Members: Cedric Bixler-Zavala - vocals, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - guitar, Tony Hajjar - drums, Jim Ward - guitar/vocals, Paul Hinojos - bass
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Four years after At the Drive-In broke rock music fandom's collective heart with the announcement of their extended hiatus, the now-seminal band released This Station Is Non-Operational. The former band members selected this collection of their greatest hits, B-sides, re-mixes, song covers, and a BBC session. Also included is a DVD/CD-rom containing music videos, desktop wallpaper, buddy icons, and the band's EPK, Operations Manual, along with a booklet of some 20 previously unreleased photographs.
Relationship of Command is ATDI's battle cry. If there were any straggling semi-fans still wondering the planes of the post-punk wave, unsure weather or not to be captured by the wrath of At The Drive âIn, Relationship of Command pretty much seals the deal. There was little in the way of commercial concessions on Relationship of Command, as the album prompted the band to become known globally. Rampaging guitar riffs, turbo-charged drumming, and super-emotive, lung-challenging vocals are the order of the day. The lyrics are often elliptical, and it's sometimes hard to tell what the boys are going on about, it is exactly this that makes the album so brilliant, and it absolutely works to their advantage, allowing the listeners to fill in the blanks. Slightly more refined than some of their contemporaries, but undeniably hard-hitting, Relationship of Command puts At the Drive-In proudly at the center of circa-2000 heavy rock.
Vaya, is a short EP, released in 1999 merely a year before what would become ATDI's last full length record. Vaya, embraces ATDI's overall style while immensely emphasizing the attributes that make the band who they are, including caught-off-guard screeches and tedious, reoccurring riffs. In comparison to their previous works, this release reveals their obvious bottled up restlessness as a pre-curser to what later explodes onto their final full length Relationship of Command.
Recorded live in the studio, 1998's In/Casino/Out finds At the Drive-In refining the restless sound of its debut, Acrobatic Tenement. By simultaneously channeling its concert fury and adding more melody to its hardcore-influenced approach, the Texas-born ensemble succeedes in expanding its palette in terms of both creativity and popularity. This is immediately evinced on the blistering opener, "Alpha Centauri," which is marked by the passionate wail of front man Cedric Bixler-Zavala and the stinging guitar lines of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Jim Ward. While ATDI couldn't easily be pigeonholed, the band's reputation as an early emo act rests, for better or worse, on plaintive tunes such as "Hulahoop Wounds" and the piano-led "Hourglass," a track with lead vocals by Ward. However, those looking for the eccentric, prog-inspired rumblings of what would become Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez's Mars Volta need only hear the jazzy, frenetic "Shaking Hand Incision.
ATDI's debut release Acrobatic Tenement, recorded and released in the summer of 1996, is condidered by many to be their best album overall. This album is for the true die-hard At The Drive-In fan, it is the blueprint to the musical mission they would embark upon in the following years. Acrobatic Tenement is a roughly edited prelude to the band's following five albums, spuing their raw, unorganized and never regretable mind twisting style that to this day still remains untouched by any other musician.
"Embroglio" was written about Julio Venegas, a close friend of the band, who committed suicide in 1996. Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar RodrÃguez-LÃ³pez, as The Mars Volta, would later record and dedicate the album De-Loused in the Comatorium entirely to Venegas.