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3.84 | 63 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1998


1. Suite-Pee (2:36)
2. Know (3:01)
3. Sugar (2:37)
4. Suggestions (2:48)
5. Spiders (3:39)
6. DDevil (1:47)
7. Soil (3:30)
8. War? (2:44)
9. Mind (6:20)
10. Peephole (4:08)
11. CUBErt (1:53)
12. Darts (2:46)
13. P.L.U.C.K. (3:38)

Total Time: 41:32

Japanese Edition Bonus Tracks:
14. Marmalade (3:02)
15. Störagéd (1:19)

Limited Edition Bonus Disc:
1. Sugar (2:27)
2. War? (2:48)
3. Suite-Pee (2:59)
4. Know (3:04)

Total Time: 11:20


- Serj Tankian / vocals, keyboards, samples
- Daron Malakian / guitars, vocals
- Shavo Odadjian / bass
- John Dolmayan / drums

About this release

Released in 1998 by American Recordings as a single CD and Limited Edition double CD edition. Japanese single CD version had two bonus tracks.

Thanks to Pekka for the updates


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System of a Down Top Alternative Metal album of 1998 System of a Down were one of the first Metal bands I really got into, and as such they were a pretty influential act for me. Even at the time, I never worshipped them or anything, but I did find them to be pretty great with some absolutely stellar songs. As I’ve matured, I find myself listening to the self-titled debut all the way through for the first time in… God, maybe 10 years? And it’s really not aged well. It’s still got two fantastic songs on it, but there is sooo much filler. Not to mention, it gets substantially weaker near the end.

The album is lacking in just about every department except for creativity and uniqueness. Riffs are simple and forgettable, with few leads at all, mostly relying on standard rhythm guitarwork. System of a Down have an amazing rhythm section in both Shavo and Dolyman, each having a very unique style that get tons of focus. Except, here, they didn’t have that style yet. They just sounded like run of the mill rhythm musicians.

The album feels way too long, but it’s only 40 minutes. No doubt thanks to most of the 13 tracks being unmemorable, outstaying their welcome and meandering nowhere. Some of the lyrics are alright, but there’s also a lot of cryptic word-salad and goofiness (not that they ever outgrew that).

Overall, it’s just not a great record. It’s fine. But the years have not been kind to it in my ears. I feel like this one gets way too much credit just because of the band’s legacy and because it’s “quirky.”
It's 1998, and with nu metal slowly getting its footing and revitalizing what was, at that point, a dying metal scene, there's no denying that amongst the rap metal hybrid acts such as Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine, and the teenage angst ridden beats of Papa Roach and Korn, there was one band who had a unique sound of their own, and that band was Spineshank.

Just kidding.

System of a Down's self-titled debut album is literally all over the place, from calm to erratic in a heartbeat. It's raw and aggressive, yet at times can be soothing and melodic, whilst maintaining a take-no-prisoners "fuck the world" attitude. It's dirty, gritty, and full of rage and spite. Certainly not a record for the weak-hearted.

Vocalist Serj Tankian has expertly managed to blend all kinds of singing, from melodic clean vocals to shouting, a wide range of eccentric falsetto, something considerably theatrical, and what can only be described as "vocal effects", it could be seen as an acquired taste, but it's certainly unique! And his vocals are perfectly backed by Daron Malakian's guitars. Punchy, heavy and relentless. Frantically shifting from crunchy riffs to odd, out-of-tune bends and licks. It's a recognizable style that very few have been able to replicate.

Highlights to look out for include 'Suite-Pee', 'Know', 'Ddevil' (nope, that wasn't a typo!), 'Peephole' and of course the classic, 'Sugar'.

As a whole, this is a cracking debut. It shows a band with incredible chemistry and potential (which they would certainly live up to), and the only real problem with it today is that it seems a bit dated and overshadowed by what the band would go on to release later in their careers.
siLLy puPPy
The game of musical Monopoly was still the scene in the 90s. SYSTEM OF A DOWN picked up a chance card and got to advance to go and collect their $200. That meaning they got to side-step the traditional climb to musical success by going from playing the LA clubs to recording their first album after Rick Rubin caught a show and offered to produce it for them which granted them instant access to MTV, radio and soon thereafter a stint with Ozzfest. A true story of rags to riches all in a relatively short time.

