Gone but not forgotten: When Swedish death metal band At the Gates broke up in 1996, they left a legacy of melodic, heavy music that influenced ...At the Gates is considered an archetypal example of Gothenburg death metal. (Despite the name, it's not a reference to goth music or culture in any way. It's simply the name of the city in Sweden from which numerous heavy, death and black metal bands came in the 80s and 90s.) The band was made up of vocalist Tomas Lindberg, drummer Adrian Erlandsson, bassist Jonas Bjorler and guitarist Anders Bjorler, the latter three of whom formed The Haunted after the breakup of At the Gates. (Yes, BTW, Anders and Jonas are twin brothers.) At the Gates is credited with having a significant impact on both death and thrash metal; they were critically lauded and rapidly built a loyal fan base, touring first Sweden, then the U.K. and the U.S. At the time of the band's dissolution, At the Gates had been honored with a nomination at the Swedish Grammy awards, and was enjoying exposure on MTV's late-night metalfest, Headbanger's Ball. After playing with The Haunted for a while, Eriandsson left to join Cradle of Filth.
Greatly admired and imitated but never duplicated, At the Gates cranked out more fierce Scandinavian-flavored death metal during their six-year tenure than lesser bands can only dream of doing in a lifetime. It says something significant about a band's impact when their own web site has to create a family tree-style diagram to illustrate how many other bands its members have been in throughout their careers (The Haunted and Cradle of Filth, just to name a couple). Right from their debut album, 1992's The Red in the Sky Is Ours, At the Gates showed a knack for blending melodic death and thrash elements to create a unique sound. The tunes are melodic, but At the Gates rejected a conventional sung style in favor of the growls and shrieks that characterize pure death and black metal.