Relationship Of Command Review

artist: at the drive-in date: 08/12/2008 category: compact discs
at the drive-in: Relationship Of Command
Released: Sep 12, 2000
Genre: Rock
Tones: Literate, Rowdy, Theatrical, Aggressive, Confrontational, Fierce, Fiery
Styles: Indie Rock, Post-Grunge
Number Of Tracks: 11
 Sound: 9.8
 Lyrics: 9.1
 Overall Impression: 9.9
 Overall rating:
 9.7 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.6 
 Users rating:
 9.8 
 Votes:
 45 
reviews (9) 18 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 21, 2005
4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: At The Drive-In are, to me at least, one of the most important bands that have come out. Their sound was unparalleled and can't be duplicated. The last album from this band had to my opinion the best sound. The riffs are intense and underrated more complex than one might think. Another thing this band does is encorporate bass lines that are just as important to the listening experience as the guitar and drums. Alot of bands today you cant even hear the bass. The drumming is also phenomenal. To put it best theyr sound is not of this earth, and is hard to categorize as is the mars volta. When you listen to the songs over again, listen very closely and youll hear something you didnt catch the first time. That's how complex the song structures are. // 10

Lyrics: Lyrics that are abstract in meaning. But still have truth in them. You can paint a perfect picture of whatever you think the song means to you, and I enjoyed that. Definitely a inspiration for my own lyrics. And the lyrics, like the music, are very complex and melodic to the sound. It compliments the sound very well. Cedric's voice is beautifully soft. Comparisons have been made to robert plant and I'd say they both have a range thats uncanny. To put them in the same category would be right. For the best songs lyric wise I'd say listen to: Rolodex Propaganda, Non-Zero Possibiliy, Invalid Litter Dept, and Extracurricular. Which is a bonus track if you got the good version of the CD. // 10

Overall Impression: I'd say it's their most polished album which means the best sound of them all. The CD gets regular play in my cd player cause it really influences my own music. As far as other artists are concerned, there are only precious few that even come near to this band. Track rating: 01. Arc Arsenal - great opening, and straps you in. 9/10 02. Pattern Against User - really love this feels political. 10/10 03. One Armed Scissor - blends from the last track and only single. 9/10 04. Sleepwalk Capsules - sounds a lil like the last track but still great. 9/10 05. Invalid Litter Dept - might be my favorite song on here. 10/10 06. Mannequin Republic - awesome song heavier than some. 9/10 07. Enfilade - starts off with a weird phone call then goes into a space like sounding lyrics. Really great guitar. 10/10 08. Rolodex Propaganda - a great collaboration with the great iggy pop has a '80s feel to me. 10/10 09. Quarantined - the darkest song on the album and one of my favs, great bass playing. Sorta goth feeling in a progressive way. 10/10 10. Cosmonaut - nice work Omar on the guitar on this one I love the sound he has on this song and the lyrics are great. 10/10 11. Non-Zero Possibility - the slow song of the album and epic. Piano playing is dramatic and comliments the lyrics. 10/10 12. Extracurricular (bonus) - guitar is bizarre and sounds heavy I'm glad they added these 2 songs it's add more to the experience without detracting from the overrall feel. 10/10 13. Catacombs - once again get this CD! 9/10. // 10

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overall: 10
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: foolSTAR, on february 16, 2004
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: At The Drive-In's first CD is arguebly their best. This band straight from Texas sounds like they are cream of the crop of the California punk scene. I think ATDI is one of the most unique sounding bands you will ever hear. ATDI's music is a blend of Rage/Blindside/Thursday with the lyrical depth of Boyd or Cornell. Another thing amazing about this record is the lack of distortion used. The guitar is very melodic, and the rythym guitar dosen't use distortion but you still find yourself with a headrush at the end of every song. You might remember from a while back a song called "One-Armed Scissor". This was thier first, and sadly, last song that ever made it to mainstream. Being a musician myself, I found this CD wonderful and a must have! // 10

Lyrics: When first listening to the record, you might find the lyrics to be awkward or making no sense. These lyrics are far from trivial though, they have great meaning and in-depth opinions and views of life, government, and self-sufficient thoughts. On songs like Mannequin Republic and Sleepwalk Capsules you'll find the lyrics very biased to the everyday world. Another song is Invalid Letter Dept. which recites a story expierenced byt the singer for ATDI, Cedric. His voice is truly remarkable, from his distinct screaming to his high end vocal range. The lyrics and meaning only accent the melody to most songs, and you will find yourself reading the lyrics over and over, like a good book, desiring for a true understanding for the meaning. // 10

