Live Review: At The Gates, The Seer, Diminish The Gods

2 November 2015 | 4:38 pm | Brendan Crabb

"Definitely among 2015's best extreme metal outings."

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Both death metal supports evidently revelled in opening for one of the genre's progenitors, and each were met with a hearty response. Sydneysiders Diminish The Gods fused technically proficient riffage with bruising breakdowns and gargling-shards-of-glass vocals. A tad nondescript in spots, but increasingly won converts. Newcastle mob The Seer's sound was a little too quiet, depriving their intriguing atmospherics of some punch. That said, symphonic-laced, progressive-minded cuts seemed to garner approval amid the burgeoning gathering.

"We're not on the reunion tour anymore," At The Gates' likeable frontman Tomas Lindberg, whose distinctive roar remained nigh on impenetrable, remarked of the highly influential headliners. After an initial comeback jaunt afforded the victory lap they never enjoyed the first time around, the Swedes eschewed mere nostalgia status by issuing last year's At War With Reality. Much to the audience's delight, it was that LP and melodic death pillar, 1995 swansong Slaughter Of The Soul, which comprised the bulk of their set. Old and new blended seamlessly, visceral yet melodic gems like Cold and World Of Lies meshing with Heroes And Tombs and The Circular Ruins as if two decades hadn't passed between their respective arrivals.

The Slaughter Of The Soul material elicited the most bruising circle-pits and the title track's opening "Go!" continued to be a true rallying cry. A fraction more focus on undervalued releases like Terminal Spirit Disease would have been welcomed by diehards, but the quintet evidently recognised their crowd-pleasing fare, as the earliest material wasn't greeted with quite the same gusto. Technical issues visibly irked selected members at various points, but punters largely seemed nonplussed, or at least forgiving of any temporary setbacks. Judging by the healthy turnout, At The Gates' collision of foot-on-the-throat intensity and memorable hooks retained a sizeable appeal, while the chemistry between the players was very much palpable. Definitely among 2015's best extreme metal outings.