SYSTEM OF A DOWN — System of a Down (review)

SYSTEM OF A DOWN — System of a Down album cover Album · 1998 · Alternative Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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.
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