System Of A Down: Serj Tankian (vocals, keyboards, samples); Daron Malakian (guitar, background vocals); Shavo Odadjian (bass); John Dolmayan (drums).
Additional personnel: Rick Rubin (piano).
Principally recorded at Sound City, Van Nuys, California.
Personnel: Serj Tankian (vocals, keyboards, sampler); Daron Malakian (guitar, background vocals); Rick Rubin (piano); John Dolmayan (drums).
Audio Mixer: Dave Sardy.
Recording information: Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research,; Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, CA.
Photographer: Anthony Artiaga.
System of a Down sees itself as being an integral part of a new musical revolution of heavy music. On the surface, the band's manifesto seems tangential to Rage Against the Machine's; but musically SOAD is a groove-metal machine, with a sound that incorporates a punk ethic, Panteraesque riffs, and a schizophrenic vocal approach reminiscent of Mike Patton.
Like a dose of chicken soup for a disconnected moshing youth, SYSTEM OF A DOWN is unrelenting. "Sugar" segues from neo-jazz verses into pounding thrash-core choruses. "Spiders" shows more depth, dynamics, and even poetic, melodic vocals. The production of the album is raw and very close to that of a live album, surely a deliberate stroke by producer Rick Rubin (who has put many metal bands on the map under his guidance). On "Soil," vocalist Serj Tankian questions the ideology of democracy. With possibly more conspiracy theories than an episode of THE X-FILES, System of a Down explores the concept of mass influence through technology in "War?" The essence of SYSTEM OF A DOWN can be found in "P.L.U.C.K"; the song's title says it all, an acronym for "politically lying, unholy, cowardly killers."
Q (10/01, p.152) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...This remains an excellent starting point for this most curious and underrated of bands..."
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