System of a Down
System of a Down


5.0
classic

Review

by vanderb0b USER (63 Reviews)
April 28th, 2010 | 43 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Arguably the most creative and unique nu-metal album ever recorded.

Nu-metal and creativity are not two words that are commonly associated in 2010. The genre is stagnant, and most of the most influential bands in the genre, such as Korn and Limp Bizkit, have nearly descended into the realms of self-parody. However, the genre was an entirely different beast in the late 1990s. Among others, the aforementioned titans Korn and Limp Bizkit were experimenting with new sounds as they tried to mix rap and metal, two seemingly opposite genres, and the end result was largely successful. Even though many of albums released at this time were interesting, none were amazing. None until System of a Down entered the scene in 1998 and released their most interesting album, System of a Down.

System of a Down is different from all of this band's other albums. This is certainly the accessible and definitely the most progressive of the band's impressive discography, and is additionally the least melodic. On this album, System of a Down play around with many different sounds, which results in all the songs being very distinguishable and different from each other. On songs such as Sugar, guitarist Daron Malakian flirts around with slow, grinding riffs, while singer Serj Tankian yells disjointedly, while on some compositions, such Ddevil, Serj's voice jumps up and down octaves as Daron plays lightning fast, thrashy riffs. The band tries something new on each song, but their experiments are all surprisingly successful.

One of the biggest strengths of this album is how skillfully the mood of the music is manipulated. Mind, for example, is frightening, with the slow, quiet baseline, Serj's hypnotic chanting, and Darons high-pitched, mesmerizing riffs spasmodically exploding into a din whenever the listener least expects it. P.L.U.C.K, a song about the Armenian genocide, however conjures completely different feelings. Serj's furious screams and occasional growls, along with the lightning fast drumming and down tuned and Daron's yells of 'Watch them all fall down!" convey warlike anger. The quirky Suggestions is almost humorous, and Serj's (purposefully) overly theatrical high pitched shrieks always bring a smile to my to face.

While all of the songs are fantastically written, there are two definite highlights: Mind and Darts. Not coincidentally, these are the most progressive and experimental songs on the album.

Mind starts with an ominous, brooding baseline which is joined by a very slow riff reminiscent of Middle Eastern music. Serj croons:
Look at each other, Look at each other,
Look at each other, Look at each other
And then the song explodes. Serj screams at the top of his lungs as grinding riffs are played.
Free thinkers are dangerous
claims Tankian, as the song speeds up and almost Slayer-esque riffs enter. The rest of the song bounces between the slow, subdued sound of the intro, the chugging verse, and the thrashy mayhem of the chorus.

Darts is perhaps the oddest song on a very odd album. Serj alternates between high pitched, harmonized shrieks, moans, singing, harsh vocals and monotone vocals. The guitars alternate between calm single notes, melodic leads, and frightening riffs. Onye moment, the song could be a slow chant about nuns and their destructive lifestyles, and the next moment, it could erupt into a shout about clock men.

This is one of the most eccentric and eclectic nu-metal albums ever written and it is very consistently strong. If you ever doubted the genre, listen to this at least once.



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user ratings (3142)
Chart.
4.1
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
NeutralThunder12
April 28th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow bro, excellent review and opinion. I slightly prefer Toxicity but this almost equals it. Nice job. Pos.

ninjuice
April 28th 2010


6760 Comments


IT'S A HAND! A DAMN HAND!

bloozclooz
April 28th 2010


1770 Comments


fuck yes.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2010


31620 Comments


However, the genre was an entirely different beast in the early 1990s

Think you meant to say late 1990's, or early 2000's

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

maidenpmcc
April 28th 2010


1425 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Arguably the most creative and unique nu-metal album ever recorded."

Should be a five then. Other than that, good review.

vanderb0b
April 28th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, Deviant, I fixed it.

vanderb0b
April 28th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh, and maiden, its in between a 4.5 and a 5. I might bump it up.

Zettel
April 28th 2010


604 Comments


I never listened to this record, but you got me interested. I did not like Toxicity; maybe I would like this better.

TheSpirit
April 28th 2010


18001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Should be a five then. Other than that, good review.


Not if they aren't a big fan of the genre. Or you know, consider it a classic.


Digging: The Speed of Sound in Seawater - Red Version

Dryden
April 28th 2010


13276 Comments


this rules

bloozclooz
April 28th 2010


1770 Comments


dryden says something positive,

the world subsequently implodes.

Dryden
April 28th 2010


13276 Comments


oh ma god

Lambda
April 28th 2010


2479 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Good review!

Lambda
April 28th 2010


2479 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Good review!

vanderb0b
April 28th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for all of the feedback

I was wondering, I wrote six reviews, but my site ranking didn't change. Why is that?

@Zettel
If you didn't like Toxicity, you'll probably dislike this, but I hope that you won't

Jethro42
April 28th 2010


12635 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Basically what Lambda keeps on saying.


Powerban
April 28th 2010


2380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Site rank doesn't change for a while, give it time. I looked at mine the other day and I hadn't written a review in ages and I somehow jumped from the 1700's to the 500's.

I wouldn't worry about it too much, just keep on reviewing and it will catch up.

NeutralThunder12
April 28th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh but your highlights are wrong imo. "Spiders", "Sugar", "Suite Pee", "War?" and "Suggestions" are the best here.

qwe3
April 28th 2010


21368 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^ the fact that you didn't mention "Mind" means you don't get to have an opinion on System sorry dude

Powerban
April 28th 2010


2380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Peephole is the best song SOAD will ever write. Mind is basically just as awesome.



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