Sound — 9
Emo? Punk? Progressive? Disturbing? Melodic? Who cares? At The Drive-In's oxymoronic 'live studio album' hasn't disappointed a single indie-head, hard rocker or emo teen that I've ever played this album to, and I've played this album to many a friend of mine. Cedric Bixler-Zavala's angry tone when he shouts "Widows!" in the opening track of the song give me chills every time; it's a shame a band so great had to come to an end, then split into two groups that are very good for their genre but don't come anywhere near close in their live performances. Which makes us remember that this is indeed a live album with no studio remastering, at least that's what we've been told. Omar Rodriguez's guitar playing is a highlight in the album, shooting out powerchords and complex single-note licks that would blow the mind of any stoner rock fan. Although songs like 'Chanbara' and 'For Now, We Toast' I tend to skip every once in a while, the majority of the album is rather solid!
Lyrics — 10
Fans of The Mars Volta and Sparta are very much aware of the band's cryptic lyrics, the former in particular. Songs like Alpha Centuari and Hulahoop Wounds won't make much sense to the naked ear, but they will make more sense as time goes on. Cedric's voice has matured here since their incredible debut, but still have the traits of the angry teenager he once was. Lines like "And I Thought You Were A Bull In A China Shop" showcase that side of Cedric in particular. The lyrics show an improvement since the debut, and they work well with the songs themselves, blending in to make a genre-free masterpiece. Spot on, guys!
Overall Impression — 9
I don't believe that this is a perfect album; there are one or two tracks I skip every once in a blue moon, depending on the mood I'm in. Overall, this is an excellent album, although not as good as Acrobatic Tenement, much greater in personality and sound than Relationship In Command and Vaya put together. Cedric and Omar went on to form The Mars Volta, with a great debut, an incredible mind blowing sophomore, and a mediocre third album, and greater things yet to come. Sparta, formed by the remaining members, is a bit more emo and less of a progressive band than TMV, but Porcelain is a gem all it's own. This album would be the second album I would reccomend from ATDI, Acrobatic Tenement being an excellent starter. Once again, ATDI had put out a groundbreaking, oxymoronic album that would not disappoint fans of any genre.