At The Gates Demolish The House of Blues in Chicago

So I flew to Chicago on Bastille Day to see one of my favorite bands: the Swedish melodic death metal gods At The Gates. Initially, I had my hesitations about traveling from Atlanta to Chicago to see a concert – but ultimately the additional benefit of visiting a friend whom I’ve not seen in many years together with the one-chance-only kind of event that this concert represents (At The Gates broke up in 1996 and this is their “Suicidal Final Tour”), I went for it and purchased my tickets back in April along with a plane ticket and a hotel reservation.

My flight ran a little late so I didn’t actually get to my hotel until around 4:15 by which time I was pretty much guaranteed to arrive too late to see the opening band. This turn of events didn’t really bother me too much as I was only going to the concert to see one band and that band was the headliner. After dropping off my luggage at the hotel, I caught the airport shuttle back to O’Hare airport where I then took a CTA blue bus to Rosemont station. There, I finally caught the CTA blue line train which took me into downtown Chicago where I easily found my way to the House of Blues after a quick detour for some McDonald’s. 

When I entered the building to pick up my tickets from the Box Office, I could hear that the first band was already playing on stage. Apparently, they keep a tight schedule either on this tour or at The House of Blues in general. The concert doors opened at 5:30 and it seems that the first band Toxic Holocaust began playing at 5:45. As one guy waiting in line with me commented, that’s pretty amazing for one of these shows. Usually, you stand around for a long time after the doors open before any music starts and often there are long periods in between bands.

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Tracing The Musical Path

Tomorrow, I fly to Chicago to go see seminal Swedish Death Metal band At The Gates perform at one of their few US tour dates on the Suicidal Final Tour 2008 which functions as the fair-well tour that the band never had when they broke up in the 90’s just before I discovered their awesome music.

As the show draws near, I’ve been thinking about the musical evolution of various forms of extreme metal music and how sometimes you can pick out a clear path from one end of the spectrum to the other. For example, one can easily trace the development from Black Sabbath to At the Gates:

  1. Black Sabbath Black Sabbath (1970): proto-metal with traces of its blues origin
  2. Black Sabbath Paranoid (1970): early heavy metal
  3. Judas Priest Sad Wings of Destiny (1976): beginning of classic heavy metal
  4. Judas Priest Stained Class (1978): classic heavy metal with first hints of speed/thrash metal
  5. Slayer Show No Mercy (1983): early speed/thrash metal with clear lineage from Judas Priest’s sound
  6. Slayer Hell Awaits (1985): thrash metal – much darker with proto-death metal elements
  7. Possessed Seven Churches (1985): proto-death metal with traces of thrash origins
  8. Death Scream Bloody Gore (1987): early death metal with most thrash elements stripped away
  9. Morbid Angel Alters of Madness (1989): seminal early death metal
  10. Entombed Left Hand Path (1990): death metal with early hints of the melodic death metal sound
  11. At The Gates Gardens of Grief (1991): early At The Gates with only hints of their future sound
  12. At The Gates With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness (1993): Early melodic death metal sound
  13. At The Gates Slaughter Of The Soul (1995): Classic melodic death metal album
Now I am not saying that the bands later in the list were directly influenced by bands earlier in the list, but if you listen to these albums in order you can clearly hear the relationships and the evolution of the sound.
That’s our little metal history lesson for today… ‘Til next time keep it metal!