System of a Down



by Rob_Nuts USER (4 Reviews)
November 9th, 2005 | 33 replies

Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

System of a Down exploded onto the global music scene with their Awe-inspiring self titled album in 1998. System of a Down created a sound that had never been heard before in music. Since their debut release System has changed Metal music forever, almost reinventing a genre that had seemed to be losing its touch.

Fast forward to September 2001, after months of waiting and delays System of a Down release their Sophomore effort, 'Toxicity'. Instantly the band is recognised by the world-wide success of their first single from the album 'Chop Suey'. The album spawns another 2 singles, 'Toxicity' and 'Aerials'. Toxicity not only impresses System fans, but people worldwide.

Toxicity is much more accessible than SOAD's first release, and is easily one of the most impressive releases of the decade so far. 'Toxicity' is a must have for all music fans and has defined (or created) a new genre of music.

Track-by-Track Analysis:

Prison Song:
A classic opening to an album. The song stop-starts with Serj whispering in the gaps of silence. The song builds up to a customary'roar' by Serj before the System magic starts. The verse is repeated statistics about the U.S prison systems, before Daron sings over the top. After the second chorus the song explodes into a bridge with Serj screaming over the top 'All research and successful drug policies...' before slowing down back into the verse-chorus structure. Before ending on a softer note and fading out. This song is a classic System of a Down song and a blatant attack on the drug system in the U.S. and how so many people can get away with it, a classic SOAD song.

One of the hardest and best songs on the album. The lyrics of the song
are based on a drug habit, the drugs referred to as a tapeworm, "My tapeworm tells me what to do". The song starts out with a guitar riff matched by an equally fast beat on the drums. The verse is fast paced,
building up the to the bridge, exploding into the chorus with a clear message, "Pull the tapeworm out of your ass!". The bridge is one of the best on the album, with Daron's singing voice shining through and really suits the mood of the song. The song explodes into the final chorus before finishing suddenly, a great song to follow Prison Song, and a fan favourite live.

Deer Dance:
A heavy opening to this song, but not as effective as needles. The verse riff is very simple, but gets repetitive. The lyrics of this song attack the policing system in America, "Pushing little children they like to push the weak around". Although the lyrics are brilliantly done, this song doesn't quite live up to its 2 predecessors.

Jet Pilot:
This is a controversial song, with many yelling 'Filler!' mainly because of the length of this song and the repetitive lyrics I agree that the lyrics can get repetitive, but I think the guitar riffs in this by Daron are some of the best on the album, and the drumming is superb once again by John. The verses are probably the best lyrics of the song, with the chorus being to repetitive and the bridge isn't much to talk about. All in all there is arguments both ways about this song being a filler or not, but I tend to agree that with more work (better chorus, less repetitive) this song could have been much better.

This is one of 3 songs on the album that clock in at under 2 minutes, but I think this is one of the better 'filler' tracks on the album, and bridge is simply amazing live (for the crowd!). The lyrics are great and the riffs are hard. This song deserves more credit than it receives.

Chop Suey:
This is probably the defining System of a Down song and with good reason, superb guitar, great drumming and some of the best lyrics Serj has ever wrote. The production on this song is also first class with up to 3 layers of guitar heard at one time. The verse is reminisant of a faster version of the start of Prison Song, before the lead up to the chorus turns slower and we can finally hear Serj's lower pitched voice. This song really breaks the rules on how songs should be structured, which can destroy a song but System of a Down has masterfully shown that they can write a song how they want. If you have never heard of System of a Down, get this song, one of the best songs SOAD have written.

This song shows SOAD's 'lighter' side with very weird lyrics about a girl, her friends and Serj's 'Pogo Stick'. This song it one of the more entertaining song on the album, and is a heavy song with a great interlude, that kicks in with a heavy riff by Daron. This song is a fun listen.

On we move to the best song on Toxicity. The intro builds the song up until the opening riff explodes through your speakers, a great guitar riff (yet again) by Daron, and excellent drumming by John, who is usually over-looked when looking at today’s best Metal drummers. The lyrics, although somewhat strange, are sung passionately by Serj. The lead up to the final chorus by Daron is one of the more memorable pieces of guitar work on the album (so far...) All in all this is one of the strongest songs SOAD have written, heavy, fast paced, great drumming and guitar riffs and passionately sung by Serj, the best offering on Toxicity.

System of a Down move away from their heavy starts to songs with a slower guitar melody to start off and great harmonics between Serj and Daron in the verses. The song is somewhat heavier and faster in the chorus, before drums and bass join in the second verse. Serj has wrote this song about Charles Manson, and the lyrics are some of the most accessible on the album and Serj demonstrates a clear message. This song is another great song and shows that SOAD can successfully write a slower song, and pull it off superbly with ATWA.

A strong start to this album with a good intro, but this song just lacks emotion, the verses are to repetitive and their hasn't been as much effort (or so it seems) put into the lyrics by Serj. The guitar riffs are similar and to repetitive. The one thing that gives this song credit is that it has one of the best interludes on the album and is an example of SOAD's strong cultural influences. Overall a decent song, but isn't up to SOAD standards.

Shimmy is the shortest song on Toxicity, but one of the best on the album. This is a politically motivated song attacking the school system and the old fashioned 'American Dream' is mocked in the chorus "I want a house and wife, I want to shimmy, shimmy, shimmy to th ebreak of dawn yeah!". This song although short is NO filler, this is just another example of how SOAD continue to break new ground in recent music.

