At the Drive In unleashed their first new song in 16 years, the blistering, “Governed by Contagions.”
The song is packed with angular guitar riffs and staggering drums, and arrives with a gritty lyric video that pairs singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s jarring lyrics – “How many bites do you think it takes/ To get to the cyanide tooth?” – with collage-like animation of an urban dystopia.
“Governed by Contagions” is available to download for free via At the Drive In’s website and marks the group’s first new song since their 2000 LP Relationship of Command. In March, the band reunited live for the first time since 2012, but the tour got off to a rocky start when guitarist Jim Ward left the evening before the first show. ATDI continued the trek, but were forced to cancel their North American dates in June due to health concerns over Bixler-Zavala’s throat and vocal chords (the group returned to the road in July for a string of international shows).
In an extensive interview with Rolling Stone, guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez said that the band had been writing and recording songs while on the road using a portable rig. While at the time he said he was too “on the inside” to describe the new material, he spoke about the seamlessness of the At the Drive In reunion: “This tour we’re doing right now, it’s us picking up where we left off. We’re finishing the tour we never got to finish from where I left the band and we broke up. Now we’re back together, and we actually get to finish that tour. We get to revisit it and reignite it and do it with fresh eyes.”