ALBUM REVIEW: At The Gates – The Nightmare Of Being

Release Date: July 2nd 2021
Label: Century Media Records


Though they’ve had a couple of moments out of action over the years, At The Gates have securely maintained their status in the metal elite. Now offering their third full-length effort since their fully-fledged return over a decade ago, we can see how they fair in ‘The Nightmare Of Being’.

Coming in like an atypical brand of power metal, ‘Spectre Of Extinction’ opens with quaint acoustic guitars that expand into a full set of electric riffs and ringing strings. Thankfully we’re diverged into a straight-up assault of metal that’s undoubtedly accomplished though is nothing new to the ear.

The record’s title-track incorporates distant gothic mutterings with throws of melodic metal that could make for an interesting mix, but vocalist Tomas Lundberg‘s monotone style on this number is a bug bear with little variance between his roars and screams.

Deepening into the void, ‘Garden Of Cyrus’ adds a touch of jazz to a progressive proceeding of metal chords and solos that adds an interesting twist to the somewhat linear trajectory seen so far.

‘The Fall Into Time’ builds in the mantra of an epic war film, complete with choirs and orchestras ready for the first blast of the cannons to incite terror that doesn’t meet its match in the following standard middle section. However, it’s saved by the guitar work of Martin Larsson and Jonas Stålhammar, who excellently weave intricate progressive pieces to bring it up to a high grade of professional creativity.

Strangely captivating, ‘Cosmic Pessism’ is a narrative about Eugene Thacker‘s short book on the study of combined history, poetry, and philosophy that with magical riffs and dialled back instrumentation is a great change in atmosphere.

There are interesting moments on ‘The Nightmare Of Being’ that come from the exemplary guitar work of Martin Larsson and Jonas Stålhammar, but sadly this doesn’t quite meet the bar that At The Gates have set for themselves over their career.