At the Gates
At War with Reality


2.5
average

Review

by Athom EMERITUS
October 28th, 2014 | 256 replies


Release Date: 10/28/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Meh the meh.

If one were to write an epitaph for melodic death metal, it would probably read something along the lines of: “Born in 1991. Died in 2006. Passed a decade after lapsing into a vegetative state,” or maybe, ”Raised in Sweden. Peaked in Britain. Co-opted by American teenagers.” Regardless of how you look at it, like most short lived movements, it had its brief moment in the sun where the underground dissects popular culture, and through the tried and true method of stagnation and parity it died a prolonged death at the hands of those who loved it the most. Luckily for those who gave up long before In Flames started writing Korn songs or even before Dark Tranquillity discovered keyboards, the current culture of nostalgia based reunion tours brought back the two most important bands that ever dabbled within the melodic death metal framework, At the Gates and Carcass. The latter's Surgical Steel redefined metal-head expectations for the comeback album. Not only did it so perfectly capture all the reasons so many fell in love with the band in the first place, in some cases it did those things better than when first heard 20 years ago.

Now it is At the Gates turn to throw their collective hats into the over-hyped comeback album ring. At War With Reality is the first record from the Swedes in 19 years and, unlike their English counterparts, it fails from the get go. Beginning with a similar sounding, but not nearly as interesting, narrated introduction as their 1995 classic Slaughter of the Soul, the ideas presented on At War With Reality are long since dead skeletons that have decayed and withered with age. With the exception of the surprisingly uptempo “The Book of Sand (The Abomination)”, At War With Reality is a tedious trudge through a soundscape of dated ideas and lagging tempos. 20 years ago, melodic death metal had yet to be diluted by its upstart second generation of bands and the American metalcore movement, and the thought of Maiden-esque guitars with death metal shrieks and double bass was new and exciting. Even then, it had pretty much run its course, the only thing that made Slaughter of the Soul stick out, and continue to do so, is that ferocious pace at which it was performed. At War With Reality lacks this. The speed at which the songs are played sounds not only like they are stuck in the mud, but that the weight tethered to them is also dragging them backwards. The final result is an anemic, lackluster 52 minutes from a band that obviously was correct in calling it quits the first time. At least they still play “The Swarm” live, so there's that.



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user ratings (441)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
TerraIncognita (3.5)
At the Gates deliver an album that isn't Slaughter of the Soul. Take that how you will....

Madbutcher3 (3)
Faster is better....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Judio!
October 28th 2014


8401 Comments


Wonderful summary

Haven't checked this yet but I was never the biggest AtG fan to begin with so I'm not expecting much.

ThrashTillDeath94
October 28th 2014


775 Comments


Sounds like you grew tired of metal a long time ago. It cant be that bad.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2014


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I liked the two or three songs I've heard.



Also that mention of Dark Tranquillity sounds suspiciously negative



almost like



everything they've done isn't phenomenal



strange that



I mislike it

Sniff
October 28th 2014


3951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That part about lagging tempos is spot on though.

Athom
Emeritus
October 28th 2014


17241 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

There are wonderful records from Thou, The Body, Gridlink, Incantation, Earth, Horseback, Woods of Desolation, Pyyrhon and Yellow Eyes which I highly recommend from this year

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2014


4408 Comments


Haven't bothered to check much from ATG save for Terminal Spirit Disease and Slaughter of the Soul, so I doubt this'll be interesting.

Totengott
October 28th 2014


4130 Comments


I still need to hear this, but the track I heard was okay, but nothing special.

Totengott
October 28th 2014


4130 Comments


''There are wonderful records from Thou, The Body, Gridlink, Incantation, Earth, Horseback, Woods of Desolation, Pyyrhon and Yellow Eyes which I highly recommend from this year''

Have you heard Triptykon's Melana Chasmata? It's a very solid album if you ask me.

Athom
Emeritus
October 28th 2014


17241 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I've never been all that into Triptykon, but I enjoy them here and there. I'll check it out next time

I'm in a metal mood.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2014


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Woods of Desolation did put out a pretty sweet record, agreed Athom

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2014


4408 Comments


Yeah, new Triptykon is great.

InFlamesWeThrash666
October 28th 2014


6982 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album has its moments but it's too damn slow and the melodies are not strong enough to keep it interesting.

Digging: Kawir - Exilasmos

ZairoN
October 28th 2014


5 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, The Book of Sand is a good jam, but the rest of it is just noise to me.

BMDrummer
October 28th 2014


14028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's solid, but feels too long

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2014


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

agreed with the review. very forgettable album

facupm
October 28th 2014


11295 Comments


i guess i wont be bothering with this

pedro70512
October 28th 2014


4166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

It's not bad. But it's also not terribly exciting. 3.5 with a bit of admitted bias.

Crysis
Emeritus
October 28th 2014


17288 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this was lame, although i can't say i really expected much out of it

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2014


55357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ehh

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

CK
October 28th 2014


6104 Comments


They're no Carcass



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