Gothenburg maestros of melodic death metal, At The Gates, returned to North America to deliver their declaration of war, this time in company of their fellow-countrymen The Haunted, the Polish commando Decapitated and Chicago’s Harm’s Way. We caught the package on their last running dates of their tour at the Glass House in Pomona, CA and sat down with Tomas Lindberg to discuss what’s at the other side of the gates:
The Glass House has been the host of many great acts throughout the years but this time around, it opened its arms to a familiar face that hasn’t been inside its wall in 8 long years. Last time At The Gates toured across North America before the release of their newest record At War With Reality, they hit the road with Municipal Waste, The Darkest Hour and Repulsion and stopped at the city of Pomona to deliver a punishing set that still stands in memory of those who got to witness it.
This time, they brought some friends on their journey, starting with Chicago’s hardcore outfit Harm’s Way, a young quartet that knows nothing else but to destroy everything in front of their stage with their performance. While the crowd was relatively thin during their set, it was palpable that those who came early enough to see them as openers knew what they were expecting and enjoyed it thoroughly. The energy expelled by the band was only paralleled by the mosh pit taking place in front of them and all of it was fully absorbed by the audience during their 25 min set.
At The Gates wasn’t the only act making a come back to the famous venue or the United States. The Haunted had finally returned to appease the hunger of their avid fans who haven’t seen their presence in the country since 2009. Considering the significance of their return, the band was next on the bill due to some of their members set to perform a double-set once At The Gates takes the stage, but that was no obstacle for the band to get things in motion.
Starting off with “No Compromise” and “99” off their 2004 album rEVOLVEr, those loyal to the Swedes shouted at the top of their lungs in unison with singer Marco Aro, who was an unstoppable machine from beginning to end. I found surprising to know that some of those in attendance weren’t too familiar with The Haunted, even when they surfaced from the ashes of At The Gates after they broke up 20 years ago but that soon ended as they loved every song performed for them that night and many found a new band to follow.
Decapitated was the next in line to take over the stage covered in absolute darkness. The band made sure to deliver its musical blow in its purest way possible by basically hiding behind a dimly lit stage which made a challenge to capture with my camera but was necessary to match their performance. Among the members, you could notice outsider among its ranks and that’s cause Decrepit Birth’s bassist Sean Martinez was in charge of the lowest frequencies of the set.
Once the lights turned on to allow a stage set up after Decapitated, the crowd moved closer to the front barrier to get a closer look to the minds behind Slaughter of The Soul. Starting with the title track off their new record, At The Gates came with the intensity of a nuclear warhead and turned the music venue into a battlefield. Tomas and company displayed the energy and experience of well-seasoned musicians who have been in this scene for over 20 years and surpassed the already-high expectations from the fans. A circle pit the size of the entire room was the reflection of the symbiotic relation between the fans and the band giving to each other the best they had, fueling their intensity one to the other.
After touring across the globe for the past two years supporting At War With Reality, the execution of the newest songs was pristine and natural as if the band had been playing it for a decade. No song felt short and no second was spent in vain by everyone at the venue and was the perfect scenario to create a larger eagerness to see the band one more time in the future.