At the Gates
With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness



by canadapantsman USER (7 Reviews)
March 4th, 2006 | 499 replies

Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness marks At the Gates beginnings of evolution into the melodic death metal they were known for at the peak of their career. This is a much underrated and overlooked album.

The Music

About the second song deep into this album, there is no doubt the songwriting is much better than Gardens of Grief and The Red in the Sky Is Ours. The songs now follow a more structured layout, and awesome guitar riffs rarely rear their heads only for a fleeting moment only to never being heard again, as seemed to be a problem during the bandís earlier years. At the Gates has from this point on, matured, and knew what they wanted to play. While the musicianship always was a cut above, it matures as well, in a sense. All sense of sloppiness was discarded. While some bands put out their best material in rawer form, At the Gates managed to mature without losing their creativity and never faltered. While the vocals arenít Lindbergís best, they are certainly better than on earlier recordings. His yell has become more of an anquished scream that conveys his torturous thoughts, though not as clearly as the Slaughter of the Soul era vocal chords that sear the air between your eardrums and speakers.

The bass is only really noticeable on a few songs, and even then itís only a few notes or two, but it does its job while not getting in the way of the guitar. Better it be a little inaudible than mere clutter.

The guitars, as with any At the Gates album, are the highlight. Concept of rhythm guitar and lead guitar are abandoned in favor of two tracks that at times are playing completely different styles but are almost always in harmony. Instead of solely basing the instrumentation on open noted palm mutes, ATG keep every second of the song interesting and engaging with melody, dissonance, and even hints of tortured brutality screaming forth from the instruments with brilliance. The rhythms might be technical, but they are far from disorderly. Rather than shunning solos, ATG merely only use them when they feel it is necessary, preferring to keep every second of the song worth looking forward two rather than just one minute sandwiched between boring, repetitive patterns. If the guitars were people, they would finish each otherís sentences.

The drums are near perfect. Not one song is just straight double bass the whole way through, but each is still punishing in its own unique way. Simple patterns give way to odd-time blastbeats for the briefest moments before abruptly, yet smoothly, giving way to something else. Everything often changes, but everything still flows. Erlandsson doesn't use his toms much, but because of how his kit was recorded, there's no love lost. The cymbals are also a little drowned out. Long story short: everything fits.

The Listen

Beyond Good and Evil is song numero uno, but actually isnít an impressive opener in the least. Thereís nothing memorable, the ďsolosĒ especially disappointing. Sporadic and unfocused, they sound like a tangle of noise reminiscent of Slayerís Hell Awaits album, only without awesome rhythm parts. It isnít that Beyond Good and Evil is horrible, itís that compared to the other songs, it isn't worth near as much.

Raped By the Light of Christ
isnít one of the best tracks on here, but still great. The soft intro transitions effortlessly into the first riff with double bass-fueled drum lines beefing up the guitars. Itís main fault is the abrupt ending. The Break of Autumn begins with guitar that sounds a little reminiscent of ATGís earlier material, only better. A hint of a blastbeat is abandoned to a simple kick-snare kick-snare routine, once again replaced by something else. The drums never keep a consistent beat, but somehow it all comes together and doesnít detract from the music at all. Relief sweeps in after what seemed to be an abrupt ending as an acoustic guitar strolls into the speakers. Simply delightful! [/ rich man accent] Recommended for ADD listeners.

switches between the tremolo-picking styles along with the slower-paced musicianship experimented with on Terminal Spirit Disease. Not much else to say besides it is almost flawless from start to finish. Primal Breath clocks in around seven and a half minutes, making it the longest track by about three. Length isnít a problem, however. Much like the two before it, this composition doesnít feel drawn out at all. You can tell the guys werenít just sitting around saying ďThis song needs to be more epic, letís see how much more material we can fit in hereĒ, they just went with the flow and wrote classic stuff. This song could actually be longer and it would still flow perfect.

The Architects
contains a moving and near-perfect solo about a minute near the end, and the rest of the song is excellent. A bit short, but excellent. Stardrowned is another example of a real ďtransitionalĒ song, with aspects of the bandís future and past melding in one work. One of the few songs with an audible bass line.

