12. At The Drive In – Relationship of Command (2000)
Abstract lyrics, blasts of noise and moments of sublime melody; Relationship Of Command combines all these facets without ever settling on one style, resulting in a subterfuge of twists and turns which surprise at every juncture.
At The Drive In could be labelled Post-Punk or Post Hardcore but, in truth, like many bands on this list, they are so unique a proposition that they simply stand alone.
“Arcarsenal”, “One Armed Scissor”, “Patter Against User” and “Cosmonaut” are abrasive yet accessible and feature some truly memorable riffs but it is “Invalid Litter Dept.” that stands-out as the records greatest achievement; lullaby-soft at times and visceral attack the next, this wilfully abstract and nonsensical song is also a head-banging stomper when it explodes.
Song recommendations aside, Relationship Of Command ebbs and flows like all classic albums and should be absorbed whole. There are individual tracks that you will return to time and time again but they are best heard within At The Drive In’s ingenious context.
The band would spilt after this momentous album, splintering to form the uniformly excellent Sparta and the just as challenging experimental-rockers, The Mars Volta. Individually, these two bands are stunning but an At The Drive In reunion is surely a necessity; together they were unlike anything else heard before or since.