At the Gates
To Drink from the Night Itself


3.8
excellent

Review

by Willie STAFF
May 14th, 2018 | 158 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Delving into a moody and diverse set of songs that shares more in common with their earliest releases than the one everybody seems to remember.

I wonder what would have happened if Slayer had taken nearly two decades after Reign in Blood to release South of Heaven. South of Heaven enjoys a huge amount of praise, but would it be as universally accepted if Reign In Blood had been allowed to build twenty years of nostalgia and hype" If the criticism surrounding At The Gates’ At War With Reality is any indication, the answer is fairly obvious. While I’m not trying to directly compare At War With Reality to South Of Heaven, both releases were definitely deliberate attempts at doing something more than the simple no-frills/all-attitude style of their predecessors – and one was praised while the other has faced some critique. While not all blame can be placed here, a lot of it probably has to do with timing.

While Slayer quickly released another album before Reign in Blood built an insurmountable reputation, At The Gates had to let Slaughter of the Soul attain an almost untouchable mystique. This left At War With Reality in the unenviable position of basically having no chance of living up to the hype. So, while it might have been a bit lacking in certain areas, it was still a very solid and enjoyable release that never had a chance. Hopefully fans are over the nostalgia trip, because To Drink From the Night Itself is better than its predecessor in every way, and may even have to be mentioned alongside the band’s classic material (begrudgingly, I’m sure).

If I had to reference back to earlier albums, To Drink From the Night Itself is a fairly even blend of With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness and Terminal Spirit Disease combined with the modern style of At War With Reality. With Fear’s influence is felt within the melodies, tempos, and overall structures of most the songs. Every facet is much more developed, nuanced, and diverse than on anything they’ve done since that 1993 release. Even tracks that begin in a more streamlined fashion such as “A Stare Bound In Stone” or “Palace of Lepers” inevitably end up evolving into something more; whether it’s “A Stare Bound in Stone” transitioning to a moody and melodic second half or “Palace of Lepers” bouncing between standard melodeath, melodic interludes and something more akin to classic Voivod.

The songs that are more interesting, though, are the ones that delve down a more morose and diverse direction. Tracks such as “Daggers of Black Haze” – which opens with some light classical influences before moving through a series of fully developed melodic sections – are the true highlight of To Drink From the Night Itself. These songs generally (but not always) sacrifice a bit of bite in favor of fully-featured melodic death metal that is heavy on the moody atmospheres, and quick to seamlessly transition from one melody to the next. To Drink From the Night Itself also has the distinction of containing not only one of my favorite At The Gates songs, but also one of my favorites of this entire year. “Seas of Starvation” is At The Gates’ moody, melodic, mid-paced death metal formula realized to its full potential. I don’t want to go into a track-by-track style description of the album, but if there is only one song from the album that you bother with, it should be “Seas of Starvation”.

At The Gates suffered from some undue criticism when they released At War With Reality because it was directly compared with an album that had grown into an uncontrollable monster built on equal parts hype, nostalgia, and actual quality. To Drink From the Night Itself shouldn’t have that problem because people can now temper their fantasies of unending Slaughter of the Soul rehashes with realistic expectations of a band that always had more to offer than that one release. To Drink From the Night Itself returns to the peak of At The Gates’ creative side by delving into a more moody, nuanced and diverse set of songs that shares more in common with their first few releases than the one everybody seems to remember. In the process, they very well may have released the best album in their history.



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user ratings (164)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
May 14th 2018


17609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

I know a lot of people are going to want to question my 'best of their discography' statement, so I'll explain.

First, I think I'd really love their first two albums if they didn't sound like such absolute garbage (production-wise). "Terminal Spirit Disease" is decent but is too brief and started the band moving to a very streamlined sound. Of course, "Slaughter of the Soul" is the band's classic peak because it had a great production and the songs are all really good... but it's all very samey and there's not much to come back to. "At War With Reality" is a good solid album. More diverse than "Slaughter", but too safe overall. This one is those first two albums but with an excellent production (no violin player, though), but with nearly three decades of songwriting experience pushing it to another level.

zaruyache
May 14th 2018


19330 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

typo in summary; they instead of the

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Willie
Moderator
May 14th 2018


17609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Thanks. Word is supposed to check spelling and grammar.... swear to god, it's always Microsoft....

