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Early death metal melodic composers, At the Gates invented a surface style ("Gothenburg") and an underlying, progressive, complex way of crafting songs of dextrous melodic fluidity and variation. Although their uneven output prevented them from inheriting the new terrain they conquered, it lived on first in progressive death metal and later, black metal, notably Transilvanian Hunger from Darkthrone. Biography At The Gates formed in late 1990 and recorded their Gardens of Grief EP for the Dolores label, with a line up of Tomas Lindberg (vocals), Anders Bjorler (guitars), Adrian Erlandsson (drums), Jonas Bjorler (bass) and Alf Svensson (guitars). Following prolonged Swedish touring with the likes of Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Massacre and Immolation, At The Gates attracted the attention of Peaceville Records and after signing soon produced their debut album The Red in the Sky is Ours. Released in November 1991, the album proved a hit with fans of the burgeoning death metal scene. European touring with My Dying Bride surrounded the release, and before long the band issued their follow up, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness in August 1993. Replacing Alf with new guitarist Martin Larsson, they had by now built up a reputation for being a hard working touring act, and this was further enhanced by their debut UK show at Nottingham Rock City which was filmed for an MTV Headbangers special. This was followed by a short UK tour with Anathema and Cradle of Filth. During May 1994, the band unleashed Terminal Spirit Disease, an album which saw the band gain widespread acclaim. Kerrang! magazine hailed them as the natural successors to countrymen Entombed, although in truth the sound of the album had more in keeping with contemporary Carcass. More UK gigs followed, then European dates again with My Dying Bride and Anathema, before the band finally headlined Europe on their own with Seance and Ancient Rites. In July 1995, the band were snapped up by Earache Records and immediately entered Studio Fredman in Sweden to record their debut for their new label, Slaughter of the Soul. Taking the melodic edge further, but returning to the songwriting of the melodic late speed metal era, the band delivered a record that became a fan favorite.
Alf made most of the decisions about the production. He pressed Tomas to sing hard and dark, and we even pitched some passages. The music was almost entirely Alf's; he mixed Swedish sadness with an almost classical atmosphere. Almost like a pompous soundtrack. We never said that we had to be different, but I guess we developed our own style. The reason for this was probably that we came from different backgrounds, and that everybody wanted to prove they had musical ability. But I still don't understand what made us sound like we did. It's a mess of folk music, death metal, and classical music. - Anders BjörlerThe band embarked on lengthy touring, beginning with a European jaunt with fellow Swedes Unleashed, and continuing into '96 with a nine date UK headline tour. They also hit the States for the first time with two full American tours, firstly with Morbid Angel, then with Napalm Death, interrupted by a five week European jaunt with Napalm Death and Crowbar, further establishing them as a major live force. Then, the unthinkable happened -- five tours in under a year took their toll as a split developed in the band, culminating with the writing force of the Bjorler twins opting to leave. Feeling unable to carry the true spirit of At the Gates without its core members, the band called it a day. Currently, vocalist Tomas Lindberg sings for crustcore/d-beat band Disfear while the Bjorler twins Anders and Jonas, together with drummer Adrian have formed The Haunted.
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