Artist: At The Gates

Label: Century Media

Release: May 18, 2018

At The Gates return with this follow-up to 2014’s At War with Reality, and their first release without guitarist Anders Bjorler. The longer any band exists as an entity creating music, the more likely they become to release an album that is bad, disappointing, or just outright forgettable. Unfortunately, To Drink From the Night Itself falls into that last category. There’s nothing wrong from a technical standpoint here, the performances are absolutely on and the production is great without being too glossy or sterile. However, from a songwriting standpoint, there’s just nothing here that particularly sticks out. At times, the songs hew so closely to 1995’s Slaughter of the Soul that I found myself able to readily identify exact tracks that they resemble if not outright mirror. At other times, At The Gates seem no more than one synth string arrangement away from the latest in forgettable atmospheric post blackened shoe core death gaze. Ultimately, To Drink From the Night Itself isn’t wholly unlistenable. The songs don’t sound slapdash or anything like that. Its problem is an overriding sense of blandness that leaves you feeling like the songs are dragging on forever, despite their short running times. In some ways that is worse than if it had just been outright bad.

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