System of a Down
System of a Down


5.0
classic

Review

by Clumpy USER (29 Reviews)
March 7th, 2005 | 350 replies | 35,037 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dark Thrash Madness With Surprising Depth

24 of 29 thought this review was well written

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System of a Down - Self-Titled
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NOTE: This review is now nearly three years old. I now no longer feel quite as I did at the age of eighteen. Of course I stand fully by each of my reviews, but keep this in mind.
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System of a Down has been continuously hovering around the mainstream since long before their self-titled release. This, their first full-release CD, combines some of the best bits of thrash, gothic rock, polka (I'm serious) and even jazz into a unique sound. Lovers of the eclectic and good avante-garde music need look no further. This is a breath of fresh air for metal and the music business in general.

This first CD is unique - at turns hard, fast, introspective, dark and simply wacky, it stands apart from the waves of identical pop/punk and popmetal being thrusted upon the teenybopper masses these days.

The technical level of these songs are astounding - "War?", one of the highlights of the album, hits hard and fast, before slowing down to a backdrop of repeating choir music. "Peephole", an outstanding song, has a carnival, almost polka-like atmosphere reinforced with tubas. The CD has no real slacking moments; even the CD's slowest song, "Spiders", manages to be hard in its own way.

I have listened to few CDs that have affected me so deeply - Serj Tankian's amazing, sometimes meaning-elusive lyrics can be emotional, simply strange, incredibly cool, strangely uplifting and seething.

Fans of thrash and goth need look no further. For undecided fans of mainstream rock and alternative music, I offer this challenge: download the song "CubeRT" off of iTunes or any music service. If satisfied, buy this CD. You're in for a treat.

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TRACK INFO:
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Suite-Pee:
After the album's killer opener, a bizarre arpeggio, the riffs kick in. This track is one of System's hardest, most death-metal-esque tracks. This song features "death metal roar overload" around the middle. Just a great opening.
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Know:
Another excellent track, "Know" hits hard with the face-ripping riffs, before slowing down to an echoing bridge. Keeps up the motion of the album. It has a very quiet, introspective chorus. Serj's staccato vocal delivery really shines here
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Sugar:
The single most have heard, "Sugar" is another strange song, almost rap-like, before the headbanging chorus. There's a lot of jazz influence here, and the song shows System's signature "hardness". The part toward the end ("I sit in my desolate room" ) is a pure madhouse of unhinged intensity.
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Suggestions:
A slightly slower song, this song conjures a great image of an ocean-perched lookout on the morning of an invasion. A very bouncy song, in fact, guitarists should realize just how painful the main riff is to play for any extended length of time.
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Spiders:
Whether it's about mind-control or just a great slower song, "Spiders" slows the album down a bit (proving System's versatility if nothing else), and lets Serj be a little more introspective. Plus, it's dang easy to play on a guitar. Sure, it's the quietest song on the album, but that's all relative - SOAD is always heavy, regardless of their delivery.
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DDevil:
A great eclectic song. Very bouncy, DDevil combines several of Serj Tankian's prior poems into a psychedelic stew. It's got a great main riff, with a necessarily sparse guitar delivery.
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Soil:
An emotional, yet angry song about a friend's suicide. Though a little gratuitous with the profanity, "Soil" features great guitar work. The main riff is fantastic. Buy a distortion guitar and jam with this again and again. A fantastic solo seals the deal - it's one of the more technical moments on the album.
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War?:
My personal favorite, about the treatment of those in the Middle East by the western world, "War?" makes a great political point without being preachy. Awesome twists and turns round it out, with a great interlude. I think that this is the only System song to use sound samples, but I may be wrong.
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Mind:
The album shows no signs of slacking with this incredibly hard song. It's the longest song on the album, but doesn't get boring. Just when you think it can't get harder, it does. Calculatingly intense.
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Peephole:
Another favorite, "Peephole" features an almost polka-like intensity. Possibly about a drug trip (or even an anti-drug song depending on your interpretation), this song is a fantastic example of SOAD's ingenuity. Don't get confused at the thirty-second intro before the song.
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CubeRT:
I like this song, but I appear to be in the minority. Something about the line: "Don't leave your seats now!" sums up the album: there's still more to come, don't turn off your CD player.
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Darts:
Of all the songs on the album, "Darts" comes the closest to being filler. It's a testament to the quality of the CD that it's still a fantastic song. Featuring some of Serj's weirdest vocals, "Darts" has a fantastic bridge, and - listen carefully - uses the same riff throughout the whole song. The lyrics are clever and strange: "Life-threatening lifestyles: a hitman, a nun, lovers."
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P.L.U.C.K. :
(Politically Lying, Unholy, Cowardly Killers): A highly emotional song about the Armenian Genocide, "P.L.U.C.K.", like "War?", makes its point without being too overt. A killer ending to a CD, it features Daron Malakian with some beautiful harmonization. Solidifies the twisted beauty of the album.
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MY RATING: ***** (Instant classic - buy this now if you like heavy music. This album kicks trash in a way that "Toxicity" just baaarely misses the grade.
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MY CONTENT RATING: Explicit for language. Even the edited version of the record lets a couple of bombs through, but the intensity of the music should turn you away faster than the lyrics, which for the most part use profanity sparingly.
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Thanks for reading my review. Please vote for it if you liked it!
Visit Clumpy's blog at clumpy.blogspot.com
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user ratings (3038)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Busiris
March 7th 2005



