At The Drive-In - Relationship Of Command (Cover Artwork)

At The Drive-In

At The Drive-In: Relationship Of CommandRelationship Of Command (2001)
Grand Royal

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: Booker_PeePat Book
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Every once in a while, humankind is blessed enough to receive the gift of a musical experience that grabs you by the collar from the beginning and refuses to let go until you've listened to every last thing they have to say. Over and over again. That time is upon us once more, in the guise of a .
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Every once in a while, humankind is blessed enough to receive the gift of a musical experience that grabs you by the collar from the beginning and refuses to let go until you've listened to every last thing they have to say. Over and over again. That time is upon us once more, in the guise of a band called At The Drive-In.

At The Drive-In's new album, Relationship of Command, is simply the greatest album I've heard in a long, long time. This band is plastic rage. The first track on the disc, "Arc Arsenal," begins with a flourish, a short instrumental bit opening the song, followed by some of the most prolific shouting/screaming/singing I've ever heard. The album rages over eleven songs, changing its colours at every turn. "Invalid Litter Dept." is a half spoken word/half sung tune that slows things down a bit; "Non-Zero Possibility" incorporates some piano licks; "Quarantined" has a sample of a thunderstorm. The unifying elements are the crunching guitar riffs, the staccato drums, and the painful-sounding shriek of lead singer Cedric Bixler.

While the emotional content of the songs is high, it's also ironic; At The Drive-In's lyrics are almost completely nonsensical. Take the song, "Pattern Against User" - it's chorus goes something like this: "Patten against user - dilated/bastard waiting for nothing/circus carny guarding/the gates of heaven/pact stuck in limbo abduction/wormed our way through/distant earth." And that's just one of many, many examples. They're easily one of the most passionate-sounding bands out there, but it's impossible to tell what they're so passionate about.

This is punk, but not like any punk you've heard in a while. It's hardcore, but not the hardcore you're thinking of. It's high on emotion, but it's unlike any emo music you've ever heard. To put it simply, this band is doing it's own thing, which is a rarity in good music these days, and it couldn't be better.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
eatdogs (April 12, 2012)

this album is still awesome not matter what. ATDI 2012 is here right now. can you believe that??? it's become a reality...

nocomply (November 18, 2011)

Sorry, I meant 11 years.

nocomply (November 18, 2011)

Holy Fword this record will melt your face off and twist your mind in so many ways!! You cannot quantify or classify this music. It's off the charts! The reply value of this album has been proven again and again over the past (gasp!) 12 years. This is by far and wide the best piece of work out of the ATDI/Sparta/Mars Volta/etc... crew.

If you don't give this record 6 stars out of 5 you're committing a crime.

swellersfan7407 (February 23, 2009)

such a sick band.

swellersfan7407 (February 17, 2009)

fuck yeah, love this band and TMV.

lesterfangs (October 31, 2008)

a classic!!!!

drewshaw (January 2, 2008)

you tube the live BDO performance of arc arsenal. pure passion. thats what i think music should be

thurstonXwhore (February 13, 2007)

At the Drive-in are not original. They are not creative. They're just the Mexican Fugazi. They did Fugazi's entire career in just three albums, but, fortunately, it's impossible to fuck up Fugazi. Get the first album. More going on there than there is here.

totalstranga (July 26, 2006)


Anonymous (June 17, 2006)

Oh, my world. It is ok

GreenVandal (June 15, 2006)

I dont see why everyone shits their pants over this band. It is so average. Nothing really special is happening on this CD.

Anonymous (June 15, 2006)

Oh, my world. It is ok

Anonymous (April 30, 2005)

Oh and also...the lyrics aren't non-sensical. They are just well thought out. They make sense if you want to try and figure them out. Good luck though.

Anonymous (April 30, 2005)

First of all...fucking amazing album from a fucking amazing band. Truly inspirational and powerful music. I haven't heard their older albums but after seeing people's comments I might just check them out too.

The Mars Volta are certainly an amazing band but you can't compare them to ATDI. Not saying they are better or worse...they are too different. Its a matter of personal taste and preference.

To the guy who asked about the backing vocals in "Rolodex Propagana", they were done by Iggy Pop on the recording and when ATDI played it live, Cedric played guitar and sang, Jim played keyboards and Omar did Iggy Pop's part.

Do yourself a favour...go find some live clips of this band. Fucking amazing.

bencarter (April 19, 2005)

Who does the background vocals on Rolodex Propaganda? It's probably Omar but they sound pretty different.

Anonymous (April 15, 2005)

excellent album!

Anonymous (February 6, 2005)

Not usually into this stuff but this was a great album. I prefer this to The Mars Volta really, they're okay but way too overrated.


Anonymous (January 8, 2005)

This album is, well, I listen to it every now and then but it's really nothing compared to the Mars Volta stuff. That's where Omar and Cedric really get to show their talent, not in this insane scream-pop.

Anonymous (December 9, 2004)


I don't think your review did them justice.

Anonymous (December 9, 2004)

Throw all of your labels out of the fucking window. This album ripps and no band will EVER compare to atdi.



Anonymous (June 21, 2004)

This album is a blast to listen to when you're high.

