Review Summary: System of a Down obviousely didn't want to sound like another mainstream band. They wanted to convey something different. So when they signed on to a record deal, they took their first self-titled album as a chance to be different and to show people what
System of a Down's first debut album will be remembered as one of their most heavy and hardcore albums to date. Its obvious they've grown alot since the release of this album, but none of the others will ever give the same feeling that their first ever one gave. An uncomfortable feeling accompanied by the need for revolution. In this review we will beak down the album and look at each song individually just to see what makes this album so different.
Suite-Pee: When i first put on the CD, I didn't know what I was in for. When the first ear splitting notes of Suite-Pee turned on, I knew this was going to be an interesting ride. The opening song of System of a Down features preacher-like vocals from the lead singer Serj as the instrumentals are heavy and addicting. Then, when you think you've endured the worst of it, the tempo changes into a slower, more demonic tone with harsh lyrics such as "Lie naked on the floor" and "I wanna f**k my way to the garden." Its a perfect demonic opening to the CD, and just a preview of what's to come.
Know: After Suite-Pee, Know comes on with intenst drumming and loud guitaring, which then breaks off into more preacher-like vocals. Know is just there. There really isn't anything special about it. Its a pretty good song, but its more filler then anything. Its a good song to move to, but when compared to the rest of the CD, it will be forgotten in time. Thats not to say it isnt a fun song to listen to and it does it's job perfectly.
Sugar: Surely one of the standout songs of the album, Sugar features fast paced, almost rap-like vocals by Serj, touching on subjects such as abuse and schitzofrania. There is no breather in this song, meaning its intense from beginning to end. Also, near the middle-end, the instrumentals grow quiet, and Serj begins to belt out random phrases such as "I sit...in my desolate room" or "I killed everyone!" This gives the song a creepy feel to it, and as you listen, you really get the feeling that Serj has gone completely insane with thoughts of murder. A very satisfying song indeed.
Suggestions: This song is a nice break to the first three songs. Its still fast-paced, but instead of heavy chords and preaching, it has simple guitar and talks of enemy ships coming from oversee and taking over the land. It still features Serj's mind-boggling screeches and some heavy instrumentals here and there, but its not as hardcore as the other songs. Nevertheless, its still a nice breather from the usual harshness of it all.
Spiders: If there is any song you should remember after the album is finished, it NEEDS to be Spiders. Personally, this is one of my favorite songs on the album. The overall feel and style of it is completely different from the rest of the album. It begins slow and soft, but builds up in intensity to give a big, powerful climax. The entire song has a very mystical and mysterious tone to it, as Serj sings about dreams and mind control. It was a risky move puttiing a song like this into a CD like this, but they did it, and it was an overall success.
DDevil: Ah, well, Spiders was nice. What's next? Oh...DDevil. DDevil is interesting. Its short, but thats good, because if it was any longer, it wouldn't be as good. DDevil pokes fun at religion and worshiping the devil, and you get a sense of goofyness to it, like a medivel jester is dancing around. Serj doesn't hold back with his screeching, and all the intensity from the beginning of the album is brought back in one little song.
Soil: Soil isn't really anything new. It continues on wiith the intense structure of the CD, but it sort of drags on a little. There isn't anything new here, just more of the same stuff. Don't get me wrong, its a good song, and it does its job well, but I personally was never really a fan, and there's nothing here that really differentiates itself from the rest of the album. Overall, Soil is probably one of the worst songs on the album. However, Serj does an amazing little girl voice.
War?: Now SOAD turns their attention toward the issues of war and the effect of it on society and religion. The song is still intense in its own way, but different from anything else on here due to its feeling of an underground revolution. Near the middle, the instrumentals change into a bit more of a mystical feeling, as Serj yells out random phrases such as "When you enter a room, you must destroy it!" and other phrases referencing religion and what not. And right as you think it's ok, the song jumps right back into intense instrumentals and heavy screaming form Serj.
Mind: Oh, Mind. The CD wouldn't be the same without you. The song starts very soft, with simple bass chords and soft, almost whispering vocals. This forces you to turn up your volume in order to hear whats going on. Then it begins to slowly grow quieter and quieter, until all you hear is near silence. As you sit there, dissappointed in the song, the heavy instrumentals suddenly kick in, as Serj begins to yell "Go away! Go away! Go away!" Thats when the song breaks off into a loud, heavy, and intense mess of crazyness. With random change of tempos, and lyrics such as "Mutually, mentally, the molested children of a Mother." this song makes up the bulk of the middle of the album, and will leave you speechless. And just as you think its over, its not.
Peephole: The best way i can describe Peephole is it sounds like an old, rusty, messed up carnival. As Serj belts on about the dangers of flying and what not, the hypnotizing instrumentals will draw you in. The song is quite good, but the only down side that keeps the song from rising is that it drags on near the middle. It eventually leads to a powerful ending, but by then you're asking yourself "is it worth it?" But don't take this the wrong way, it's still a good song to pay attention to.
CUBErt: CUBErt comed after the hypnotizing sound of Peephole, snapping you out of the daze with ear splitting guitar and Serj screeching out random nonsense words. The song sounds alot like DDevil, which i believe it was supposed to. Its short, fast, and fun. It really makes you want to get up and move around, just like DDevil.
Darts: Darts is a miniature version of Mind. It changes tempo here and there, and features the best of Serj's screeching. This song is also short, and really belts down on religion and belief. What really stands out though is Serj's voice. Most of the time, it doesn't even sound like singing, just him yelling out random phrases in different voices. Still, this just adds on the atmosphere of the sound, and is definately a highlight of the album.
P.L.U.C.K.: Last but not least, the closing song takes everything that we loved from the album and puts it together at the end, making a perfect closing to the album. It also features vocals from guitarist Daron Malakian, whose voice morphs with Serj in a few parts. The main lyric slam that the song bases itself upon is "All in a system, down." This little line closes the song, and marking the end of the beginning of SOAD's legacy.
Overall, this album is a fun listen to get into, and if you are able to listen to this without feeling the need to get up and move and revolt, then listen to it again.