At the Gates at the Corona Theatre

The At the Gates Slaughter of the Soul anniversary tour stopped in Montreal this past Friday. The seminal 1995 album turned 25 years old in 2020, and while the band was supposed to embark on a special tour that year to celebrate, virus-related delays resulted in the live dates getting postponed to this year. Thankfully At the Gates stayed true to their plans, touring the highly anticipated live set for North American audiences this year.

Although fans undoubtedly came for the headlining act, supporting acts Enforced and Municipal Waste made waiting for At the Gates a little bit easier. Sporting a broken arm supported in a sling, Enforced frontman Knox Colby commanded the stage with a lively performance, delivering his signature raw punk vocals to a packed Corona Theatre. Some of his instrumented counterparts could have done a little more than stand still while playing their guitars however, but the up-and-coming Richmond, Virginia crossover thrashers thankfully have an impressive catalogue of jumpy music to rely on which made for a good show.

Second opening act Municipal Waste may have stolen the night. Also from Richmond, Virginia, the crossover thrashers have been fan-favourites in the metal scene for over twenty years now, and for good reason. The energy in the room immediately went up a notch when the group took the stage, as the moshpit immediately doubled in size when the band’s chuggy thrashing onslaught began. And despite spending most of the night yelling into the microphone, frontman Tony Foresta was in a very welcoming mood, charismatically throwing smiles at the audience and engaging in fun banter between songs.

The group rifled through staple setlist tracks such as “You’re Cut Off,” “Sadistic Magician,” and “Breathe Grease.” During the anthemic “Wave of Death,” Foresta asked the audience to get as many people crowdsurfing as possible, and Montreal delivered. Boots and Converse were immediately flying through the air, as the frontman retrieved an empty recycling bin backstage and chucked it into the moshpit. Their set was a fun time.

Headlining act At the Gates finally took the stage, much to the crowd’s enjoyment. The Gothenburg legends played the entirety of the Slaughter of the Soul LP as promised, while also throwing other tracks into the mix, such as singles from their most recent record The Nightmare of Being, and 2018’s To Drink from the Night Itself.

In comparison to Enforced and Municipal Waste, who come from the same city and play the same style of music, At the Gates’ flavour of melodic death metal was quite refreshing to the ears. Still, their fast-paced yet sturdy songs got people bouncing around quite a bit, if not with a little help from the vibe-setting Municipal Waste prior. It was amazing to hear Slaughter of the Soul in its entirety, from mere melodic interludes to the heavy-hitting title track, which had the entire venue screaming along to the chorus. The group were also in top form, with original vocalist Tomas Lindberg bringing high energy alongside the other band members, one of which being live session guitarist Daniel Martinez, who also plays with technical death metal legends Atheist.

While there were no other complaints, an hour and a half of At the Gates’ music revealed how repetitive their material is. Although the group opened strong with their signature style, their tracks lacked variety, which created a lull towards the back half of their performance. Lindberg even hinted at the audience’s sapped energy, as he mockingly made a yawning gesture towards the crowd between vocal lines. To be fair, the waning energy may have been the result of the two high intensity openers.

Regardless, seeing At the Gates live, on top of hearing every song from the famous Slaughter of the Soul in-concert, was quite the treat. Although the tour has now concluded, please make sure to catch At the Gates, Municipal Waste, and/or Enforced the next chance you get.


Hunter co-hosts The Iron Club, your weekly guide to the dark and mysterious realm of underground metal, which airs every Sunday from 9:00 - 11:00 p.m.