The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time!

The 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time, #20: At the Gates

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The 25 Best Metal Bands of All TimeAt the Gates Should Make a Reunion Album

MetalSucks recently polled over a hundred of metal’s most revered musicians, critics, journalists, artists, publicists, and industry insiders to find out which 25 bands represent the very BEST in the history of metal. Today we continue the countdown with Sweden’s…

At the Gates
28 Votes
331 Points

I’m still not entirely sure how it happened, but at some point around the turn of this century, everyone in the Northeastern United States discovered At the Gates’ unfuckwithable masterpiece, Slaughter of the Soul, and everyone in the Northeastern United States came to the same conclusion about that unfuckwithable masterpiece: “Holy shit, this masterpiece is unfuckwithable! We should just ape these guys!!!” And suddenly you’d have sworn that Gothenburg, Sweden had been relocated to Worcester, MA. The AttheGatescore trend was at first a breath of fresh air, coming, as it did, at the end of nu-metal’s deplorable reign of sadness, and it quickly spread far beyond the confines of Connecticut and its neighboring states. And then, as is the case with all trends, it wore out its welcome. But you have to be glad that it ever happened, because if it hadn’t, a good portion of the metal community still wouldn’t know who the fuck At the Gates were, and the band wouldn’t have reunited, and we would have been deprived of their new unfuckwithable masterpieceAt War with Reality.

But At the Gates deserve credit for more than accidentally defining metal for the past fifteen years. It’s easy to concentrate one’s focus on Slaughter of the Soul because it changed melodeath forever. But At the Gates didn’t build Rome, NY’s club scene in a day; they built up to it with three other new-one-ripping full-lengths, plus an ear-raping EP. In fact, I’m not even sure that it’s really fair to classify anything prior to Terminal Spirit Disease as “melodeath,” as opposed to just regular death metal. Still, as far as bands that publicly struggled to “find their own unique voice” go, At the Gates obviously acquitted themselves admirably: from “All Life Ends” to “Kingdom Gone” to “Blood of the Sunsets,” At the Gates were an exemplary death metal band from the cry of the word “GO!”. But they evolved. They got even better. And when they DID find their own voice, they obviously did so, in a big, big, BIG way.

These accomplishments alone would certainly warrant a spot for At the Gates on this list — but when one considers the myriad of other excellent bands in the AtG family tree, the quintet suddenly seems even more impressive: The Haunted. Disfear. Cradle of Filth. Lock Up. Vallenfyre. At the Gates are like The Kennedys of metal.

When the band first reunited in 2007, they said it was for a one-off farewell tour. And I was fine with that — I made my peace with going to see them only to have to say “good-bye.” But now the band has been back together for seven years (!!!), and now my greatest fear is that they’ll someday leave us again. At the Gates have now taken us to the top of Everest; there’s no going back to climbing small hills.

THE LIST SO FAR:

#21 – AC/DC (17 Votes, 313 Points)
#22 – Celtic Frost (24 Votes, 310 Points)
#23 – Ozzy Osbourne (21 Votes, 290 Points)
#24 – Napalm Death (22 Votes, 278 Points)
#25 – Lamb of God (29 Votes, 277 Points)

THE ILLUSTRIOUS PANEL OF VOTERS:

