The concert started on time with a opening band Deserted Fear, a death metal band from Germany. The band started playing in 2012 and have already published eight releases. This tour is dedicated to presenting their latest album “Drowned By Humanity“. It was evident that the band has several years of full maturity, lucid creativity and power to perform as a lead band as their musical performance, skills and quality of a lead singer has amazed the black metal fans in the audience and have managed to warm up the atmosphere. They have presented their very best and all that were not aware fully that the great three concerts are set out to be tonight have just realized it. It was a crying shame that the audience has accustomed to concerts starting late or later in the evening- so the hall was unfortunately only half full and a bit cold. Maybe the cold in the concert hall has fit well with the atmosphere the band provided but it was a shame more people didn’t arrive on time to support the band. After all it was their first performance in Croatia and they have rocked the place! Or should I say: brought us a genuine death metal atmosphere just in time, so many instantly recovered from Christmas songs brainwash that already started throughout the country.
Finally, some relief came with a fact the venue finally was decently filled up just in time before the performance of the Swedish black metal band Nifelheim. They were exquisite! The musical performance, their influence and experience was visible at every point throughout the concert. Although considered a black metal band, the influence of thrash and bits of pieces of other genres make a band an unique, creative experience that gave quite a show and I didn’t get a feeling of a “depressive- aggressive” influences but rather pure joy of being able to see the legendary band. They were bursting with creative energy and warmed up the atmosphere to the point of boil. I have actually met a metalhead who had to leave the concert due to unforeseeable circumstances and was perfectly contend as he saw Nifelheim live and had to miss the lead band of the evening.
The bands is led by Tyrant and Hellbutcher, who are twins and known in Sweden as “Bröderna Hårdrock”, which translates to “The Hard Rock Brothers” (although it could also be translated as “The Heavy Metal Brothers” since “Hårdrock” is used to define all kinds of heavy music in Swedish). Showmanship of the vocalist is unprecedented and he made sure that the venue was lit on fire. The band exists for almost 30 years and they have performed many of their legendary hits, but for me personally the highlight of the evening was a performance of the song “Burning Warpath To Hell”. Nifelheim ruled the stage, won over the audience and were the true stars of the evening! Of course the die hard fans of At the Gates will not agree, but we could all get along a much better and in harmony if more “we do not discuss the tastes of others” is applied. Were all metalheads and tonight truly felt like a family gathering of dear friends. I see no point in dividing metalheads into strict boxes that suggest some are more valuable, truer or dedicated than others. If some feel like Christmas family gatherings area definition of hell, tonight’s evening was a celebration that indicated what an ideal evening should look like: enjoying yourself to the fullest surrounded with friends and perfect atmosphere!The long awaited moment of the entrance of the At The Gates finally arrived. The venue was finally full to the max as the fans traveled from all over Croatia and even Slovenia to see the band live. There couldn’t be a more magnificent entry than the one the band chose: they started with their masterpiece: “To Drink From The Night Itself“. Not a soul in the house could remain coldblooded to that and the evening instantly turned from the greatest to the most perfect! Some of the highlights of the evening were “Death And The Labyrinth“ and “The Mirror Black“, but the emphasis was a great performance of the song “Under A Serpent Sun“.
Being as old as a Bible, I have previously seen the band live in 1996 when the band performed with Napalm Death in Remetinec. One things for sure: I’m sclerotic as I only remember Napalm Death, kind of forgot about seeing At the gates and the other is that the atmosphere could not even remotely be compared as the amount of stagediving and the energy and the amount of moshpits back in those days was just insane. Oh, wait…was there one or two things…nevermind. I believe the blame is to the security services nowadays and I would point out them as the only weak point of the evening. Apart from being to strict they forced the friendly gathering very early after the concert to quickly leave the premises into the rain, they have completely ruined my friends evening by confiscating a harmless clothing item only because it was full of metal and didn’t offer a chance to store it safely in the wardrobe, but just left it at the entrance which was extremely rude and made me angry.
All things aside, the feedback from the audience was great as it was a unique opportunity to see the legends live, to see the band that many of our beloved bands choose as one of the main influencers and are considered to the pioneers of the melodic death metal and one of those that stand out as one of the most influential ones. The perfect performance was concluded with a last song of the evening: “The Night Eternal“.
The concert of At the Gates lasted for about a hour and a half, and taking into consideration that the opening bands were amazing- it was truly a fully satisfying evening and I didn’t get a feeling like all ends too soon and like the bands just done their jobs, they have ruled the stage and gave their best!