At The Drive-In

Picture of At The Drive-In

Relationship Of Command

At The Drive-In - Relationship Of Command ©2000 Grand Royal
1. Arcarsenal
2. Pattern Against User
3. One Armed Scissor
4. Sleepwalk Capsules
5. Invalid Litter Dept.
6. Mannequin Republic
7. Enfilade
8. Rolodex Propaganda
9. Quarantined
10. Cosmonaut
11. Non-zero Possibility
12. Catacomb

No no, this band has no connection with our dearly departed Swedish death metallers At The Gates. I'd say At the Drive-In play hardcore with very emotional melodies and a fair share of experimenting, with a certain resemblance to Fugazi. After having seen Ross Robinson's name on the production-credits, I must admit that I got a bit biased against this album from the get-go. But Robinson has done nothing but enhance the quality of this album, by giving it a clean, detailed and very powerful sound. And no, there's no cameo by Fred Durst. Iggy Pop does make an appearance on "Rolodex Propaganda," though.

Most of the songs here are chock full of content, not just going by the typical "Okay, we have three riffs and a chorus now, let's hit the studio" attitude. Each song seems throughoutly constructed for maximum impact, and thankfully they have a lot of tricks up their sleeves that they pull out when you least expect it. Overall the music is very rhythmical in nature, in many cases focusing more on creating a groove than pulling you into its beautiful melodies. Like many other modern hardcore bands, they like to have the guitars do a lot of sounds and textural work, instead of just riffing away at full speed at all times. The vocals are usually sung in a fairly high register, not quite power metal mode, but certainly higher than your average latter-day rock singer. He varies a lot between his clean singing in more typical hardcore-shouting. The guy does occationally irk me a bit, but does a very convincing job of conveying his emotions.

Unfortunately this turned out to be one of those albums that I loved when I first got, but got increasingly tired of with subsequent listens. It's still a very good album, but I do tend to skip a few songs, like the annoying "Pattern Against User," and the really stupid "Rolodex Propaganda" track where Iggy Pop backs up with some silly vocals. But the album also has some jawdroppingly nifty songs like the opener "Arcarsenal" and the punkrocky "Mannequin Republic".

The musicianship on here is pretty damn impressive too. These guys have some serious chops in their arsenal, and they have no qualms about blasting your ears off. Overall the album suffers a bit from some of the weaker tracks, but it is nonetheless a very enjoyable release, and should be of interest to most people who are into well-done aggressive rock.

Review by Řystein H-O

Review date: 04/2001

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