System Of A Down
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

System of a Down , 6.5/10
Toxicity , 7/10
Steal This Album , 5/10
Mezmerize (2005), 7/10
Hypnotize (2005), 6/10

System Of A Down, a Los Angeles-based "nu-metal" band, was formed by three Armenian-Americans (Serj Tankian on vocals, Daron Malakian on guitar, Shavo Odadjian on bass). System Of A Down (American, 1998) introduced a violent approach to social commentary, reminiscent of the hysteria of the old punk-rock school but enhanced with metal riffs and assorted sonic detours. War? and Suite-Pee bear the stigmata of the Dead Kennedys, plus panzer riffs and demented screams. The best of the political rants, P.L.U.C.K., is a volcano that erupts sweet refrains, death groans, psychotic riffs and even ska beats. However, the band's originality is best displayed in the songs that straddle the border between genres, both in the ethnic realm, notably the syncopated middle-eastern metal fusion of Know, but also the foreign musical accents of Soil, in the pop realm, such as the bombastic power-ballad Spiders, and in the grotesque realm, with Sugar, and Suggestions, two music-hall skits gone terribly awry, and the emphatic and sarcastic Peephole, that simply takes those two sick ditties to an even more evil dimension. The six-minute Mind is the vocalist's tour de force, running the gamut from whisper to roar and dragging the music into an emotional black hole.

Toxicity (Sony, 2001) is another batch of visceral, vibrant anthems (Chop Suey, Aerials, Bounce) with occasional bursts of melodic fits (Atwa, Toxicity) and even ethnic elements (Jet Pilot). The overall effect is disorienting, like being hit by a thousand monsters in a dark room.
Tracks: Prison Song, Needles, Jet Pilot, X, Bounce, Forest, Atwa, Science, Shimmy, Toxicity, Psycho, Aerials.

Steal This Album (American, 2002) collects unreleased tracks that have been circulating on the Internet. The songs that rely on agit-prop rage get tedious very quickly: there is a reason if they were left over from the previous album. Among the others, the most interesting are the ones that display a sensitive soul (and it's a first): Ego Brain, "Roulette" and "Streamline", Nuguns.

Mezmerize (Columbia, 2005), the first half of a diptych, is both an extremely complex and an extremely violent experience. Basically, it is progressive-rock played by a hardcore punk band in a way to resemble the frenzy of a million post-industrial monsters. Ultimately, it is a rare example of brainy fury. B.Y.O.B. (for "bring your own bombs"), an angry slam-dancing anthem (alternating with a poppy rigmarole) worthy of classic Dead Kennedys, and Cigaro, a close second, as well as Sad Statue, evoke the spirit of the late 1970s; but the acceleration and deceleration of Revenga and the post-Guns N' Roses power-ballad Lost In Hollywood and the folkish breaks of Question show artful presentation behind the sonic attack. The sardonic musichall-in-hell skits of Radio Video and This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song, the brilliant disco spoof of Old School Hollywood and the emphatic satire with disco backbeat of Violent Pornography, prove a perverted sense of how to destabilize the world of heavy-metal.

The second installment, Hypnotize (2005), is inferior, and can't help sounding like a bunch of leftovers, although even leftovers are worth listening to when they are leftovers from good albums (see Attack and Lonely Day).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Marco Trevisan)

System Of A Down e' una band "nu-metal" di Los Angeles composta da tre Armeni-Americani (Serj Tankian alla voce, Daron Malakian alla chitarra, Shavo Odadjian al basso).

I rantoli politici di P.L.U.C.K. (enfatizzati da un tempo da musica disco) e di War? sono gli aspetti piu' rilevanti di System Of A Down (American, 1998).
Tracce: Suite-Pee, Know, Sugar, Suggestions, Spiders, Ddevil, Soil, Mind, Peephole, CUBErt,

Toxicity (Sony, 2001) e' un altro lotto di vibranti inni viscerali (Chop Suey, Aerials, Bounce) con sprazzi occasionali di melodia (Atwa, Toxicity) e persino elementi etnici (Jet Pilot). L'effetto complessivo e' disorientante, tanto quanto essere colpiti da un migliaio di mostri in una stanza buia.
Tracce: Prison Song, Needles, Jet Pilot, X, Bounce, Forest, Atwa, Science, Shimmy, Toxicity, Psycho, Aerials.

Steal This Album (American, 2002) raccoglie tracce precedentemente non rilasciate ma finite in circolazione su Internet. Le canzoni che si basano su furia politica diventano presto noiose: c'e' un motivo per cui non furono incluse nel precedente album. Tra le altre, le piu' interessanti sono quelle che mostrano un'animo sensibile: Ego Brain, Roulette and Streamline, Nuguns.

Mezmerize (Columbia, 2005) e' un'esperienza contemporaneamente estremamente complessa e violenta. Sostanzialmente si tratta di progressive-rock eseguito da un gruppo hardcore punk in un modo che assomiglia alla frenesia di un milione di mostri post-industriali. Si tratta di un raro esempio di furia cervellotica.
B.Y.O.B. (sta per "bring your own bombs" cioe' "porta le tue bombe"), un inno pieno d'ira degno dei classici Dead Kennedys, e Cigaro, un secondo vicino, evocano lo spirito dei tardi anni 70; ma l'accelerazione e la decelerazione di Revenga mostra l'abile realizzazione dietro all'attacco sonoro. Una power-ballad post-Guns'n'Roses come Lost In Hollywood o la sardonica imitazione This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song per la serie "audiorio nell'inferno", provano una sensibilita' perversa nel modo di destabilizzare il mondo dell'heavy metal.

Daron Malakian's side project Scars on Broadway released Scars on Broadway (2008) and, a decade later, Dictator (2018). (Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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