Overall Impression: ATDI's spontaneous style could be compared to that of Fugazi or Mindless Self Indulgence. It's headbanging factor could be compared to that of Rage Against The Machine or Opeth. Most of all, it's unique sound could be compared to that of Incubus or Audioslave. One-Armed Scissor or Cosmonaut could be the best representative to the topics mentioned above. A few downsides to the record is there tends to be a lack of closure and opening to many of the songs. Some songs start/end out of nowhere and the next one begins and you find yourself looking at your CD player to see if the song changed or not. That might be the only, and worst, downside to the album. This might be the best $17 I've ever spent in my life, along with one of the best CD's. I highly suggest everyone goes out and buy's this CD and shares with thier friends! // 10

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overall: 10
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: Killer Guppy, on december 13, 2004
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Imagine the sound of the alt rock/punk band Sparta crossed with the sound of the prog rock/experimental Mars Volta and you'd get something along the lines of At The Drive-In. Mostly because before starting thier respective bands, the two were in fact were the one. Relationship Of Command is the final effort of At The Drive-In before the group went their seperate ways, therefore it is the most polished and melodic of their albums. This is only compared to other ATDI work however, when stacked up to the normal standards of music, it is raw, loud, and full of energy. With the two overdriven guitars constantly churning out insane jarring riffs, and messed up insanely fast leads. Even the bass shines, carving its own path through the raging torrents of guitars, effects and distortion with bass lines that Flea would be proud of. Overall the chaos fits together quite well and makes for a mental angular sound that would be hard to replicate, and means that the streaks of calm in the album are all the more appreciated. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are a huge part of the album, Cedric Bixler as a lyricist/singer is quite talented and his mastery of the english language is amazing. Instead of singing about an everpresent "you" like just about every other songwriter in the world right now, he tells stories and creates vivid imagery with his words, using highly abstract metaphors and similes so the lyrics can be taken on different levels of understanding for different people. In the singing and shouting department he does well for himself as does the backup scream singer/guitarist Jim Ward, adding some much needed meat to Cedric's high notes, giving for some massively catchy, powerful chorus's that you'll find yourself singing weeks after you've heard them. // 10

Overall Impression: Don't let the poor grammar and lack of intelligence found in the last review fool you, this album is not just one that wannabe "punks" (I use the term loosely) listen to when they want to try and be profound and/or knowledgeable (both musically and lyrically). Yes that's right, the guitar work IS complicated and unique, and the lyrics are intelligent and complex. All in all, this is a great hard rocking album, although people who are not familiar with this kind of music may find it hard to get into at first, it will soon grow on anyone who hears it, being immensly catchy but harshly angular at the same time. It's a keeper for sure and if stolen or lost another should be bought before you even realise what just happened. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: refusedparty, on march 05, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: 'Relationship Of Command' is At The Drive-In's last album, and what an album to go out with! Pure, flawless hardcore from track one to the unforgettable end. The sound is brilliant, the guitars are melodic yet loud, the vocals soar above the music and the bass and drums provide a throbbing rhythm. 'Rolodex Propaganda' even includes a guest appearance from Iggy Pop and it doesn't sound out of place! // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are brilliant, flawless really, but they are so complicated I don't know what Cedrick's singing about half the time! The main case of this is on 'Invalid Litter Dept.', the albums epic track. "And the paramedics fell into the wound like a re-hired scab at a fair-headed plant, an anaesthetic penance beneath a hail of contraband!" What does it mean? The stand out tracks for lyrics are the melodic album closer 'Non-Zero Possibility' and 'Arcarsenal', the riotous opener. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, this is a brilliant album. I could live without it, but it would be a meaningless and shallow existence. The tracks are: 01. Arcarsenal - 10/10 one of the most ferocious songs you'll ever hear. 02. Pattern Against User - 9/10 aggressive and accessible. 03. One Armed Scissor - 9/10 the single that left a dent in the mainstream. 04. Sleepwalk Capsules - 9/10 well formed and angry. 05. Invalid Litter Dept. - 9/10 a strange epic that doesn't make sense but isn't confusing. Very unique. 06. Mannequin Republic - 8/10 very loud and catchy. 07. Enfilade - 10/10 download this song now. 08. Rolodex Propaganda - 10/10 the best track on the album. 09. Quarantined - 8/10 slow and brilliant. 10. Cosmonaut - 9/10 a great riff and a great song. 11. Non-Zero Possibility - 10/10 melodic and moving. Simply, if you're a fan of any kind of hardcore music, you shouldn't hesitate to buy this. It brings back memories of Refused's magnum opus 'Shape Of Punk To Come' but this album is an individual. Believe the hype. // 10

