I guess it’s no surprise that At The Gates wouldn’t last too long with the original lineup for the reunion tour and subsequent album. It’s really something special that they lasted as long as they did. But if we all recall, it was only supposed to be a one-off thing that turned into something bigger once the band saw the response. Anders Björler is saying that leaving the band, “has 100% to do with the music side of things,” and it doesn’t surprise me that after so long that musical tastes may have evolved.
Anders released his instrumental album, “Antikythera” back in 2013 which was a proggy, jazzy record that really seemed to focus on atmosphere and creating a feeling for the listener. It’s music that is beautiful and takes you on a journey and to anyone who hasn’t had a chance to hear it you should really give it a spin. But with songwriting in the vein of “Antikythera” it’s no surprise that hanging out on the opposite end of the spectrum with the aggressive, rhythmic powerhouse that is At The Gates is not something that Anders would want to continue doing.
I’m of course speculating based on a very short statement but as a musician I can understand how motivation can die when you’re not doing something that speaks to you at that time. So then what is next for At The Gates?
The legendary band is already hard at work on the next record and they are describing it as both intense and hungry. As a fan, I am just hopeful for some aggression and something that gets me raising my fist in the air which At The Gates is so fucking good at. I want to hear the first track and feel the need to punch something.
The band has not yet announced a replacement for Anders but I am guessing guitarists from around the world will be falling over themselves to secure the spot so there should be no shortage of awesome candidates. Metalsucks is already providing their opinion on who should replace him with a short list:
#1 – Alf Svensson
#2 – Patrik Jensenpatrik
#3 – Ola Englund
#4 – Mike Schleibaum
#5 – Michael Amott
#6 – Emil Werstler
#7 – Jesper Strömblad
It’ll be exciting to see who winds up taking his place, I just hope it’s someone with the right energy level live! Here’s the band’s full statement on the release of Anders Björler in case you missed it.
AT THE GATES Statement – March 8, 2017
So, it is now official that Anders Björler is no longer a part of At The Gates. He will always be part of the At The Gates family, of course, but he will no longer write, record or play with us live.
This is something that we, the rest of the band, have felt was on its way for quite some time, as that special spark was no longer with him the last year.
We are grateful for all we have experienced together with him, all the records, all the songs, all the gigs, all the laughs and good times.
The rest of us have in the meantime started the work on the follow up to At War With Reality, we already have three songs written, and the direction is set for an intense, hungry follow-up album.
Jonas has always written a considerable part of the bands’ material and we are fully confident that the new material will live up to the standards set by our previous records. It is ripping.
The four of us still has the burning urge to create death metal together, and we love playing live in front of our fans, so we will go on, with an even stronger intent.
While writing the new record, that we intend to record in the beginning of 2018, we are trying out Anders’ replacement. Some auditions are being held as we speak, and we will get back to you with news on the matter as soon as we know more.
Below are some comments from Anders:
“Just a quick note to let everybody know that I am leaving At The Gates permanently.
The passion is just gone. There might be a more lengthy statement in the future, but at the moment I feel no need to explain further.
This is a personal decision, and it has 100% to do with the music side of things.
The reunion in 2008, and the subsequent tours, as well as the comeback album ’AT WAR WITH REALITY’, really helped revisiting our friendship, and it brought us together in a way I will always remember and cherish.
I would also like to thank all the people that supported us throughout the reunion shows as well as the ’AT WAR WITH REALITY’ album.
Thanks a lot!”