2 of 4 thought this review was well written
System of a Down- Toxicity
After releasing their Self-Titled album, System of a Down put out Toxicity in September of '01.
Brief Descibtion of the Band--
Serj Tankian- Vocals- Serj is a very intresting vocalist. He does have some talent, but really falls short in some areas. His "screams", if you want to call them that, sometimes fall flat on their face and his clean voice can be very medicore at times. However, despite the negatives I mentioned, he does do a good job with the style of music System of a Down plays, and provides a great amont of energy to each track.
Daron Malakian- Guitar/Vocals- Daron is an average guitarist, in terms of skill. His lead lines are very simple, stuff that I could play. However, he plays these leads with very high amounts of precision, and once again, the lines fit the music very well. His clean vocals are much better than Serj's, but still, aren't exceptional.
Shavo Odadjian- Bass- Shavo is rarely heard from in Toxicity, except for the occasional breakdown where he backs Daron's guitar line. Perhaps a mix of Toxicity with more bass presence would've made for a better album, but the mix used definitly cut out much of the bass.
John Dolmayan- The drums are easily the most impressive instrument in System of a Down's arsenal. John has very nice fills in most sections of the album. However, as for most of System of a Down's instruments, his fills all sound similar, and don't have much effect after a few listens.
Now, the album gets started off with a bang. Erm, a delayed bang. The bouncy breakdown that starts "Prison Song" is a good choice for an opener to Toxicity, but it suffers severely from excessive repeating. Unfortunitly, that is largest problem throughout Toxicity, the lack of originality. Most songs have a, A, good idea, but that idea is just repeated. Of course, there are exceptions, such as A.T.W.A. and Aerials. Ironically, Toxicity's slower songs, are much better than the "fast" and "heavier" songs. Tracks such as Forest, A.T.W.A., and Aerials are much more technically sound and smoother than songs such as "Chop Suey!", "Deer Dance", and "Prison Song".
Also, the songs only have a few topics. Either, A: The Armenian Genocide, B: Government Corruption, or C: Just sillyness. While A is a very serious subject, and should not be taken lightly, it is really overused on Toxicity. There were songs on their first album, such as P.L.U.C.K. that were very, very good tracks. They made their point well, and left you thinking. However, it just feels like recycled ideas here on Toxicity, and doesn't leave you with that same feeling. While System of a Down is known for their poltically inclined lyrics, they overuse them in my opinion. Pretty much for the same reasons as mentioned above, but, you only need one or two great tracks to get your message across. Not five or six average tracks to get the same message to your listeners. Now C. C can be good and bad. System of a Down is by no means the most serious band you'll find, annd tracks sound as Bounce really show that. I mean, it talks about a dude getting a bunch of chicas to line up for action. Thats funny, for a few listens. Then, it begins to get old, and then older, and then just flat out lame. The album just really suffers from lake of replay value.
Now, your probably thinking I dispise Toxicity, since I just mentioned all Toxicity's flaws. There are some good things. The energy is usually, very good throughout. Serj really delivers his vocals with passion and is really trying to prove a point, which you don't see too often in modern music today. The instruments aren't bad, they just aren't spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. If you're looking for an album to listen to to a few times, and then put it back on the shelf for a long period, you've come to the right place. If you're looking for an album with great replay value and great musicanship, look at their self-titled album, not Toxicity.