All Photos by Ted Reckoning
It’s been 17 long years since At The Gates played in Vancouver and surely since their reformation in 2007, the people of Van City have been pining for one of Swedish death metal’s finest exports to land into town at The Rickshaw. Finally, the time arrived and At The Gates’ return is a triumph.
Following quick opening sets from local death metallers Gross Misconduct and Nylithia’s metalcore flavours, we’re treated to a ferocious slot from the utterly devastating Erosion and at this point, the stage is perfectly set for At The Gates.
Opening with a deafening rendition of Slaughter of the Soul’s title track, it’s immediately clear that the Swedes aren’t missing a step, now a couple of years into their reunion. It’s an obvious set opener but a totally perfect one, given its anthemic weight.
Cuts from Slaughter of the Soul, of course, make up the bulk of the setlist, whether it’s the monolithic and instantly recognisable lead riff of ‘World of Lies’ or the simply pummelling ‘Suicide Nation’, and the reaction from the crowd and the mayhem in the pit more than indicates that everyone approves.
However, At The Gates aren’t a one trick pony and they’re quick to reach into their past with a few older tracks from The Red In The Sky Is Ours, With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness, and Terminal Spirit Disease. In fact, the title track of Terminal Spirit Disease is utterly rapturous meanwhile ‘Windows’ reins things in a little bit for a more old school DM assault. Then breaking out their cover of Slayer’s ‘Captor of Sin’, a quick toast is made to Jeff Hanneman, makes for a nice touch for the evening.
The war in the pit is nonstop throughout the set with the only breather coming just before the encore, which includes ‘Blinded By Fear’. One was almost worried that the song wouldn’t make it into the set, and followed by ‘Nausea’ and ‘Kingdom Come’, it’s clear that At The Gates’ return to Vancouver is nothing but a triumph. Just don’t leave it as long next time.