Undoubtedly they got so much attention because of the strange hybrid they exhibited from the beginning with a kind of alternative metal that at times utilized thrash, at times elements of death metal but all mixed with the traditional music of their Armenian roots. That coupled with their ability to weave complex musical ideas out of rather simple catchy riffs and drumbeats meant they had the perfect background to expound their political views on issues such as the Armenian genocide of 1915 by the Ottomans and the more recent War On Terror by the US.

A lot of the music here is very melodic metal oriented with groove and thrash leanings which drop in and out with strange little lead breaks and Serj Tankian's unusual half screamed, half rapped lyrical outbursts and lots of other unorthodoxies. A very strong album but doesn't quite have the diversity of the following ones. I find this album very good, but not great. The ideas they present here are interesting to say the least but don't really develop fully until their next album TOXICITY. As much as I love listening to this album it does seem to drag a bit towards the end, however still a strong debut for a band whose unique yet accessible experimental take on metal would take the world by storm.
Since the site's conception I've been warming up my elusive reviewing skills with miscellaneous albums that happened to pop into mind. But now I'm ready to tackle the ultimate fanboy mission. Blame me all you want, people, but this is how I feel about these albums.

I don't know how it came to be, but this weird bunch of Armenian American madballs with no official releases under their belt somehow or other managed to jump from LA clubs to a studio where the legendary Rick Rubin himself was waiting to press the record button. He did, and judging by the sound of this record they might have played their stuff there and then on one take, unplugged and walked away. They captured a very raw live-like sound for songs that are raw, at times humorous and most of the time completely out of control. Built on rhythmic simplistic riffs and pounding beats, this album was grouped together with all the Nu Metal that was happening at the time, but if one listens to the record, one finds that System of a Down was completely on a different level when it came to twisted aggression and raw teen-angst-free emotion. Songs like Spiders, Mind and Peephole have some calmer moments, but they're most often broken up by loud bursts of fist-in-face attack.

Daron Malakian was always the band's main composer and with each album he would take more control over the band's sound and vocal department, but the real star of this album is Serj Tankian, at his brilliant best. Every song a great one to start with, they are crowned by one of my favourite vocal performances ever on any album. I could bring out a dozen examples of moments where he does some spot-on rhythmic phrasing, changes tone or bursts out to a hilarious rant, but you'll have to listen for yourself.

This is a pure adrenaline rush in music form, and there can't be an album out there that does it better. One of my top 3 favourite debut albums ever.

Members reviews

Nu metal (or Alternative metal) has always been a controversial genre amongst old school Metalheads who label it "false metal" and "mallcore", and while i must admit Nu metal does have it's fair share of garbage (Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Papa Roach etc.), Prog-rock influenced Nu metal bands like System of a Down and Deftones show that not all music from the Nu metal ghetto is crap. The Los Angeles Based System of a Down's self titled debut album is literally like a steaming kettle of molten lava, and alternates between soft moments which showcase lead singer Serj Tankian's fantastic singing ability, to bursts of thrash metal/hardcore punk fury typified by tracks like Sugar, Suite-Pee, Soil and Mind. At first i didn't care much for the ballady songs on this album (Spiders, Suggestions, Peephole) but they eventually grew on me (once again due to tankian's amazing voice). The album includes a few filler type songs which are at or under 2 minutes (CUBErt, Darts, DDevil), They are basically mini versions of the longer heavier songs (Mind, Soil) which is pretty cool. I don't particularly care for CUBErt which i could never really get into, but other then that the tracks here are of great quality and very memorable, the type of stuff that will stay in your head for a while. Overall a fantastic Nu/Alt metal album, and definitely one of my most favorite debut albums ever. Recommended for fans of bands like Slayer, Metallica, Korn and Tool.

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