(Nov 1995)" />
At the Gates' Almighty Acclamations
An interview with At the Gates
by: Brian Meloon
CoC: Let's start at the beginning; tell me about the early days of the band, how you formed and so forth.

Tomas Lindberg: Well, we started around 1990 in Gothenburg, Sweden, by releasing our first mini-album on a small Swedish independant label. And that kind of got us hooked up with Peaceville; after that, we released three albums with Peaceville, and that's where we are today.

CoC: How'd you come up with the name 'At the Gates'. is there a story behind that?

TL: No, it's just more like we played around with some words and stuff like that, and it came around. I think it's a pretty good name, because people remember it. It sounds a bit more weird than most other death metal bands. And it's still got that death metal feel to it as well.

CoC: You've got five albums, including the first one. How many videos have you done?

TL: So far, we've done four videos, actually. We did one for "Kingdom Gone" from _The Red In the Sky Is Ours_, and then we had one for "The Burning Darkness" off _With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness_, and then we did the title track from _Terminal Spirit Disease_, and now we just completed work on "Blinded By Fear" from _Slaughter of the Soul_. That's already been played three times on the European Headbanger's Ball.

CoC: Is MTV Europe a good or bad thing?

TL: It's both good and bad. I mean, for us it's always been good, because we have a good relationship with them. But I still feel like they have no competition because it's only one channel, so they can pretty much rule. They pretty much control which bands are going to be big and stuff like that, and that's what's sad.

CoC: About your split with Peaceville, was that because you guys just grew out of the label?

TL: Yeah, we did all three albums we were under contract to do, and when we came up to signing with them again, we didn't feel really comfortable, because Music For Nations had bought out Peaceville in Europe. And that got us in a really weird situation, so we'd rather go with a label that really showed interest in us, and Earache really got 100% behind us.

CoC: So, tell me about your influences, both your past influences and what you're currently listening to.

TL: When we started out, we were experimenting a lot, and trying to be a little different on the first EP, _Gardens of Grief_, and on _TRitSIO_. I think we tried in a way to be the King Crimson of death metal or something like that. We always listened to death metal all the way... all the old stuff: Insanity, Possessed, Dark Angel, stuff like that, stuff like Slayer and Judas Preist have always been an influence. Slayer and Judas Priest are the two favorite bands that we all have in common. Currently, we listen to a lot of different stuff. Some albums that I've gotten into within the last month are the new Mindrot album which is fucking awesome, and Neurosis, and stuff like Assuck; the more crusty things. And even some of the new death metal bands, like Seance totally bash it out, and I like the new Suffocation, and there's also very different stuff that I get into.

CoC: Can you tell me about your lyrics, what inspires them?

TL: Well, on the new album, I've written all the lyrics for the first time. I've written every word, and they're very personal to me. It's something I really stand for. It's how I view my last couple years in life, and the world around me, stuff like that. It's pretty much critical towards society, government control, media control, that sort of thing.

CoC: Can you tell me what kind of transitions you made musically from _TSD_ to the new album? I noticed some experimentation going on.

TL: Well, the real change is that it's even more straight to the point and more aggressive, and faster, but we incorporated some new ideas, some new song structures and stuff like that, to try and develop it. But the important thing for us is to write good songs. We concentrated really hard on that with this one.

CoC: Tell me about your vocal style, what inspired you to sing like that as it's not the usual death metal style?

TL: When I started out, who really got me started singing was Jeff Picara (sic) from Possessed. That was my ultimate inspiration when I started. It's always been a source of inspiration: all singers that have a really desparate, aggressive voice I really like ... you know, like Pentagram. I like how they go over the top, but you can still hear that they are controlled, that's what I try to do.

CoC: Can you tell me what your feelings are about the death metal scene in general? Is it dying?

TL: Well, I've gotten a lot of questions about this over here in the US. I've heard about this thing going about the decline of metal, the death of metal. Coming from Europe, that's horrible, because in Europe, it's still a very huge scene and a very good market for metal. I think it's just some big media people want to kill it off. I mean, there's still a good underground here in the US; I see a lot of good bands and shit like that.

CoC: Yeah, there's still a good underground, it's just that the mainstream media doesn't take hold of it.

TL: Well, that's just it: fuck the mainstream. That's what it's always been about. I mean, that's why you can't kill death metal, because it's always been about the underground. If it was just a fad, the big media would pick up on death metal for awhile, and then drop it, and we'd say fuck it we'll go back to the underground. They can have their Poison, their Skid Row.

CoC: Does the band have "day jobs?"

TL: No, we're committed to the band now. Since we've signed to Earache, we have no spare time at all. We've been rehearsing so hard, and when I go back to Sweden again, I think I'll have done like 200 interviews for this album. And the warm up shows now for the tour, and stuff like that, we rehearse so hard for those, we rearrange the sets all the time. I don't really think about my future after At The Gates, because that really scares me. This is what we want to do ... forever.

CoC: Are you familiar with the Internet?

TL: A bit ... I don't have a computer myself, but at a friend's house, I've checked it out a few times. You're doing this interview for the Internet right?

CoC: Yes, we're an e-mail zine.

TL: That's cool. I really like that it's starting up, because it's time for us derelicts to infest that stuff as well. I'm doing three or four e-mail zines here right now actually. It's pretty cool, I've never done one before, but it's inspiring, really.

CoC: So, any final words for your fans across the world?

TL: Well, thanks a lot for your support everybody. I mean, we would have never been here without you. This is the biggest step for us ever, to be on Earache, and we never would have been able to do that without the support of the underground. Never forget the underground.

(article submitted 8/11/1995)

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