Blood of the Sunsets kicks into gear with a dissonant and very raw-sounding lick much like those that occupied Gardens of Grief, their first EP. Aside from that first riff, which sounds very out of place, the rest are heavy, and for the most part melodic even in their dissonance. The mood is very dark, a little unnerving, especially the end. This is what those agonized death metal vocals were made for.

The Burning Darkness has great lyrics (almost every word is decipherable! In a death metal song!), but is another that suffers from lack of length. Ever-Opening Flower follows and about a minute in delivers one of At the Gatesís short and to the point miniature guitar solos. A thorough classic, and for good reason with guitars that silence any doubters that tuning down to B is for nu-metal bands only.

Through the Red is a good song. Not great, but definitely above average. Here are heard spastic off-time riffs and a bonus track at the end. The bonus track isnít worth much. An appropriate closer.


Unfortunately, while pioneering many good aspects of the evolved At the Gates that really defined melodic death metal and provided cannon fodder for countless metalcore and other melo-death bands to add to their arsenal at the turn of the century, it also introduced the bandís major shortcoming seen in later years: Short fudgemonkeying songs. Besides that, and some riffs that seemed a little out of place, this album is thoroughly great, though the production is not. Not that the sound quality is horrible or cluttered, this isnít a Darkthrone disk requiring advanced audio salvaging technology in order to differentiate between the drums and guitars, itís just that itís a little too quiet, and you have to turn up the stereo to hear it. That aside, amazing work is contained herein.

Recommended Tracks
Primal Breath (5/5)
Non-Divine (5/5)
The Burning Darkness (4/5)
Ever-Opening Flower (4.5/5)

Overall (4.5/5)

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user ratings (574)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 4th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Horray for more At the Gates reviews! Good job, too.

March 4th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

sweet. love this album.

March 5th 2006


Nice review. Incidentally, this is apparently Tomas Lindberg's favourite At The Gates album...or so he says in the liner notes to Suicidal Final Art. This Message Edited On 03.04.06

March 6th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

nice review i must say, yeah the burning darkness is great, it turned a kid that hated anything like this into an eternal slave of ATG lmfao.... anyway, I'd say the break on the break o fautumn is truly beautiful and it has awesome lyrics, .not much more to say but, I wish i could play Ever-Opening Flower or Non-Divine

March 12th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. This album is awesome, but TSD is better, i think.

June 7th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Primal Breath is fucking great.This Message Edited On 08.09.06

November 6th 2006


Album Rating: 2.0

I really don't like this album there are only a couple of songs on here that are tolerable. They definetly stepped it up for their next two albums.

January 21st 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

I have this. Not as good compared to the later material but still a sign of things yet to come.

My favourites are Raped By The Light Of Christ and Primal Breath.

January 21st 2008


Personally, I like this album more than Slaughter. Slaughter is damn good but blown out of proportion. This isn't as accesible, yet it's slightlky stronger.

January 21st 2008


Slaughter sucks.

January 21st 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

Fair enough.

To be honest, I also think Slaughter gets more attention because it's more accessible, but it's still my favourite album.

Either way I think both albums show that ATG were the forerunners of their genre at the time.

At least that's my opinon.

January 22nd 2008


I like all At the Gates releases except for Gardens of Grief and that's only because I haven't heard it. If I did, I'm certain it would kick my ass back to primary school.

February 11th 2008


I remember listening to this album back when I was about 14-15, I thought it was completely awful. Had absolutely nothing on Slaughter of the Soul. But now as a more seasoned metalhead, I'm thinking of giving it another shot.

Still, money is money.

August 13th 2008


Album Rating: 2.0

Damn, I have to check this out. The album title alone makes me want to give this a 4 w/o even listening!

September 14th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

this is so underrated

September 14th 2009



October 29th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

it's ridiculous how amazing this album is

October 29th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

and rasputin, if you still haven't heard GoG yet, do so immediately. it's arguably ATG's best and even more criminally underrated than this

November 9th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

This one can't be anything but 5...

November 9th 2010



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