Why did melodic death metal become such a big deal in Gothenburg?
–I don't think the city in itself has much to do with it. But if there are one or two enthusiastic bands that start off while still an underground scene, like in the late 80s and early 90s, a small scene is born around that. And if the bands remind a little bit of each other it is easy for the next generation of bands to be influenced and the sound gets more established.
Photo: Andy Hayball
The thing they have in common is a death metal sound focused around melodies and melancholy, but Tomas points out that the bands are in fact very different from one another with their own character.
–Death metal is often known as being a lot about agression, but we have a large emotional palette.
How do you feel about the upcoming Metaltown Indoor festival?
–I have played at the club Trädgårn before, this is probably the fifth time, and the atmosphere is always phenomenal. I look forward to it a lot and think it will be great! The line-up, especially for the main stage, has a wide range of bands this year but the quality is constant.
At the Gates was founded in 1990 and is perhaps most well-known for the album Slaughter of the Soul, from 1994. The band broke up two years later and was not reunited until 2008. A few years later they released the album At War with Reality, the first in 19 years.
–We said some time that we would quit, but it is too fun! The rebirth came with the new album in 2014, the band got revitalised and the past two years have been amazing. We have played more than ever – at our own terms. We were so young in the 90s, but today we have a fantastic position. It's a privilege, we have known each other since youth but have still developed ourselves individually outside the band too.
What's the largest difference between now and then?
–We are now musically skilled enough to realise what we wanted to before, both technically, but also arranging the music to bring out what we want to say. It's still more or less the same emotional palette, but developed into a new record. Old fans will recognise the style and feeling. It's fresh, but not too new.
What other bands are must-sees at Metaltown Indoor?
–Don't miss Tribulation! We have played with them before and they are a young and hungry band on the same record label as us. Their new album is very melodic and powerful, they smoothly mix in various styles in their death metal.
Tomas also mentions Black Temple, Bombus, Katakonia and Nightrage – read more about Metaltown.
Tomas' top picks for metal fans in Gothenburg
1. Exhibiton: The Music Scene in Gothenburg, 1955-2018.
"I think you should start the day with a visit to the Gothenburg City Museum."
2. The record store Bengans.
"Bengans has a very good metal section, with both vinyl and cd."
3. Linné skivbörs på Andra Långgatan.
"Second hand vinyl store where the staff knows their thing."
4. Concerts at Truckstop Alaska or Belsepub.
"Do try to sync your visit with a gig at Truckstop Alaska. They are quite niche, but high quality. If there are no concerts there you can try the club Belsepub, at Valand. They have many local gigs. If you're lucky you might even be able to do Truckstop Alaska one day and Belsepub the other."
5. Walk around and get a feeling of the city.