One of the most hailed names in metal make their powerful return to the limelight; At the Gates! Returning to the record-side of the business, the melodic death metal pioneers have dropped ‘At War With Reality; to high praise from fans and critics alike. We caught up with vocalist Tomas Lindberg to talk about the album, touring and more.
Why did At the Gates decide to come and do a record now and not other times when you’ve reunited?
I think that right time is something that had to grow on us; how and when we wanted to do it. We grew out of our live gigs and how good the old songs sounded live that [created] the idea of, “Hey, maybe a new record would be cool.” We also needed a spark and that was Anders. He started writing riffs and it needed to start with him. (Laughs)
It was kind of like a step by step process to get to this point.
I think it was first the live shows. To start writing again we all had it in us and we had the idea but it was the statement we made holding us back. We had said there was going to be no record so it had to take the time it did. But I also think it was Anders again. Anders leaving The Haunted and his wanting to do the album, well suddenly everything was wide open and fresh. We then just had to write stuff that sounded like At the Gates!
So how are you finding the response to ‘At War With Reality’?
I am so happy with it. Not just in the way we’ve gotten great reviews or the fans really liked it, but also in the way people have been listening to it. It’s like they really wanted to hear this album. It’s a really challenging album, it’s more demanding for the listener with all the different dynamics and layers and so to have people listen for that stuff and find the core of the album and what we wanted to get across is very satisfying.
It’s been nineteen years since ‘Slaughter of the Soul’, was it surprising to find that not only that album but also your band is still very relevant in metal music today?
In all the years of our reunion, we have been noticing all the interest and respect for the band and that has given us confidence to go down this path. We’ve been very active in other projects and therefore, no one has just been sitting around waiting for stuff to happen but I would say, in general, that we are overwhelmed people still want us around. We don’t think of the timeframe of nineteen years as we still feel relevant and inspired.
Do you feel like the old-guard in the scene?
Not really, we’re still fans of metal as much as the young kids nowadays and we still love it, and it keeps you young. It keeps you fired and going and we feel a lot of things but certainly not age.
How was the process of working with Fredrick Nordstrom after so long since working with him?
It was like nothing had changed. He’s still the same guy and the same character. We wanted someone we knew, someone we felt safe around and someone we could be ourselves around. This is a very emotional record as opposed to ‘Slaughter of the Soul’, which was an angry record made by a bunch of angry men, this more of an emotional record. There’s a lot of melancholy and emotion on the record and you need that environment that allows you to do that, and for us that was working with someone who we are comfortable with and that was Fredrick.
Do you think that if ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ had been different then you guys wouldn’t have been around for as long or you wouldn’t have been as successful?
It’s always hard to tell, going back in time and thinking about it but we were that in one way or another I guess. We had this other side to us and we had more to us but we didn’t know how to project those different emotions after ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ as we were quite young and that’s why we disbanded. I think we picked up right where we left off. This is the album we wanted to make then and it is been the album we would’ve made then. Things might be different if we hadn’t disbanded but we’re here now and everything’s turned out really good!
So what’s the future of touring for the band?
We’re doing a lot of touring here in Europe. The European leg is announced and we’re doing some Southern Europe as well and we’re doing South Africa for the first time, which should be great. Of course there will be way more dates to come but they will be announced in time.
‘At War With Reality’ is out now through Century Media Records. Read our review here.