Chris Alfano – East of the Wall, Gear Gods
Paul Allender – White Empress, ex-Cradle of Filth
Rob Arnold – The Elite, ex-Chimaira, ex-Six Feet Under
Alan Averill (aka A.A. Nemtheanga) – Primordial
Chuck B.B. – Artist
Matt Bachand – Shadows Fall
Micke Berg – Below
Chuck Billy – Testament
Randy Blythe – Lamb of God
Paul Booth – Last Rites Tattoo and Art Gallery
Jake Bowen – Periphery
Terry Butler – Obituary
Liz Ciavarella-Brenner – Publicist, Earsplit PR
Blake Charlton – Ramming Speed
Richard Christy – Charred Walls of the Damned, ex-Death, ex-Iced Earth, ex-Control Denied, The Howard Stern Show
Monte Conner – President, Nuclear Blast Entertainment
Bruce Corbitt – Rigor Mortis, Warbeast
Doc Coyle – ex-God Forbid
Sergeant D. – MetalSucks, Stuff You Will Hate
Topon Das – Fuck the Facts, Merdarahta
Anso DF – MetalSucks
Peter Dolving – Rosvo, ex-The Haunted
Ryan J. DowneySuperhero Artist Management
Sacha Dunable – Intronaut, Bereft, Dunable Guitars
Vince Edwards – Head of Publicity, Metal Blade Records
Excretakano – MetalSucks
Exmortus
Extreme Management Group
D.X. Ferris – Slayer ScholarMetalSucks
Ryan Fleming – Black Table
Jon Freeman – Publicist, Freeman Promotions
Matthew Friesen – Culted
Ville Friman – Insomnium
Mike Gitter – Senior Director of A&R, Razor & Tie
Frank Godla – Metal Injection, Meek is Murder
Mike Greene – Director of Digital Marketing, Razor & Tie
Shane Handel – Set and Setting
Jeff Hodak – Head of Sales, Razor & Tie
Terence Hannum – Locrian
John Hoffman – Weekend Nachos
Mark Hunter – ex-Chimaira
Don JamiesonThat Metal Show
Daniel Jansson – Culted
John Jarvis – Pig Destroyer, Fulgora
Gaz Jennings – Death Penalty, ex-Cathedral
Patrik Jensen – The Haunted
Rick Jimenez – Extinction A.D.
Kassa – Below
Mirai Kawashima – Sigh
“Grim” Kim KellyMetalSucks
Zeena Koda
Erik Kluiber – Gypsyhawk
Eyal LeviUnstoppable Killing Machine, Dååth
Jason Lekberg – IKILLYA
Adam Lindmark – Morbus Chron
Ryan Lipynsky – Serpentine Path, Unearthly Trance, The Howling Wind
Jonah Livingston – Ramming Speed
Bob Lugowe – Director of Promotions/Marketing, Relapse Records, Brutal Panda Records
James Malone – Arsis, Necromancing the Stone
Jose Mangin – Director of Music Programming, Sirius XM Liquid Metal
Bobby Mansfield – 16
Misha Mansoor – Periphery
Morgan McGrath – Live Nation
Mike “Gunface” McKenzie – The Red Chord, Stomach Earth, Nightkin
Vince Neilstein – MetalSucks
Eventansvarig Biostaden Nyköping – Below
Chris Ojeda – Byzantine
Casey Orr – Rigor MortisWarbeast
Rob Pasbani – Metal Injection
Anders Persson – Portrait
Chris Pervelis – Internal Bleeding
Karim Peter – Artist Relations, IndieMerchandising
Raphael Pinsker – Booking Agent, 3Thirteen Entertainment Group
Polar
Markus “Rabapagan” – Metsatöll
Josh Rand – Stone Sour
Emperor Rhombus – MetalSucks
Gus Rios – Gruesome
Tobias Rosén – Noctum
Axl Rosenberg – MetalSucks
Travis Ryan – Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Nader Sadek
Saturn
Marc Schapiro, Branch Marketing Collective
Zach Shaw – The Syndicate
Patrick Sheridan – Fit For An Autopsy
Alex Skolnick – Testament
Brian Slagel – Chairman/CEO, Metal Blade Records
Mark Solotroff – Anatomy of Habit, Bloodlust!, BLOODYMINDED
Steve “Zetro” Souza – Exodus, Hatriot
Kevin Stewart-Panko – Decibel, MetalSucks
Black String – Vampire
Jason Suecof – Audiohammer Studios
Bram Teitelman – Metal Insider
Nick Tieder – No Jacket Required Marketing, Indegoot
Tone Deaf Touring
Aaron Turner – Old Man Gloom, ex-ISIS, Hydra Head Records
Brody Uttley – Rivers of Nihil
George Vallee – Head of Publicity, Street Smart Marketing
Dirk Verbeuren – Soilwork, Bent Sea, Scarve
Jens Vestergren – Below
Jake Wade – Columns
Kelly Walsh – Publicist, Prosthetic Records
Mike Wohlberg – The Fat Kid Illustration
Wookubus – The PRP
Zodiac

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