Crazy though it seems to actually look at the words coming out of my fingers as I type, we now live in the sort of apocalyptic end times where the arrival of a new At the Gates album is welcomed like a five year old child being reunited with a long-thought lost comfort blanket.
There are no surprises on To Drink From the Night Itself; there aren’t even that many memorable moments in the Blinded by Fear or City of Screaming Statues category. But there is a whole lot of steaming, supercharged, uber-professional melodeath to enjoy, and for many – yes, me included – that will be enough.
Actually, the more you listen, the more tracks like the mid-album run of The Colours of the Beast, A Labyrinth of Tombs and Seas of Starvation will reveal themselves to be latterday classics in waiting, but you get my drift. This is an album that is never as immediate as the best in the band’s canon, but it does give up it’s secrets to those willing to persevere.
Sheathed in a magnificent production courtesy of Russ Russell – the man rarely puts a foot wrong behind the recording console, although I’m pretty sure you don’t use your feet in the recording process anyway – the album sounds epic without the songs ever really attaining epic quality. Tomas Lindberg’s vocals do have a hint of desperation on Seas… that elevates them above mere madcap barking, and, as ever, Adrian Erlandsson puts in a titanic shift at the drumface, but for the most part you feel you’re being dealt stern-faced professionalism rather than mercurial brilliance by all concerned.
Like a say, that’s going to be enough for many of the band’s fans, especially those of a longer-length tooth, but if you’re looking for quirky extremity rather than sledgehammer symphonies like the excellent In Death They Shall Burn you’ll probably want to be looking elsewhere for your jollies.
To Drink From the Night Itself is out on Century Media Records on May 18th.