Album Review: At The Drive-In – in•ter• a•li•a (Rise Records)


The year was 2000 & I was 16 years old, my love of rock & metal was a blooming flower & I was still finding my feet within the genre. I mostly started with safe, nu-metal music, a starting point for a lot of people my age. Then I heard a song called Pattern Against User by a band called At The Drive-In. It took my breath away & I needed to hear more. I sought out the album it came from, Relationship of Command & devoured every second of it.

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One Armed Scissor, Rolodex Propaganda, Catacombs, Invaild Litter Department…we’re talking about an album that was filled with chaotic, energetic, politic, life-changing tunes. I loved it then & I love it now.

It’s been 17 years since Relationship of Command & we now have a new At The Drive-In record. It’s called in•ter• a•li•a & it is out now via Rise Records.

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in•ter• a•li•a has to be approached with a level of sensibility. It has been 17 years, so expecting the band to be as chaotic & energetic as they once where isn’t wise. All you can hope for is a great record that doesn’t tarnish their legacy.

Unfortunately in•ter• a•li•a is a massive disappointment.

No Wolf Like the Present does not start things off well. It just sounds so flat, so lifeless even if its got a fair amount of bouncing energy going on. Thankfully Continuum is an improvement with exciting chaotic guitar work & some exciting echoing spoken word vocals. It’s a good song but something still feels off.

The more in•ter• a•li•a plays the more that nagging feeling grows. You want to love this record but you’re unlikely to be able too, not without forgiving some pretty horrendous missteps. Possibly the biggest being just boring & forgettable many of the songs are. It feels so pointless, so tired & rehashed.

Governed by Contagions doesn’t sound any better months after its initial release. Tired & devoid of ideas, the best that can be said about it is that Cedric is trying to inject some passion into his vocals. Pendulum in a Peasant Dress is not just the worst song on the album but possibly one of the worst songs ATDI have ever put their name too. Embarrassingly poor, it alongside Call Broken Arrow & Holtzclaw, sound dated already.

There is no excitement or energy coming from the band. If they don’t care, why should we?

It’s not all bad though, Tilting at the Univendor is hook-laden & a bit catchy. Incurably Innocent has some great sounding riffs while Torrentially Cutshaw has a bit of a snarl about it. A lot of this is grasping though, desperately trying to find things to enjoy here.

By time the penultimate song, the slow & moody Ghost-Tape No.9 comes along you’ll likely have checked out. A pity as it’s the best track on the album. It’s got some nice melody, great sounding beats & the best vocal performance of the record.

in•ter• a•li•a ends on the more frantic sounding (by this records standard) Hostage Stamps. A lacklustre finish to an album is such a disappointment but one that doesn’t actually surprise. Boring, lacking energy & devoid of ideas. Best leave At The Drive-In to the memories & go enjoy Relationship of Command.

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At The Drive-In – in•ter• a•li•a Full Track Listing:

1. No Wolf Like the Present
2. Continuum
3. Tilting at the Univendor
4. Governed by Contagions
5. Pendulum in a Peasant Dress
6. Incurably Innocent
7. Call Broken Arrow
8. Holtzclaw
9. Torrentially Cutshaw
10. Ghost-Tape No. 9
11. Hostage Stamps

At The Drive-In - in•ter• a•li•a (Rise Records)
  • 4/10
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