It’s your classic love story; break up, get back together, lather, rinse, repeat. Such has been the road of the legendary At the Gates, and what you’re about to read is my recollection of the night I stood in awe, cried a little, DIDN’T piss myself (much), and experienced the Decibel Magazine Tour 2015 at Corona Theatre. ‘Twas a rainy Thursday night, and love was in the air…
The evening kicked off with a delicious buck burger from Dilallo, because I’m fucking fat. I wish I was kidding. Then it was on to some local love by the name of Phobocosm. A doomier death has never been died so doomed before. If you forgot to bring earplugs this evening, this was the very moment that you realized you made a terrible mistake. Luckily for myself however, God decided to build those in for me, suckers. Back on topic: loud, heavy, BASSY, AND FUCKING LOUD. There we go, now you know what Phobocosm is.
Following up is the even louder and only the slightest big manlier death metal atomic bomb known as Vallenfyre, hailing from various parts of the UK and Sweden. Nothing quite says, “What the fuck?” like listening to a Scottish guy who sounds like he needs a friend to cart his testicles around in a wheelbarrow for him while putting on his very best Norwegian accent. I didn’t know it was possible, but I think puberty actually took second run on me after listening to this act; relentless, but slower than slow. Even the supposed mosh parts (as gutterly indicated by singer Gregor Mackintosh) felt as if my head were being slowly crushed in a table vice.
Slowing down the pace to a dull hum was our next act, Little Rock, AR’s doomtastic quartet (though missing a member), Pallbearer. Slow, loving, caressing, slightly intoxicating…apparently I have an obsession with listing descriptive words in this review, but whatever, this act was the utmost impressive and drowning. Never in my life have I ever wanted to hang out with the cool kids in the back of a highschool smoking cigarettes and just say, “Yeah, my mom doesn’t get me either” so badly, even though she does (I love you, Momma). This terrible joke has been brought to you by my buddy Neil. ANYWAY, Pallbearer’s most notable feat of the evening is impossibly challenged – they actually managed to fill a half an hour set with, count ’em now, three FUCKING SONGS. THAT’S IT. NO MORE, NO LESS. THREE FUCKING SONGS. All three of said songs had you swiming in a sea of despair and cool riffs and effects. Definitely not the working man’s music, but fuck, is it ever good.
Now I’m going to bore you with a love story of my own. Between four and six years ago, a buddy of mine at work introduced me to a band I’d seen on flyers and t-shirts for years prior. That band ended up coming to town three years ago after a seven year drought about when I started my ever so infamous day job which consumes my soul. I was training that night and you can actually confirm with proclaimed “head honcho” Liz Imperiale, I was crying in a corner…profusely. That band was Massachusetts monstrosity known only as Converge. My love story came to a climax this night as I finally got to drench my senses in the birthplace of post-hardcore blood that Converge is known best for spitting. Conditions were perfect, and the regret felt for not having earplugs only intensified. Singer Jacob Bannons high-pitched, shitzu-esque bark could shatter glass and protrude stones from your kidney while guitarist Kurt Ballou ripped everything you knew as your ability to hear away from you with the highest of pitch harmonics. Liveliness lives here and if your balls didn’t burst during “Dark Horse” or even the finale of “Jane Doe”, the critically-acclaimed song that is said to have changed heavy music for years to come, then you need therapy. Or you need to leave therapy. I don’t know, but I do know that my world is ruined. Seeing Converge was very well worth the wait.
Once I was finally able to piece my butthole back together, a piece of the three pronged pie that gave birth to what we know as melodic death metal was ready to hit the stage. It is was great honor that I relay to you the steady-as-she-goes fury that was At the Gates. Your head was set in perpetual bangage and nothing could throw your shit off beat. At The Gates is to melodic death in the same rite as Slayer is thrash; consistent, sinister, unforgiving and FUCKING HEAVY. From opening track “Death and the Labyrinth” to the final beat of “The Night Eternal”, chaos was had in your ears as these old cats planted their roots in that stage and straight ripped ’til the cows came home. I say it a lot and I hope to say it ’til I’m dead: metal is alive, and she is as healthy as she’s ever been.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Eric Brisson Eric Brisson Photography