Review Summary: An album SOAD will never surpass.
For years, System of a Down have released solid album after solid album, bringing something relatively new and fresh each time round. However, they've never been able to match the performance on their debut. Sure, experimentation is good, but sometimes its best just to stick to what you know you can do well; which is something SOAD succeed emphatically at in this album.
The key to success throughout this LP is its aggressive approach to most songs. 'Suite-Pee' and 'Soil' would be great examples of this as the pace of these songs is almost unrelenting. Even though Daron Malakian's riffs may be more complex in newer SOAD releases, he keeps them simple and intricate on this album. However, this works is SOAD's favour as the low-toned riffs create quite a brutal and psychotic atmosphere. To add to the positives, Serj's vocals on this LP are unlike any other SOAD release. He switches effortlessly from melodic singing to shouting and then to growling, but switches from one to another in perfect fashion. In particular, his death growls are fantastically executed, especially on the track 'Mind' as the atmosphere is very eerie and quite serious, hence why Tankian's growls fit the style of the song perfectly.
Another advantage of this album is that it virtually has no filler tracks. SOAD drag you from one song to the next and each song in its own right becomes memorable. Although the album does contain many heavy songs, there are others such as 'Cubert' and 'Mind' which take a different approach. 'Mind' begins with a very foreboding bass riff at a slow pace, the song stays at this pace for quite some time before exploding into a realm of mayhem.
There really are no real negatives to this album, other than the fact that 'Cubert' is quite a forgettable and unnecessary track, but most albums do tend to have at least one or two below-par tracks. The musicianship is impeccable and the lyrics fit the purpose of every song quite brilliantly.
To conclude, SOAD have made an album which stands tall in the Nu-Metal genre, and they have still failed to surpass this gem. If you are a SOAD fan and haven't heard this album......where the hell have you been"!
But really, you need to hear all of them!