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Review: At the Gates - The Nightmare of Being
At the Gates
The Nightmare of Being

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 45:37
Tracks: 10
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: June 17, 2021
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
Readers Rating
The Nightmare of Being

Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (3 Votes)

One of the originators of the Melodic Death Metal genre, At the Gates really needs no introduction. It does, however, feel like there are two bands with this name. The one from the 1990s and the one we currently have.

At the Gates is another one of those bands that gets compared more to their previous work than the merits of their current output. When you have a bona fide genre classic in your discography like Slaughter of the Soul, it is inevitable. I will freely admit that I am one of the people that think their albums since coming back in 2014 are very good and certainly an enjoyable listen but, unfortunately, they just don't measure up to the 1990s era of the band. The Nightmare of Being continues this trend. This is a VERY good album and at times it even crosses into a straight up banger of an album. Alas, it doesn't last. It really feels like every song has incredible promise and at a certain point the band decides, "This is where all the momentum stops, and we are going to get experimental!". It actually gets frustrating after a while because the core of the songs is extremely good. It really feels like screaming down the highway at 100 mph and suddenly slamming on the brakes. Everything is here, from razor-sharp riffs to the angry vocals delivered with venomous fury to drums that are equal parts precision and a pummeling beat down. The fault simply lies in this need to be more than what they are? I write that as a question because I honestly don't know. I am absolutely convinced that another person may find this album brilliant and the way they weave these experimental sections in and out of the songs a masterclass in songwriting. For me, however, the album is more an exercise in frustration than anything else.

Overall, if you were hoping for a return to form there are certainly glimpses of it on this record but ultimately, I believe you may be disappointed. If you can separate the two eras of the band and enjoy more of their output since 2014, you will have more to like here. This is definitely one of those try before you buy albums.

Other related information on the site
Review: Slaughter of the Soul (reviewed by Jason Cominetto)
Interview with Interview with guitarist Anders Björler on December 27, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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