ARTIST: System of a Down
TITLE: System of a Down
YEAR RELEASED: 1998
CHART ACTION: #124 US, #103 UK
SINGLES: Sugar (#31 US Alternative, #28 US Mainstream, #136 UK), Spiders (#38 US Alternative, #25 US Mainstream)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not, oh casual listeners.
LINEUP: Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian, John Dolmayan
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Lumped in with Nu-Metal or other genres, SOTD was really a diverse blend of metal and alternative sounds with interesting vocals moving from operatic to death growly, diverse musicality, and quite pointed and political lyrics.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: One of the more exciting metal (ish) bands in the last decade were System of a Down. Their debut record shows their appeal to the metal, alternative, and progressive music scenes. Not fitting into one simple place, they weave progressive type chord structures, odd time signatures, vocal gymnastics, activism and heavy guitar based riffs and solos into one interesting stew.
This has something for everyone who digs heavier, harder rock or even progressive rock. Yep, it’s loud and aggressive, but complex musically. Lyrically, Tankian covers all facets from a distinctly progressive viewpoint and uses his voice as a source of melody and a weapon.
The down part of this album for me is that it’s a bit wearying to listen to through and there’s a bit of repetition between tracks. There’s a lot of quality there, and more of it would come out later. It’s a really good start, though, and in 1998 was quite unique.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Each member of the band are of Armenian descent. Only Malakian was born in the US.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a Japanese edition and some copies had a bonus live EP.
GRADE: B+: It will definitely fill the hole you may have in your metal(ish) collection.