Launching a full on attack on the senses and a vicious assault on punk, At The Drive-In were one of the most exciting, progressive and violent sounds to come out of the '90s.
In a career spanning three albums and eight years, their pioneering post-hardcore sound gave birth to an album that remains as important and influencial as it did the day it arrived. 'Relationship of Command' was, and is, a pioneering album of agitated and urgent noise, ranking amongst my top ten albums of all time.
The Texan five-piece's reputation for untamed live performances, the convulsive moves and raw vocals of frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala, make the band utterly compelling to watch, with every live video as captivating as the next.
It is, however, the infamous Later... with Jools Holland performance that's guaranteed to provoke the strongest reaction, telling you exactly where you stand on the At The Drive-In are genius/bullshit scale.
'One Armed Scissor' performed live on Later... with Jools Holland in 2000
While today it may be hard to grasp how much At The Drive-In managed to shake up music and how important that album was, you have to remember the era it arrived into. They stormed the late '90s and early '00s with an edgy sound that completely put the shits up the indie and Britpop deluge that had ruled much of the decade, while also stamping out the fire of nu-metal's sludgy riffs with a syncopated cacophony, plunging punk to exhilirating new depths.
I remember having 'Relationship of Command' on repeat for months, seeing the video for 'One Armed Scissor' and knowing I had to see this band live. Sadly, I never got the opportunity, despite having tickets to see them for my 18th birthday at Rock City, Nottingham; the band pulled out of the last remaining dates of the tour - after a year on the road - blaming mental and physical exhaustion.
Of course, I was devastated, but who could blame them really, just watching some of their videos leaves me feeling in need of a quiet lie down. Shortly after the cancellation of the tour, however, they imploded, announcing their split after making the album of their career and while at the peak of their popularity, much like pioneering punk noiseniks Refused.
But following an announcement at the start of the year that 'this station is now operational' once again, with a trickle of festival dates already planned, I'm hoping that this time round I'll get to experience that full on breeze-block-to-the-face sound first-hand.
Tracks to check out: