METAL / System of a Down

Toxicity-SYSTEM OF A DOWN-2001

Insane, Pyschotic, Abrasive, Evocative.

And that’s the short and sweet of it. That is how I would describe the music of SOAD on their landmark, breakthrough album. The bass lines are crazy and all over the place, sharp as a razor, the vocals are the most weird and frightening I have ever heard, and to top it all off, they are clean. NO shrieks and tortured cries. That is the SOAD vocal trick. To sound unconcerned and aloof, and at the same time, damned insane.

The toxicity of our cities

Another SOAD formula is the effective use of what we here on TDSR call the soft-loud dynamic, used by so many metal bands, but effectively only by some. To see what I mean, check the best cut on the album, Chop Suey. Another trick they use is to keep the songs short. That, on the whole, makes the album cohesive and coherent. It means that I do not get bored. It means that they have mastered the art of album writing. Its not just, “look we have done 16 pieces of music, lets pick out 11 and throw them together and call the album Anthems to my Penis at Night, that sounds cool and frightening enough”, it is about making the album flow together and have a certain unique aura of its own and that is where Toxicity as an album succeeds. The only downside of this album is that sometimes it gets a little too abrasive and monotonous, especially songs like “Bounce” in the middle part of the album.

One of the other outstanding feature of this album are the lyrics and mood of the album. The songs are about modern life and alienation and materialism and the sound of the guitars reflects the frustration that the band feels. This is most clearly articulated on the title track which is my pick for the best SOAD song ever.

“Conversion software version seven.0

Looking at life through the eyes of a tired hub

Eating seeds as a pastime activity

The toxicity of our city, of our city”

I’ll drink to that.

Recommended Cuts – Toxicity, Chop Suey, Aerials, Psicho, Fuck the System

Baba T

More SOAD reviews HERE.

METAL reviews HERE.


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