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overall: 9
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: Wolfmother_69, on february 18, 2006
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Relationship of command was the last, and arguably, the best of all At The Drive-in's albums. It starts off with Arc Arsenal, perhaps the heaviest of all their songs, which has a cool tribal drum and great little riff by Omar, and leads into Cedric screaming out "Beware!" as only he can. Then a little drum roll and a shout of "hey," and pattern against user starts. This is followed by One Armed scissor, ATDI's onlt single. Next is the fast paced electro rock of Sleepwalk Capsules, and perhaps the albums highlight, Invalid Litter Dept. After that the album has a slight Plateau over the next few songs, before arriving at cosmonaut, a brillilant fast paced song, with great back-up singing by Omar. If you happen to pick up one of the CD's with bonus tracks, you will get a few great tracks that probably should be on every CD. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are, to say the least, unusual. They have meaning, but not everyone will decipher them on their first few listenings, if at all. There are some of great messages hidden through the songs and thier various locations, which range from an abadoned space station to a Mexican Ghetto. Cedric has a brillant voice, which is mainly used to shout or scream in his time at ATDI, he has shgown to be capable of nearly hitting the whistle register in The Mars Volta. // 8

Overall Impression: I beleive this to be a modern classic in rock and roll. In a time in which nu-metal and pop dominated the scene, this was one of the few albums to come out and show rock was still alive. It could have easily been a chart buster, but that never really happened. If some theif stole it, not only would he have added something great to his CD collection, but I would also have a valid reason to go and buy another copy. All I can say is: buy it now. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: MEmmett, on january 19, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of Relationship of Command was and is incredible. It is totally out of this world; it's earnest punk-rock, but not as we know it! I don't really know where they got some of the ideas on this CD from, I have heard it was from various influences; for example, Omar Rodriguez was (and is, as you can here from newer project Mars Volta) influenced by Latin rhythms and jazz, and I can definately here some elements of those styles in the music on this CD, but they are so far drowned with effects and spacey, wide eyes guitar passages that it's hard to define their influences clearly. However, though they combine a large number of influences, I believe this is certainly a specialist CD, rather, I don't think it would really attract a wide demographic. But what it does (whatever that is) it does very well. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are, in some parts, absolute nonsense to be perfectly honest! But I couldn't imagine the music going with anything better than Bixlar's incoherent lyrics. I suppose you could take it 2 ways; it could be absolutely genius poetry from an otherworldly being, or, it could be ramblings from a madman! I believe it is somewhere between the two. Moving away from the lyrics, I think, no, I know that Cedric Bixlar has an absolutely fantastic voice, and a fantastic vocal range. He can go up really high, or go down really low with his voice, and it would sound clear and precise all the time. I believe he is an extremely talented singer, though I think maybe the odd lyrics would possibly put some people off. // 8

Overall Impression: I can't really compare it to anything else, and I wouldn't really like to. I think this album is truly a gem, and is something to be treasured because of it's blistering originality. In my opinion the best songs on the album are the first 3, "Arc Arsenal," "Pattern Against User" and of course, the one everyone knows, "One Armed Scissor." This album has in fact been stolen off me twice, I did buy it again, I got it back and now I have 2 copies! Even if both copies got stolen again, I would still buy it. It is like a lifeline; I need this album in my life more than any other I've heard. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: Incubust-A-Move, on april 10, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: At the Drive-In are one of my favourite bands and it was this album that got me interested in their music. To me, this album is phenomenal. The basslines are fast and you can actually hear them which (for me being a bass player) is a very important ingredient to have in a band. The drumming is also very fast and holds the frantic guitarring together. Each song finishes so fast (even though the average length is about 4 mins) that you skip back to hear it again. Everything is perfect, even the odd telephone call in Enfilade is awesome and you don't question it atall. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are so cryptic and unusual that it takes you a long time to work out what each song is about. But for me, this makes the wole ATD-I (and Mars Volta) experience so much better because it isn't the obvious lyrics you hear on the radio, these songs are highly angsty and political. Cedric can also sing a song in so many different ways. Every song is differently sung, from the fast-paced spittings of Arcarsenal to the slow atmospheric tones of Quarantined. // 9

