16 August 2013

System Of A Down - Toxcity

Some albums are events when they come out - you’re not expecting much from them and all of a sudden, BAM - you have an album that you love and never want to part with.  For a time it was this album that I am reviewing here.  A brief history of the band as this is the first of their works which has been reviewed on here.  Form in 1992 as Soil (not to be confused with the other band Soil) the band is most of Armenian American origin and they released their first self titled album which released in 1998 and produced by Rick Rubin; they got good reviews but nothing that struck the world on fire.  However when they started on 'Toxicity' in 2001 things took a turn for the better.  Still produced by Rick Rubin this album came out to great applause and in America it entered the Billboard 200 at number 1 and made peaked at number 13 in the UK.  At the end of the cycle with the album, they released another album, hide for a few years, released two albums in a year, went on hiatus and are now just a band who tours on former glories.  But that is the future of the band as far as this album is concerned. 

When this came out it was genuinely a moment of excitement for me, the younger me listened to many times over, I really don't have to listen to the songs again to know what they sound like; but doing so makes everything focus a bit.  So how has it improved in the 12 years since it was released? Well recently I have been shooting holes in albums which have been produced by Rick Rubin (especially his newer works) - but this was from a period when Rubin was still king behind the mixing desk and it shows with this album.  Produced with Serj Tankan and Daron Malakin of the band, the sound is one of focus, passion and drive.  At the time this came out, there was no other metal band on the planet that could touch them in the live (with the exception of Tool in my opinion).

To discuss what I think of the tracks would be to discuss every little note, every drum beat, every vocal sigh - I still love this album and it makes me smile and want to jump around my front room like a Mexican jumping bean.  However, there are two songs which still make this album just under perfect.  Firstly "Chop Suey!" has the taint of over familiarity - it was everywhere for a while (and I bet is still being played out now) and it is like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana; you just don't need to hear about it again.  Secondly, the secret track at the end called "Arto" just sort of sits there like a sore thumb.  It is doing nothing and is just there to fill space and it could have been used as a bridge to something else.  However, these are just small point; from "Prison Song" to "Aerials" it is a fantastic album.  If you have not heard this, do yourself a favour and buy it now.  If you have heard it, listen to it again.  If you don't like it, you’re wrong.  This is a stone cold classic and one of the best albums I have ever owned.

10 out of ten - this is proof that it is a God

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the System Of A Down website here (which give the activity of all the band's solo work as well)

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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