At The Gates - The Hi-Fi, Brisbane, 31/10/2012

A once in a lifetime opportunity...

It was fine turn out for Swedish melodic death metallers At The Gates, opening their first ever (and quite possibly last ever) tour of Australia at the Hi-Fi Bar in the heart of Brisbane's West End. Punters were treated to the superfantastic sounds of Brisbane's In Death who immediately proceeded to go off. It was most excellent to see lots of fans turn out for the first support act with Krugga roaring like the great bear that he is, with his solid stage presence (both literally and metaphorically). I hadn't caught In Death before so it was good to see them tearing it up, despite the fact I didn't know any of their tunes, and by their third song, the place was filling up. A highlight for me was Danika Ruohonen's bass that punched through and left bruises on my chest. In Death finished their set with Do Not Resuscitate; a track (I think) from their forth-coming EP?

The other Brissie support act The Fevered hit the stage running with some monstrous drumming and it was a relentless set punctuated with some sweet bass breaks; sadly due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to devote my full attention to these fellows - but they worked the crowd up into a suitably fevered state (boom tish!) in preparation for At The Gates.

There was much discussion among the fans about possible set-lists and by 10:30, the place was, by Brisbane standards, heaving. The stage was drenched in purple lights, reminding me of chocolate, and there were all manner of sound-checks going on behind the curtains. Everyone was getting into a state of high anticipation and it wasn't long before a blasting stringed intro sent the crowd over the edge. At The Gates hit the stage and it was heavy as fuck and fucking loud. My entrails were vibrating and I must give thanks to the sound-guys for their work; it was spot on and perfectly balanced. You could hear every cymbal and every note with a rare clarity. ATG dropped their infamous break-downs at every opportune moment and the crowd, though oddly restrained, were lapping it up. Every song was delivered with (almost) note-perfect precision and by the end of the set the pit was jumping to the tight (and glorious) riffs hurled out by ATG. The riffage was embellished wiith some beautiful lead guitar work and I suspect that most people were more interesting in actually watching the band as opposed to thrashing around like lunatics. I did have a chuckle when Tomas Lindberg introduced a tune with 'This one's an old one...' given that there was no new material and every tune was 'an old one' but it didn't seem to matter because the crowd just loved it. Overall, it was a sweet, sweet gig with everyone just happy to see an old favourite in the flesh.