Relationship of Command

Relationship of Command is the third studio album by American post-hardcore band At the Drive-In, released on September 12, 2000. The album combines an aggressive edge with a melodic drive, harmonious, emotive vocals, and surreal lyrics.[1] While it continues in the alternative style of At the Drive-In's previous albums, Relationship of Command is seen as a more well-rounded album than its predecessors. Initially received positively by critics, the album is now seen not only as one of the most influential post-hardcore albums of the 2000s,[2] but also as one of the most accomplished recent works in the wider rock spectrum.[3] Relationship of Command was voted twelfth out of 100 in the Albums of the Decade by NME,[4] and the 37th most influential album of all time by Kerrang!.[5]

Relationship of Command
At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 12, 2000 (2000-09-12)
RecordedJanuary – March 2000
StudioIndigo Ranch Studios, Malibu
ProducerRoss Robinson
At the Drive-In chronology
Sunshine / At the Drive-In
Relationship of Command
This Station Is Non-Operational
Singles from Relationship of Command
  1. "One Armed Scissor"
    Released: August 7, 2000
  2. "Rolodex Propaganda"
    Released: December 4, 2000
  3. "Invalid Litter Dept."
    Released: March 12, 2001

Background and recordingEdit

Relationship of Command was recorded over a seven-week period starting on January 17, 2000, following a tour supporting Rage Against the Machine. The album was recorded at the Indigo Ranch Studios, in Malibu, California, and was produced by Ross Robinson and mixed by Andy Wallace. Known for his unorthodox production methods, Robinson at one point took bass player Paul Hinojos for a drive in his SUV through the hills of Malibu to get his adrenaline going prior to recording. He also brought Iggy Pop to the studio for a guest appearance; Omar Rodriguez commented: "[Ross] had been talking to Iggy because they were gonna work together. I don’t know if they ever did, but they’d sort of been chatting, so Ross had passed him our previous records and he liked them. So, of course I brought up the idea, “Why not [have Iggy] come and do something on the album?” Ross mentioned it to Iggy, and he was completely open to it. He came down to the studio for a whole day in which he sang [on "Rolodex Propaganda"] and did the ransom note [on "Enfilade"]."[6]

The album's cover artwork (including the covers for the singles "One Armed Scissor," "Invalid Litter Dept." and "Rolodex Propaganda"), illustrated by Damon Locks, all revolve around imagery of the Trojan War, and the Trojan Horse in particular.


Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [8]
Entertainment WeeklyA[9]
The Guardian     [10]
Melody Maker     [11]
Pitchfork6.1/10 (2004)[13]
8.3/10 (2013)[14]
Q     [15]
Rolling Stone     [16]
Uncut     [17]
The Village VoiceA−[18]

The album initially received generally positive reviews, with Metacritic giving the album an aggregate score of 77.[7] The album is now seen as one of the most influential rock albums of the decade,[citation needed] with it being ranked 47th in the 50 Greatest Albums of the 21st century in Kerrang!, number 83 on Spin magazine's 100 Greatest Albums 1985–2005,[19] 6th in State magazine's 100 albums of the decade,[20] 3rd in JustPressPlay's Top 100 Albums of the 2000s,[21] 52nd in Decibel magazine's Greatest 100 albums of the decade,[22] 117th in Uncut magazine's 150 Albums of the decade,[23] as well as being ranked at number 90 on MTV2's greatest albums ever list.[24] A retrospective BBC music review hailed the significance of Relationship of Command's uniqueness, calling the album "mesmerising" and a "statement of grand intent that could never be followed."[25]

In 2005, the album was ranked number 423 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[26] The album is also seen as an influential guitar album, being ranked number 94 in a Guitar World reader's poll of the 100 greatest guitar albums of all time. This list appeared in the October 2006 issue of Guitar World.[27]


Following the release of the album, At the Drive-In gained brief mainstream critical and commercial success, with Relationship of Command appearing in end-of-year lists of the best albums of 2000 by publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone, as well as becoming their first album to reach the Billboard 200. The band also made appearances on shows such as Late Night with Conan O'Brien and the Late Show with David Letterman. However, despite this success, the band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2001, with the members splitting to form The Mars Volta and Sparta.

