• Jan Guisset

Albums | At The Gates, The Nightmare of Being



Do it but! Met een carrière van 30 jaar onder de riem (ja, oké, ik weet ook wel dat er een hiatus van 10 jaar is geweest maar zijn we hier om een potje te neuten of om naar muziek te luisteren) en beschouwd worden als één van de grondleggers van de Swedish Death Metal sound, zorgen dat je jezelf en je fans nog steeds kunt uitdagen.

At The Gates doen het op hun nieuwste album, The Nightmare of Being, absoluut. Hoewel verre van slecht leek het op het vorige album, To Drink from the Night Itself (2018) toch alsof de band iets teveel op veilig begon te spelen. Lessen learned door Tomas Lindberg en zijn kompanen en dus werd er weet wat meer geëxpirementeerd en ruimte gelaten voor wat progelementen. Zonder daarbij de kern van de ATG sound uit het oog te verliezen. Het zorgt ervoor dat The Nightmare of Being een bijzonder gevarieerd album is geworden dat gedurende 45 minuten ook maar geen secondelang verveelt.

De luisteraar op het verkeerde been zetten is één van de ATG troeven. Hier begint het al met de intro van Spectre of Extinction. Neen, je hebt niet per ongeluk iets van een flamencovirtuoos opgezet, dit is wel degelijk een Zweedse muilpeer. Ook The Paradox is rechtoe rechtaan op uw bakkens.

Garden of Cyrus klinkt onheilspellend en die saxofoon die plots opduikt is onverwacht en past toch perfect in het plaatje. Neen,Touched by the White Hands of Death is niet de soundtrack van een obscure jaren '50 horror movie, al lijkt de intro dat wel te suggereren.

Het centre piece en één van de beste songs die ik in tijden heb gehoord is toch wel The Fall into Time. Het lijkt wel alsof het hele album rond die song is opgebouwd.

Hetgeen niet wilt zeggen dat wat daarna komt minder kwalitatief zou zijn.

Perfecte variatie en perfecte lengte. Mogen wij aub zeggen dat At The Gates hier nog maar eens een meesterwerkje heeft afgeleverd? Maar eigenlijk doet uw mening hier niet toe, wij hebben toch altijd gelijk, nèm.


Releasedatum: 2 juli 2021


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AT THE GATES are poised to release what can only be described as the finest album of their careers to date. A concept album that explores the dark revelations contained in pessimist philosophy, The Nightmare Of Being unveils a newly liberated and adventurous AT THE GATES, via some of the bravest and most mesmerising material they have ever written. As vocalist and co-founder Tomas Lindberg Redant explains, the new album’s concept emerged from an intense period of reading and reflection.

“I had just read something by Thomas Ligotti – he writes horror and there’s a lot of Lovecraft-like, dark philosophy in there, the philosophy of pessimism. Then I found Ligotti had written another book called The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, which is more a biography of pessimist thought. I thought, ‘Wow, this is cool…’ and when I started reading that, it was him defending his worldview and going into detail about other pessimistic writers that had come before and how they can sometimes be connected to the horror genre. He namedropped so many people in that book, that it became a starting point for finding all this other stuff, and then I knew where we wanted to go with this record.”Quite unlike anything AT THE GATES have released before, The Nightmare Of Being plumbs existential depths and conjures some profound questions for anyone bold enough to engage. Fittingly, it is also the most musically inventive and daring record the band have ever made, as Tomas’ brutally poetic lyrics collide with a wild hybrid of classic ATG trademarks, lysergic prog rock detours and moments of jaw-dropping grandeur.

“I told Jonas (Björler) I wanted this to be a really dark record. The last one was dark but maybe more aggressive. It was more about struggle and resistance. This one is deeper, darker and more philosophical, so I told Jonas he could really go far with this one, with the ideas that we always had about putting the progressive stuff in there. Pretty early on he came out with the first sketches for Garden Of Cyrus which is the more King Crimson-like song on there. After that we knew that we could do this and there was nothing holding us back from where we want to go. Of course, it’s not the most commercial album, in that sense, but none of the albums are, and they’re all different.”Audibly driven by a wide-eyed lust for the new, The Nightmare Of Being is the result of a highly fertile creative period, wherein chief songwriter and bassist Jonas Björler enthusiastically embraced Tomas’ lyrical and conceptual perversities, shrugging off the shackles of expectation in the process. Although there is still plenty of balls-out death metal to be enjoyed on the band’s seventh full-length, there is also much evidence that AT THE GATES have evolved into a more imaginative and devastating beast than ever before. Songs like the twisted prog assault of Garden Of Cyrus and the malevolent krautrock battery of Cosmic Pessimism – a collaboration with American author and pessimist philosopher Eugene Thacker – bulge with jaw-dropping moments of skewed invention, while still delivering the expected thump to the ribcage.


Recorded in several different studios, The Nightmare Of Being sounds colossal but weirdly intimate and oppressive, in keeping with the album’s unsettling conceptual core. With esteemed studio guru Jens Bogren overseeing the recording of Adrian Erlandsson’s drums and legendary guitarist and producer Andy La Rocque manning the decks for guitars and bass, the album is very much a collaborative effort, with all the sonic richness and ingenuity that only the fizziest creative chemistry can achieve.