ever forward at this consistent speed that feels simultaneously sluggish and hastened as the drums never swing into break downs or blast beats.
The production aids the music well, the instruments feel rounded and cushioned to share a space without piercing through one another and this is again reflected in temperate music that lets its self speak without aesthetic tricks. Vocalist Lindberg's dry screams play up the atmosphere of this drone as his flat and drawn screams brood in the dreary aggression that is only and rarely split by the timely introduction of simple and gleaming guitar solos, bursting to life but fitting sweetly into the direction.
It may be in the title but this is truly a recollection of the night time, the steadily aggressive and evolving guitars unleash darkly moods and tones that the music frequently unravels as its guitars wind and weave their way forward with melodic inflections between the grinding of subtle grooves and darkly tunefulness. Its a solid listen from front to back, a bold and consistent approach that has the record swiftly establish its realm and hold you there for the forty five minutes. Great record, I may have to go back and get through their classics now.
Favorite Tracks: Daggers Of Black Haze, In Nameless Sleep, The Colours Of The Beast