In an interview with Alternative Press in September 2010 (in an article praising the album 10 years later) when asked "What's your least favorite thing about the album?" Rodriguez replied: "In a heartbeat I could tell you, one of my only regrets out of everything I've ever done is the way that record was mixed. People think that was a raw and energetic record, but what they're hearing is nothing compared to what it truly was before it was glossed over and sent through the mixing mill that was Andy Wallace, who is a wonderful person and a very talented mixing engineer and has done great albums – I'm not trying to offend him....and I understand he had the pressure of the label and all the people who had dreams of it being this grandiose thing, and being played on the radio, which it was, (but) that record is ruined by the mix. I just find it the most passive, plastic....It's the one record I still to this day cannot listen to."[6] The album was included in Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics list at number 4.[28] The album was ranked at number 177 on Spin's "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)" list.[29] In 2019, the album was ranked 42nd on The Guardian's 100 Best Albums of the 21st Century list.[30]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by At the Drive-In[8].

2."Pattern Against User"3:17
3."One Armed Scissor"4:19
4."Sleepwalk Capsules"3:27
5."Invalid Litter Dept."6:05
6."Mannequin Republic"3:02
8."Rolodex Propaganda"2:55
11."Non-Zero Possibility"5:36
Japanese and re-release bonus tracks
13."Catacombs" (Re-Recording. Original version appeared on a Thick Records split 7" with Burning Airlines' The Deluxe War Baby, and Plea For Peace/Take Action Vol 1.)4:14
2012 Australian reissue bonus disc. These tracks were recorded live in 2001 by Triple J for Live at the Wireless.
3."One-Armed Scissor"3:59



Chart (2000) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[31] 25
UK Albums Chart[32] 33
US Billboard 200[33] 116
US Top Heatseekers (Billboard)[33] 1


  1. ^ Butler, Blake (September 12, 2000). "Relationship of Command [Japan Bonus Tracks] – At the Drive-In". AllMusic. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  2. ^ "At the Drive-In – Relationship of Command – Album Review". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  3. ^ "Music - Review of At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command". BBC. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  4. ^ "The Top 100 Greatest Albums Of The Decade". NME. November 18, 2009. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  5. ^ "! Lists Page 1". Google. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "The Class of 2000: Omar Rodriguez-Lopez on At The Drive-In's "Relationship Of Command"". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Reviews for Relationship Of Command by At The Drive-In". Metacritic. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Butler, Blake. "Relationship of Command – At the Drive-In". AllMusic. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  9. ^ Raftery, Brian M. (September 15, 2000). "Relationship of Command". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  10. ^ Simpson, Dave (September 29, 2000). "At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command (Grand Royal)". The Guardian. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  11. ^ "At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command". Melody Maker: 50. September 19, 2000.
  12. ^ Capper, Andy (September 23, 2000). "At The Drive-In – Relationship Of Command". NME: 34. Archived from the original on October 17, 2000. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  13. ^ Richard-San, Mark; Schreiber, Ryan (November 9, 2004). "At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  14. ^ Cohen, Ian (April 29, 2013). "At the Drive-In: Acrobatic Tenement / Relationship of Command". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  15. ^ "At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command". Q (171): 118. December 2000.
  16. ^ Chonin, Neva (September 28, 2000). "At the Drive-In: Relationship Of Command". Rolling Stone (850). Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  17. ^ "At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command". Uncut (41): 80. October 2000.
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 23, 2001). "Consumer Guide: Dub for Dummies". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  19. ^ "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005". June 20, 2005. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  20. ^ "State's albums of the decade – The Top Ten - State Magazine | Music | News | Reviews | Live". Archived from the original on 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  21. ^ "Fifty Years of Great Music: The Top 100 Albums of the 2000s". Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ "Uncut's 150 Albums of the Decade! –". Google. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  24. ^ "MTV TWO Greatest Albums Ever | MTV UK". March 27, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  25. ^ "Music – Review of At the Drive-In – Relationship of Command". BBC. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  26. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 41. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ "BROADCAST NEWS Discussion". Archived from the original on August 23, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  28. ^ "Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics: The Final Instalment!". Rock Sound Magazine. July 11, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  29. ^ Martins, Chris (May 11, 2015). "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985-2014)". Spin. p. 3. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  30. ^ "The 100 best albums of the 21st century". The Guardian. 13 September 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  31. ^ "At The Drive-In – Relationship Of Command". Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  32. ^ "At The Drive In | Artist". Official Charts. September 30, 2000. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  33. ^ a b Relationship of Command - At the Drive-In