AT THE GATES - The Nightmare Of Being
July 2, 2021, 3 weeks ago
Legendary melodic death metallers At The Gates kinda lost me with their comeback albums; it could be a case of extremely high expectations but I kept feeling a bit let down. That changed with The Nightmare Of Being.
The epic opening of “Spectre Of Extinction” sets the tone before the band fall into a familiar double-time melodic stomp, but “familiar” in the best of ways (part of my concern with the band's past couple albums was that they felt too familiar, in a bad way) and “The Paradox” follows that up with an incredibly solid mid-to-fast melodic DM rager with a perfect Tomas Lindberg vocal performance and smooth, regal guitar solos. The title track drops things down a bit and gets mellow, but in a very classy, well-structured manner; I love how this song ends up in a very different place than where it started, dropping down to some heavy groove before quickly revisiting the opening vibe as it closes. Very well done.
Then there's “Garden Of Cyrus”, a smart, experimental song placed early on here (track 4 of 10), which does wonders with songwriting and…improvised saxophone. And, wow, does that sax ever hit the spot with this death metal, which is something I never thought I would say. “The Fall Into Time” is a mid-album epic at 6:45 that drops into what approximates extreme free jazz during its midpoint... and, again, man, it works, as does “Cosmic Pessimism”, which conjures up memories of Lindberg's fantastic The Great Deceiver. This record is the perfect mix of comfort and surprise that I want from At The Gates. Successful comeback achieved.