Toxicity was the second single released from this album, and is another masterpiece. The highlight of this song is the superb drumming by John. This drumming is fast throughout, and works masterfully well with the guitar in this song. This song seems to be about greed or materialistic values, once again the lyrics are powerfully sung and the guitar interlude is well done. If you haven't heard this song it
is a must and one of System of a Down's best.

We finally have an intro other than guitar or drums with Shavo launching us into Psycho with a simple (yet effective) bass riff that sets the tempo for the entire song. The lyrics are not as deep as other songs and are mainly about drug-addicted groupies, although it has the albums only guitar solo which makes up for the over repetitive lyrics. This song is great live and the extended solo that Daron plays live should be included on the CD as it is breathtaking. This isn't a bad song, well thought out instrumentally but the lyrics are a let down.

The closer to Toxicity is Aerials the third single from the album, and as with P.L.U.C.K SOAD don't disappoint when closing an album. Serj joins in on guitar (live anyway!) during the chorus, and the guitar riff although relatively simple suits the song beautifully. The lyrics are about what Serj thinks of people or mankind in general "Alway want to play but you never want to lose". The interlude is breathtaking, the drumming is once again brilliant by John and the ability of SOAD to write music that flows between instruments is great throughout the entire album. The song fades out to the end with Serj humming to close out the album (the lyrics anyway). A superb song by an extremely talented band, one of the more beautiful songs SOAD have managed to write.

Arto: (Hidden Track)
It is hard to rate this song because of the Armenian style, not to say
that this 'song' (a piece of music) isn't beautifully done. This is a great and completely different way to finish album and lives up to how the album started with Prison Song, a great piece of work recorded solo by Arto Tunc Boyaciyan, please don’t stop the CD after Aerials.

A brilliant album by a ridiculously talented band, this is one of the best and most influential albums that have been released this decade and will most certainly be compared to some great albums from the past. From Prison Song to Aerials this album rarely disappoints and is a strong follow-up to System's self titled release. This is a must have album for anyone who listens to not only metal music but music in general.


(This is my first review so any comments would be great!)

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Comments:Add a Comment 
November 9th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

great review but try to do a different album cos this is already reviewed 4 times

November 9th 2005


Pretty damn good review for a first. But here's a challenge for you.

Try not to do the review in track-by-track formation. This gives readers the feel for the band and the album, without going over every song and what happens in the track itself.

November 9th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

This is great album. I think that if you give too many songs a 5/5, it kind of subtracts of the power of a 5/5 rating. A song getting a 5/5 is pretty emphatic, but then again if you think that all those songs deserve a 5/5, say what you feel. I say, there has been quite a wave of reviews on albums that already have 3 or 4 other reviews. American Idiot, to name one.

November 9th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

Is this album awesome? Yes.

Is this album a classic? No.

November 9th 2005


I've been told by a guitarist friend that Chop Suey has in fact 6 guitar lines in the intro, I can't keep track of them.

November 9th 2005


Album Rating: 2.5

I don't like this album too much anymore.

November 9th 2005


Album Rating: 3.0

Someone please explain to me what everyone finds is SO good about this album. Honestly I don't find anything too reamrkable about it. I mean SOAD is pretty original in general I'll give you that but this album really doesn't seem like anything too special.

November 9th 2005


Thanks for the comments
I know this album has been reviewed a few times but I
wanted to do my first review on one of my favorites.

November 10th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

Rob Nuts, I don't know what you're doing with your comments. I think you're hitting enter. You shouldn't. The great thing about computers is that they can wrap your words for ya :thumb:

November 10th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

hmmmm. 3.8 for 'Deer Dance'? 3.7 for 'Science'? 'Bounce' a 4.5? hmmmmm.

November 11th 2005


Album Rating: 2.0

I hate this band, terrible singer and these freaking odd acoustics. They look like freaks also.

Good review but I think that you should write less when you do a track-by-track review.

November 11th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

I think Bounce totally deserves a high rating. It's one of the craziest short songs ever.

November 11th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

I hate this band, terrible singer...They look like freaks also...I think that you should write less when you do a track-by-track review.

Okay, we're all entitled to opinions here at sputnik. However, I don't see much behind your statement that Serj Tankian is a terrible singer. He is a very flexible singer with wide ranges and different styles. No offense, but considering your background in music, what great "singers" are there in the death metal scene? Moving on, they don't look very much like freaks. They actually look like pretty normal people. Even if they did look like freaks, so what? I don't understand how that would affect anything. You also said that he should write less when doing a track-by-track review. That is pretty much the opposite of the general consensus here.

This Message Edited On 11.11.05

November 11th 2005


what great "singers" are there in the death metal scene?

Mikael Åkerfeldt

May 18th 2009


"excellent drumming by John, who is usually over-looked when looking at today's best Metal drummers"

He's really not all that great, fairly average for this style. Only the beginning to "Toxicity" stands out to me as memorable and original...

May 19th 2009


Too much filler to be a classic but still an awesome album
Reviews pretty good though

May 19th 2009


Haven't heard much from SOAD apart from their well-known songs. S/T is my favourite from what I've heard though.

May 19th 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

s/t is their best. and john's drumming is really fun to listen to even though it's not extremely technically proficient. the appeal of the band as a whole is the same way tbh.

May 19th 2009


John is a very good drummer, probably one of the best in alternative metal. I don't understand why some think the lack of mega-uber technical skill in alt metal is such a bad thing.

May 24th 2009


Danny Carey and Noah Bernardo would grace that list, but Dolmayan was made out to be a great modern metal drummer, which is simply not true. That is what I disagree with, I also enjoy some of his drumming, but it is nothing compared with someone like Ted Kirkpatrick or the two mentioned above.

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