1 Comments


Yeah umm. The only song i have heard from system of a down is aireals or whatever. I liked it alot. i can play it too

shimmy
March 8th 2005



41 Comments


I agree about the fact that it's a great album,and that s.o.a.d are simply great but i don't think thay have an high technic level...in war neither......the make big things playing simply their instruments....cheers to the drummer!!!

choke383
March 8th 2005



66 Comments


best system album to date


choke383
March 8th 2005



66 Comments


this is the only self titled review! I was hoping more content, but i shouldn't complain im not very good myself.
war, pluck, sugar, peephole, .... all (or almost) the songs on this album stimulate my nose hair... in a good way.
hurray for this great album

Clumpy
March 8th 2005



76 Comments


The reviews above this one were added before I added the individual track information. Just a note.

Clumpy
March 8th 2005



76 Comments


Stay tuned for my reviews of the other "System of a Down" albums, followed by a cavalcade of "The Aquabats", "Weezer" and "They Might Be Giants" reviews. If I get around to it, expect "Disturbed", "Serart" and "Soundgarden".

choke383
March 8th 2005



66 Comments


it's All Good

Scott Herren
March 8th 2005



192 Comments


You should review Then: The Earlier Years and do a track by track clumpy.

Mambuto_O'Mally
March 8th 2005



33 Comments


How can you call 'Darts' a filler? An extremely heavy song and what a bridge!

Clumpy
March 8th 2005



76 Comments


Read carefully: "It's a testament to the quality of the CD that it's still a fantastic song." I had to criticize the CD somewhere. Maybe I was misguided. All I said is that it came the "closest" to being filler.

Lady_Ahriman
March 8th 2005



2 Comments


I love this album with a passion. Props to you clumpy for writing a good review

Clumpy
March 13th 2005



76 Comments


Thanks. I'm thinking - after I finish reviewing all of the CDs of The Aquabats, I'll review TMBG's "Dial a Song" and "Flood", then maybe I'll do some Tom Waits reviews! Rock on and stuff!

Kingofdudes
March 13th 2005



294 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good album for someone just getting into heavy music. But this album fails to stay fresh to my ears. I cant stand listening to any of the songs anymore. Good review though.

Clumpy
March 15th 2005



76 Comments


Hey, I won't protest - from a purely musical level, they're really quite simple. Easy to play, too - flat chords in Drop C.

Dead
March 30th 2005



30 Comments


Most people don't even know about S.O.A.D.'s other albums aside from Toxicity. The Self Titled CD is their best one out so far. I can;t wait till they release their new ones this year.

Clumpy
April 27th 2005



76 Comments


I've changed some of the formatting I didn't like and added some more info about some of the tracks to "fill out" the information. The review was getting kind of embarrasing to me, so I thought that I'd fix it. You're welcome.

ThriceIsGod
May 5th 2005



4 Comments


i agree that system plays pretty simple stuff. still, serj kicks ass on the vocals and the guitar sounds good. i like all system albums equally.

TheSubtleArts
June 6th 2005



16 Comments


This is one of my favorite albums ever. It never gets old to me. good review also.

Manky_phish
June 10th 2005



8 Comments


Great review, dude. I agree wholeheartedly with all you said. This is one of my favourite albums of all time. I was lucky enough to see these guys play live earlier this year, and it was a life changing expierience. 5/5 from me, for both the review and the album.

Killtacular
June 18th 2005



1314 Comments


Damn you Clumpy, you gave it 5 stars so now I have to check it out. I rather enjoyed Toxicity, so maybe this'll be better.



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