AT THE GATES – Oslo – Vulkan Arena

AT THE GATES – Oslo – Vulkan Arena

After their hiatus, the Swedes from At The Gates are back on the stage and they’re probably one of the most booked bands at the moment, as I see them headlining a lot of festivals, doing plenty of concerts on the side and, on top of it all, winning a Grammy award in Sweden, since they also recently released ‘At War with reality’, a pretty well received record. I had seen them in Bergen, at Blastfest the weekend before they played in Oslo, but since there was much to do at the festival, I didn’t get to watch their full set. So I was quite glad I had decided to attend the Oslo concert as well.

There was only one support act that evening – God Macabre, from Sweden, an unknown name to my years and maybe the reason for this is that they only have one album out, dated 1991 (reissued in 93) – The Winterlong… But it was a really pleasant surprise due their nicely build melodies and very groovy solos spread throughout the set. The voice of the vocalist Per Boder was very impressive and it all seem to be appealing to the crowd. There was a lot of variety in the death metal sound of their music, which really excelled at being unpredictable. It’s not like you can go out for few minutes, come back and be sure you’re hearing the same song with different lyrics. They did a good job at coming out of nowhere with the next passage in their songs and it was a very enjoyable way of breaking the boundaries of the genre.

Once the two palms from the ‘At War With Reality’ cover were set up on each side of the stage, it all turned dark and the veteran Swedes made their appearance. The hall was quite full for a Thursday evening and it actually gave me goosebumps to see/hear the joy of those who grew up with ‘the older stuff’ and recognised some favourite tunes from the first guitar solo. And it was a really wise choice to play ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ so soon into the set, since it triggered a great atmosphere from the first beat. So many people headbanging, jumping, screaming and, most important, smiling.

The band members are in the mood for live concerts and they’re going crazy on their instruments, pretty much from the first song. It was getting warm just by watching the drummer trying to keep the tight fast beats and it was getting even warmer when everyone around you would lift up their hands and start shouting together with Tomas Lindberg. Who, for a change, wore a beanie instead of a cap. It was nice to see (or well, live under the impression that you see) his eyes. He seemed rather happy (so did the others in the band). And that just lifted the spirits even more.

Riff after riff and drum beat after drumbeat, the concert just got more and more intense and it felt like it ended sooner than it should. But I guess everyone got a good dose of well blended old and new and we can only keep an open eye on their evolution from now on, to see if live performing is something they wish to do for the long term or they’ll go back at being silent. Hopefully it works out nicely, no matter the choice.