Overall Impression: I don't own the whole collection of ATD-I CD's but out of the one's I do own (this, Vaya and In/Casino/Out), this one has to be the best. The album is just amazing on so many levels. The lyrics are perfect, the instrumentatiion is loud and fast but also delicately wraps itself around the lyrics. This album is perfect, it really is. My favourite songs for me are either Quarantined or Enfilade. But this album gets even better with every listen. The lyrics start off cryptic but you then realise their artistic imagery and the messages the songs are given out. At first the guitar riffs sounds noisy and clumsy, but with each new listen you appreciate their intricasy and precission. Overall, an epic opus. Shame they split really. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: Lex Davids, on august 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: At The Drive-In are synonomous with the the punk revival of the '90s, too wild to follow grunge trends yet too inconsistent to ever fit in with the burgeoning mathcore scene. At the time of recording the band as a whole was close to breaking, having spent the better part of 6 years as El Paso's odd ones out and in particular the two afro headed aficionados Omar Rodriguez Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala were firmly in the grip of a hazy dream world of hallucogens and non stop touring, having yet to emerge as the intense cult figures they would later become. With such a bleak setting and little recognition up until this point ATDI recorded what is in my opinion a zeitgeist of the nineties, a pseudo-political tirade against everything and nothing, with the already tried and tested formula of Lopez's effects driven ambience and jagged chords mixed with Zavalas tongue twisting lyrical epics that tell a very jarring story. One cannot underestimate the importance of Jim Ward, Tony Hajjar and Paul Hinojos as this blue print for a five piece band would prove popular with later acts in the same vein soon emerging after the sudden split. The record comes across as very raw, and the album opener Arc Arsenal sets the tone for much of the record with it's use of vibrant tribal drumming and slicing guitar lines. From here we as listeners hear a dizzying mix of influences and we notice first hand how different every song is from the one that preceded it. With such tracks as Pattern Against user, Cosmonaut and Enfilade creating a generation of angsty teens rushing to defend the band from the brand of 'emocore' a definition that had only just become musical lingo. Yet what struck me when listening to it was the pure passion and unusual song structures that flew in the face of every established rule of musical theory, such an unorthodox approach could only come from a band that had little to lose and everything to express, something which came across as very fresh for it's time, and still does despite the dilution of this bands sound by the many imitators. Yet despite this the raw sound and rushed nature on some of the tracks robbed this album of timeless classic status as tracks such as cosmonaut would have benefited greatly from a clearer chorus, and had this been done would have rivalled any of ATDI's more mainstream contemporarys in terms of being 'catchy'. // 9

Lyrics: Lyrically Cedrics words make little sense upon first listen, yet after about three times through one finds perfect clarity with the messages that this man is trying to convey, with the very unusual pairing of space and social injustice meeting on more than one song. Tracks such as One Armed Scissor, Cosmonaut and Non-Zero Possibility forming a kind of mini story, with Cosmonaut being the intense panic and fear and the album closer Non-Zero being a crash both emotionally and physically. What makes this album enjoyable is Zavalas never afraid to experiment, with tracks such as Pattern Against User veering off into Rage Against Machine style vocal raps, yet such forays avoid the musical pitfalls of crude metal elements that RATM engaged in from time to time. Invalid Litter Dept and Rolodex Propaganda sees Cedric borrowing copiously from artists such as Bowie and any number of 80's pop bands with the synth heavy narration. Interestingly though, these tracks are mid record yet despite this fit with the rest of the album like a glove aswell as showcasing the political cynicism of El Paso's factory workers, such commentarys would again highlight ATDI as pioneers later on with bands such as Sum 41 and Green Day 'going political' yet with this band it was never forced and always passionate. My one criticism here however is that the impenetrable nature of the lyrics on both Jim and Cedrics part ('have trigger will travel anyone? ') would perhaps stave off any listeners new to the ATDI sound, leading them to the mistaken assumption of being pretentious while over looking the heartfelt delivery and passion behind the lyricism. // 9