Anonymous (June 21, 2004)

I think At The Drive-In was an amazing band. I understand that some people don't like this band for whatever reason, but I saw them live in 2000, and that was the best show I have ever seen and WILL ever see in my lifetime. I absolutely loved this band.

Anonymous (April 29, 2004)

this was a really good review for a really good album. i'm a big fan of track 10.

Anonymous (February 6, 2004)

One of the best cds in the past 20 years.

thriceequalsgod (February 3, 2004)

this album is sincerely one of the best i own, without a doubt.

Anonymous (January 16, 2004)

fuck this weak shit

Anonymous (September 26, 2003)

This album ... woah! Best shit to come out for years. It's absolutely fabulous. BEWARE!

slippy (June 25, 2003)

man at the drive in is soo great. sparta's work is pretty good, but it can't touch any atdi. however, that new mars volta cd might just do it...

Anonymous (April 21, 2003)

This band is so fucking great

mintymoose (February 20, 2003)

*agrees* At The Drive In are superb material..but i gotta disagree with the last post..The Mars Volta are also superb..very spacy music, i know..but the song Cut That City is pure genius! ah well..not everyone can like spacy music..i suppose
as for Sparta..they're fuckin BRILLIANT..i agree with you on that
ahh..no wonder At The Drive In were so good..they had much talented people in it..yup

PunkcoreKid (November 3, 2002)

First off let me say At The Drive-In are amazing. This CD is great. And to the guy two posts down, Mars Volta or whatever isn't At The Drive-In continued after they broke up, Sparta is. Check out the song "Cut Your Ribbon" by Sparta, you can tell the At The Drive-In influence.

Anonymous (September 23, 2002)

To the guy who asked if they had a song on the radio: "dancing on the children's ashes" must've been misheard, as they're actually saying "dancing on the corpse's ashes."
Either way, the name of the song is "Invalid Litter Dept."

Anonymous (June 11, 2002)

this band fuckig rocks they are the most creative and full hearted band in along time if you dont own this go and get it right know you can listen to this cd all the way through if you like them check out the mars volta they are at the drive in continued after they broke up

Anonymous (January 26, 2002)

At the drive in are the best band in the world. Full stop. Fuck you all. Thank you. Applauses to you all.

YellowTrash (November 19, 2001)

This is pretty good. It got me into ATDI and indie rock.

Anonymous (November 7, 2001)

did this group have a song on the radio last summer that went something like "dancing on children's ashes" or something along the lines of that? or am i thinking of a completely different band?

Anonymous (November 6, 2001)

Unbeknownst to me (while I was still into the alternative scene), this was my first punk album. I'm glad no one's btching about them "selling out."

-Sr. Potpourri

Anonymous (August 14, 2001)

just because they broke up doesnt mean that their album is amazing, or a masterpiece. ive been lisetening to this since it came out, and i still havent gotten tired of it. i dont believe that atdi are striving to be different, i think its the fact that they all come from different musical backgrounds and such. this cd is probably my favorite of all time.

commenting on the old "their old stuff is better" argument. their old stuff is amazing, its up to par in emotion and intensity as ROC, but what it lacks is the production quality that ROC has. if in/casino/out had been produced by ross robinson, it would be much better than relationship of command. if you want a strong comparison, atdi recorded the song "catacombs" twice, once with the production quality of in/casino/out, and then the ross robinson version. you can find the in/casino/out quality version on kazaa labeled as 'catacomb' (note the emitted 's') whereas the ross robinson version is labeled 'catacombs.' listen to the first and then the second, and you'll see where im coming from.

Anonymous (July 20, 2001)

What happened to my post? I was defending the reviewer! What's wrong with that?

coldjuly (June 27, 2001)

I heard at the drive-in back in 97 on a mix tape my friend had given me..and "relationship of command" is no where near the intensity of the older stuff. listen to "acrobatic tenement" "hell paso" or "in/casino/out" and "vaya"...dont get me wrong "relationship of command" was a good CD, But the older stuff definitley shows how intense this band can be

Anonymous (June 15, 2001)

Yep, ATDI is awesome. They do whatever they want with their music and even though it's nothing like bands like Green Day, Rancid, and Offspring who have also made it mainstream, it sounds so fucking awesome.

-Senor Potpourri

seek (June 15, 2001)

this cd rocks, ATDI kicks ass and they are really creative.

Anonymous (June 6, 2001)

at first, i detested this band, but after a while, this cd grew on me. they're doing some pretty cool shit, and really striving to be different. i can see why people love them, and why people hate them.

Anonymous (June 4, 2001)

Completely awesome. This CD is real weird, they haven't fucking broken up, but it's AWESOME!!! Invalid Letter Department has some messed-up lyrics, though. All about death'n stuff.

Anonymous (April 10, 2001)

Well thanks for contributing your narrowmindedness to my review. Just so you know, i've never read buddyhead. I own the entire ATDI catalogue and they are possessed of a greatness someone as close minded and ignorant as you will never understand. And don't worry about them "breaking up", they'll be back eventually to be underappreciated by scraps of flesh like you.

Anonymous (April 9, 2001)

what the f*uck? how did i know? you must be one of those f*uck jack-offs that read buddyhead. you are a moron my friend, and i feel great knowing that i said you liked at the drive in and here it is in all of its splendor. ATDI SUCKS AND THEY BROKE UP get over it you f*cking jerkoff

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