At the Drive-In
Relationship of Command


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (186 Reviews)
November 15th, 2011 | 1414 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist


Relationship of Command is what you'd call a perfect storm. It happened at the right place at the right time, it changed people's perceptions of rock and its boundaries, and yet flew by too quickly. This is yet another case in which a band broke up during their absolute peak, although At the Drive-In were certainly mapping out the aspects of this record's sound long before its conception. Acrobatic Tenement displayed the band at their absolute rawest while the follow-up album In/Casino/Out was the one displaying more melody and restraint, so it was completely logical to bridge the two sounds together into one cohesive whole. The result is an experience that masters balance, both dynamically and in terms of songwriting diversity, and serves as one of modern punk's most iconic records.

As one might imagine, singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez are firing on all cylinders here. They let loose, they show restraint, they experiment with different sounds and moods, and are just plain mesmerizing from beginning to end. The energy and intensity of the punchier numbers like opener "Arcarsenal" or the popular "One-Armed Scissor" displays their chemistry as a duo in full form, while more reflective numbers like "Invalid Litter Dept." and the gorgeous closing ballad "Non-Zero Possibility" are great ways to shake it all off before going the volume knob hits "11" again. Jim Ward is also great here, not only serving as a solid rhythm guitarist but a great pianist (as was his role in the last album as well). This quality certainly makes the more somber tunes shine more strongly. Paul Hinojos and Tony Hajjar round out the group, forming a stunning rhythm section that can adapt to even the most jarring of musical changes... as there are quite a lot of them here. Even Iggy Pop makes a guest appearance here, performing a bizarre (and kinda funny) telephone call to kick off "Enfilade" and singing alongside Cedric in the frantic "Rolodex Propaganda."

Ross Robinson's production work here reminds me a lot of the production on The Colour and the Shape by Foo Fighters, being slick and polished while also retaining the punch and distortion of any good classic punk record. Omar has gone on to regard the production as one of the worst aspects of the album due to its "commercialized" sound when compared to Acrobatic Tenement, but it fits the atmosphere perfectly. The album's mood is very bright and full of life, and Ross' work really captures that feel. With that said, the one-two-three-four punch of the first four tracks is really what draws so many people to Relationship of Command, and with good reason. Each song in this set is exceptionally energetic and sure to pull no punches when aiming for the listener's gut. But of course, there's still enough melody to keep things interesting, like the memorable "Lazarus threw the party" break in "Sleepwalk Capsules."

Relationship of Command is one of those records that just can't be replicated, no matter how hard some bands may try to copy its sound. The emotion, the energy, the varying dynamics, and the charisma are all here in spades, and there's not one bad song to be found. If you're even remotely interested in modern rock, specifically modern punk and alternative rock, do yourself a big favor and listen to Relationship of Command. The band's other two albums are great, but this is the one that combined all of the band's best qualities into one perfect experience.



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user ratings (3424)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
sniper
November 15th 2011


19079 Comments


neg'd

taxidermist
November 15th 2011


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

neg'd [2]

SatelliteYears
November 15th 2011


190 Comments


Great review, ignore the negs. Very in-depth and articulate.

DinoX
November 15th 2011


3582 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Neg

someguest
November 15th 2011


21390 Comments


I can't stand this album.

Digging: Pet Shop Boys - Please

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 15th 2011


10666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not gonna read but great rating

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

Maize
November 15th 2011


155 Comments


oh hey

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2011


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

man i need to finish my re-write of this album, your first paragraph was kinda contrived but im sure it evened out once you got over the hyperbole (dont wanna read and contaminate my own reviewww)

anyways, album is still in my top 3 of all time

ShinXetsu
November 16th 2011


605 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Absolute classic.

taxidermist
November 16th 2011


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Great review, ignore the negs. Very in-depth and articulate.

Dude, it's a joke, lol.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2011


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

oh, and just skimming, i dont know how non-zero possibility doesn't fit the realm of punk. a super weird, noisy and abrasive off kilter song isnt punk?

taxidermist
November 16th 2011


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Proooooooooooooootoooooooooooocuuuuuuuuuuuultuuuuuuuuuuuuuure nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuull aaaaaaaaand vooooooooooid.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2011


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

it is a weird song? i dont know what your point is

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2011


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

tbh its super influenced by the more noise-based black flag shit. omar and cedric were probably just too strung out to shred

someguest
November 16th 2011


21390 Comments


i opened my internet up and I heard this sucking sound all the way on my usatoday homepage

and here I find Iluvatar

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2011


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

some days im glad chambered is just a super retarded troll instead of a super smart user, god it would suck to have actual conversation with him

and where there is a post about relationship of command THERE IS AN ILUVATAR READY TO FAPFAPFAP

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2011


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude john you can't talk about punk music around here like people actually know what they're talking about

punk wasn't made to be talked about on the internet

someguest
November 16th 2011


21390 Comments


Hanson and this album:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdBcfRhzzAA

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2011


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

bro not romantic enough

someguest
November 16th 2011


21390 Comments


Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you



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