System Of A Down - System Of A Down review
|Band:||System Of A Down|
|Album:||System Of A Down|
|Release date:||June 1998|
Japanese Bonus Tracks:
System Of A Down are probably best known for their 2001 smash hit album Toxicity, which was just strange yet accessible enough to garner a massive following. However, before they got their major label backing, System of a Down released their self-produced, self-titled debut.
Unlike Toxicity which seemed to have a certain polish due to major label supervision, this album could be best described as genuinely unapologetic madness. No, no, I assure you it's not that fake self-poser crap Hypnotize or Mesmerize, this sirs and madams is a flash of brilliance which afterwards makes you feel like you just finished riding Bizarro (the roller coaster, but the supervillian may suffice here to), rather than fighting through the hordes of conformity for the glory of metal. Unlike a lot of bands (or their later albums) which seem to go out of their way to seem like they were out of their minds, System Of A Down (and by that I mean vocalist Serj Tankian) just seems to be able to nonchalantly make the lyrics seem like the rants of a madman more than any kind of message throughout the song, yet oddly enough, end up being unusually catchy. The best example of this would be the song "Sugar" (although any song could showcase the tendency of the lyrics to not make any sense due to their rant-like nature), which for all I can figure out, might be about some kind of drug induced act of murder against someone of the female sex (but I'm probably far off the mark there). The only real theme throughout the whole album just seems to be opposition to any and all institution out there, just for the sake of doing so. Message? Who needs a message when you have the masses deeply and profoundly confused?
As for the instrumentation, it's pretty simplistic but the greater whole of the band seems to be better than its individual parts. It's certainly not the slow, 3-chord nu-metal chug Korn plays, instead opting for a much faster, even frantic pace that still manages to have some sense of accessible melody if not to completely freak out the normals. There's also quite a bit of variety from the mostly not-quite-thrash-but-not-quite-nu-metal present throughout most of the album, as the album occasionally deviates from its usual craziness to more subtle twists on styles. The slow paced dark rock ballad of "Spiders", the Detroit City Rock-eque "DDevil", and the polka-waltz "Peephole" break up the monotony of the continuous frantic nature found throughout the album to good effect, keeping things fresh just in the right places.
The album may be perhaps a little too crazy as some people may not be able to take it seriously, while others may find the relative nontechnical aspect of the album bland. If you want something more pseudo-serious try Toxicity, and if you want something more technical, listen to Animals as Leaders or something, but if you're a fan of such zany bands as Unexpect, Diablo Swing Orchestra, or Stolen Babies, you might find this a personal gem in a place you never thought of looking.
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| Troy Killjoy
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