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Review: At The Drive In Stun with Masterpiece

Some albums are more than just a collection of songs.

At The Drive In/ in•ter a•li•a/Rise

After the word furious there are no other words that matter when discussing the new At The Drive In album.

This is coming off the keyboard of someone who honestly wasn’t sure how the band would fare over 15-years later without the contributions of co-founder/guitarist Jim Ward.

A lot has changed since they recorded new music. In 17 years people and perspectives head in new directions as witnessed by everyone’s work in bands such as The Mars Volta and Sparta.

It was never doubted that this album would avoid being embarrassing. The musicians involved have to much pride and are simply too good.

BUT a upgrade over  the cornerstone of what made this band the best in their corner of the business was not on the mental menu.

Say it out loud ‘At The Drive In got more furious with age and without Jim Ward.  It sounds impossible but it happened and there is 41 minutes of proof.

That being said, this work is an acquired taste and these musicians have always put out work that is not easily digestible.

These are songs that mean something and what happens when these guys get together has aged well.

Fidelity has always played a role in their approach.  Both the mix and the mastering process feel like they are instruments in their own right.

Shimmering yet crunchy guitars sit on top of punchy and shifting backbeats and underneath soaring vocals. This is seriously focused audio that assaults headphones in every single way that matters.

Starting off with the fireball “No Wolf Like The Present,” ATDI reaffirms that they are not quite a punk band, not quite a hardcore band, not quite a metal band yet they are heavy as all of the above.

“Governed By Contagions” is already a favorite and it’s cathartic refrain is certain to be a trigger-point live.

That’s the way the guillotine claps

She’s the one who’s governed by contagions

That’s the way the guillotine claps

She’s the one who’s governed by contagions

Even when the LP dials in super-melodies on “Tilting At The Univendor,” the arrangements remain complex and forceful.

A colleague that sat with in front of the speakers on the initial listen stated that while brilliant, this is work that will ‘go all the way over most people’s heads.’

Lets challenge the strength of that theory as anyone with a distorted guitar on their playlist will engage this LP if its approached with a open ear and a open heart.


Rating: 9.8 out of 10

Stream: At The Drive In in•ter a•li•a on Spotify

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