Overall Impression: Relationship Of Command is streets ahead of anything else similar in the genre, with each song containing clever hooks that you pick up with each listen and this is something I love in any work of music. However it is not without it's flaws, the aforementioned raw nature of the record rears it's ugly head on more than one occasion and this is a real shame, especially considering how impressive it is already, also the effects on some of the songs do seem like overkill, yet fans of TMV come to expect this when dealing with Lopez's fusion style of playing anyway. The albums uncompromising approach at expression through lyricism will leave some out in the cold and patience is key with this record. The impact this album had cannot be underestimated, frenzied claims of being the next Nirvana were rampant. Relationship of command single handledy revived punk at least for a short while and gave it an artistic twist, yet sadly no sooner had the art punk cathedral been erected the ravages of nearly a decade under the influence of drugs took it's toll, with At The Drive-In leaving Relationship Of Command behind as it's curtain call, albeit a flawed one. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Relationship Of Command Reviewed by: AdioBam, on august 12, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I've heard a lot of people say that At the Drive-In is punk, emo, post-hardcore, prog-rock, and various other genres. But honestly, trying to pinpoint ATDI's exact genre is just an exercise in futility. The best way to describe At the Drive-In is that they're innovators. Not punks, not emos, not prog-rockers. ATDI sounds like no other band to date. They combine the energy of punk rock, the artistry of progressive rock, and the emotion of emo. The album begins with Arcarsenal, which is a whirling torrent of emotion. Arcarsenal is followed by Pattern Against User, which seems to channel the energy of Rage Against the Machine up until near the end where the vocals shift to a more melodic tone that almost reminds me of Radiohead. The third track, One Armed Scissor, is without a doubt ATDI's most famous song, and for good reason; the song seems to combine punk riffs with prog-style time signatures and song structure. One Armed Scissor also introduces the dual vocal style of Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Jim Ward. While Cedric's vocals are much smoother and more melodic (even while screaming), Ward's screams of "Cut Away" in the chorus are much rougher. Surprisingly, this dynamic works extremely well. Another great aspect of the song is the bassline. Whereas in most rock songs the bass tends to follow the guitar closely, the bass is almost entirely separate, which adds a touch of originality. After One Armed Scissor, we're thrusted into the fast, raw energy of Sleepwalk Capsules. This song, like One Armed Scissor, makes use of dual vocals, and does so, once again, very well. This track is undoubtedly one of the better songs on the album. You'd think that with all the energy of the first four songs, ATDI just won't let up. Well, it does. Normally, I'm turned off by soft songs, but Invalid Litter Dept., the fifth track, is incredibly. Cedric delivers the vocals almost as though he's reading directly from the lyric sheets; there's no melody to the vocals, but it works. When the prechorus comes in, Jim Ward delivers a much more melodic "Dancin on the corpse's ashes" followed by Cedric's (now melodic) chorus. The next track, Mannequin Republic, is just a loud punk song that grabs you and doesn't let go. It's nothing incredibly original in comparision with the other songs on the album, but it's a fun song nonetheless. The following track, Enfilade, showcases the band's experimental, progressive side. It starts off with a phone conversation about a kidnapping (Iggy Pop makes a cameo as the kidnapper) and is followed by a distorted, wailing guitar courtesy of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, who is today without a doubt one of the greatest guitarists in modern music. Paul Hinojos' bass follows with a fast, snaking line complimented by a tribal drum beat from Tony Hajjar. When the distorted vocals come in, you can almost sense a violent, warning tone. A small bass solo follows that is quickly drowned out in a violent chorus of "Sacrificed on railroad tracks, freight train coming". This is without a doubt the best track on the record (at least the original version; Fearless record's 04 re-release had two bonus tracks, one which I find to be the best ATDI's ever done) and almost seems to forshadow the sound of The Mars Volta-the band that Cedric and Omar formed after ATDI disbanded. Unfortunately, the best song is followed by the worst; Rolodex Propaganda. Don't get me wrong though, the song is awesome. Cedric's energetic vocals are combined with Iggy Pop's to create a sort of 80's pop sound. The only reason I regard it as the worst song on the record is the fact that it just feels less inspired than the rest of the album. It's still a cool song, though. Quarantined, the following song, includes probably one of the best and most atmospheric bass lines I've heard. It begins with the sound of rain and thunder, and the bass slowly flows in. The song then evolves into an emotional song about isolation, and you can definetly feel it. After Quarantined, we have the brutal sonic assault called Cosmonaut. It's an excellent song that channels a feeling of impending doom and it's definetly one of my favorites. The next track, Non-Zero Possibility, is definetly the softest song on the album, and almost feels out of place. If you have the Fearless Records 2004 re-release, you'll also get two bonus tracks. The first, Extracurricular, is a pretty cool song but the low level of production (it was recorded sometime before this album)definetly makes it feel out of place with the rest of the albums. The second song, Catacombs, has a much higher level of production than Extracurricular and sounds just incredible. Cedric definetly screams a lot more in Catacombs than any other song on the record, so it may be a little too brutal for some, but I personally regard it as my favorite ATDI song. // 9

Lyrics: Cedric Bixler-Zavala is well-known for being a cryptic lyricist. He crafts unconventional lyrics which will probably sound like gibberish when you first listen to it. However, I eventually grew to admire Cedric's skill. He definetly is the most creative writer in modern music. // 10

Overall Impression: This is without a doubt the greatest album of the decade so far. It's likely that you'll never find an album that sounds like this. Although the bands that ATDI spawned, The Mars Volta and Sparta, are great bands in their own right (The Mars Volta is without a doubt the greatest prog band of our time), it's such a same that At the Drive-In had to break up as soon as they got famous. // 10

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