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2018


23871 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've never been the biggest fan of these guys, but I am still looking forward to this.

Willie
Moderator
May 14th 2018


17609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Yeah, like I kind of said in my first comment, I've never really been a big fan of theirs. I didn't really enjoy anything they've done until their reunion album, honestly, even though "Slaughter" wasn't bad as like a driving/gym album.

InFlamesWeThrash666
May 14th 2018


8170 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hmmm

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Willie
Moderator
May 14th 2018


17609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Ha ha. Everyone is allowed their own opinion, but this is definitely way above average. I've heard plenty of average melodic death metal, and this isn't it.... in my opinion, anyway.

MO
May 14th 2018


22367 Comments


stoked to check this, nice review Willie m/

fromrows
May 14th 2018


223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, really dig the album a lot!

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InFlamesWeThrash666
May 14th 2018


8170 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ha ha. Everyone is allowed their own opinion, but this is definitely way above average. I've heard plenty of average melodic death metal, and this isn't it.... in my opinion, anyway.



It is above average (bumping up my rating a bit) but many tracks don't do absolutely nothing for me. I appreciate the less formulaic and atmospheric approach here but many of the riffs/melodies are unmemorable imo. My highlights are In Death They Shall Burn,Palace of Lepers and The Mirror Black

XfingTheSullen
May 14th 2018


4271 Comments


Title track's main riff is so blatantly derivative from "blinded by fear" they should be fucking ashamed of themselves

brainmelter
May 14th 2018


5669 Comments


need to hear. probably going to be a solid 3

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XingKing
May 14th 2018


13517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I love Red in the Sky and With Fear, so if this is closer to those albums then I look forward to hearing this.

Willie
Moderator
May 14th 2018


17609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

--It is above average (bumping up my rating a bit) but many tracks don't do absolutely nothing for me. I appreciate the less formulaic and atmospheric approach here but many of the riffs/melodies are unmemorable imo. My highlights are In Death They Shall Burn,Palace of Lepers and The Mirror Black--

Well, my favorite is definitely "Seas of Starvation" but I basically really like all the songs from "In Nameless Sleep" on. It definitely isn't an instant album. It takes some listens for some of the songs to stick. But they will stick and grow on you.



--Title track's main riff is so blatantly derivative from "blinded by fear" they should be fucking ashamed of themselves--

Show me a long running band that hasn't plagiarized their own riffs/melodies and I'll show you... who knows, but you get my point.



--I love Red in the Sky and With Fear, so if this is closer to those albums then I look forward to hearing this.--

It definitely is, with some At War.. as well.



Darius
May 14th 2018


17069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Based off the singles alone I can already see this being better than the last one, but their best in discog? That's nothing but hyperbole tbh

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2018


2759 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"Every facet is much more developed, nuanced, and diverse than on anything they’ve done since that 1993 release."



oofff



reeeeeeeally struggling to believe that but might give this a go on that statement alone

Willie
Moderator
May 14th 2018


17609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

--Based off the singles alone I can already see this being better than the last one, but their best in discog? That's nothing but hyperbole tbh--

--reeeeeeeally struggling to believe that but might give this a go on that statement alone--

Not really. Based on the shit sound of their first two albums and the two-dimensional direction of their final two, it shouldn't be hard to believe that this could be their best or more diverse than Terminal and Slaughter.

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2018


2759 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Aaaahk, I thought, given the surrounding sentences, that you were saying this was more nuanced and diverse than With Fear. Then I remembered what I heard of the single and thought "nuh uh, no way" lol

Willie
Moderator
May 14th 2018


17609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

We've had the promo for awhile. You never listened?

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2018


2759 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I didn't log into the forums for like a month so I missed a fair bit



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