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4.5 4
by System of a Down

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While their self-titled 1998 debut gave some hints that this Angeleno aggregation was willing to mix in a few curveballs with the hard stuff they threw at audiences, this long-awaited follow-up takes their eclectic and electrifying blend to a whole new level. Over the course of 15 tracks, the quartet wax fiercely political (on the ominous


While their self-titled 1998 debut gave some hints that this Angeleno aggregation was willing to mix in a few curveballs with the hard stuff they threw at audiences, this long-awaited follow-up takes their eclectic and electrifying blend to a whole new level. Over the course of 15 tracks, the quartet wax fiercely political (on the ominous "Prison Song"), starkly personal (on the shuddering sex-and-drugs diatribe "Psycho"), and downright madcap (on the utterly out-there "Chop Suey!"). As on the last outing, Serj Tankian's vocals are a love-'em-or-hate-'em proposition, but in terms of sheer intensity and message delivery, he's hard to top. The band dig a little deeper into their shared Armenian heritage here -- "Science," for instance, incorporates some subtle Near Eastern riffs -- and deeper still into the prog rock that clearly inspired many a spasmodic listening session for the members way back when (as evidenced by the thick-as-a-brick textures of "Ariels"). There's plenty of mosh pit fodder as well, but like their kindred spirits in Tool, System of a Down prove you need not park your brain in order to flex some brawn.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Eduardo Rivadavia
System of a Down's 1998 debut was initially overlooked by the mainstream hard rock audience, as well as the specialized press. But heavy metal cognoscenti in both camps quickly realized that in their hands was a potentially crucial stepping stone for the future development of heavy metal. Sure enough, so challenging and groundbreaking were its contents that the album soared over most everyone's unsuspecting heads, its eventual gold sales status only achieved via Columbia Records' massive promotional muscle and nearly three years of intensive touring on the band's part. Consequently, early believers were pleasantly surprised when 2001's long awaited follow-up, Toxicity met with instant popular acceptance, skyrocketing up the charts toward multi-platinum success. Yet, for the most part, it also managed to retained SOAD's unorthodox signature sound: so-called "nu-metal" uniquely infused with remarkable originality, including angular riffs, jagged rhythms, and oblique lyrics splattered all over the place. Like its predecessor, Toxicity seems utterly chaotic upon first listen, but things quickly begin falling into place, thanks to a number of small refinements, not least of which is a more generous melody, obviously pre-meditated, but rarely overdone. In turn, this immediacy greatly improved the album's chances at radio -- case in point, first single "Chop Suey!," a track so potent not even September 11, nor mainstream radio's ensuing self-imposed, politically correct attempt at self-censorship, could tear from the airwaves (despite its none-too-discreet lyrics about suicide), the song's surprising success was reminiscent of another left-field hit from a decade earlier, Faith No More's "Epic" (hear its piano-led outro for proof). And sure enough, from the unexpected false starts of "Prison Song" to the relatively mellow conclusion, the band's heightened commercial sensibility continues to joust with their inherently quirky songwriting. The excellent title track, "Forest," and "Science" are among the most accessible standouts from an incredibly diverse set, the likes of which SOAD's inferior nu-metal peers could only hope to emulate. Lyrically, it's simply no contest. Whether tackling typical rock subject matter like drug abuse ("Needles") and groupies ("Psycho"), or embarking on inscrutable Dadaist gems like "Jet Pilot" and "Shimmy," co-songwriters Daron Malakian and Serj Tankain sound like are the bastard children of Frank Zappa and Slayer. And while sub-Rage Against the Machine political invective (unfairly attributed to their Armenian heritage) remains an integral part of the band's creative makeup (e.g. "Deer Dance," "Atwa"), Toxicity's approach is much more cautious in this regard than that of their incendiary debut. In conclusion, when a band takes this many left turns, you'd expect them to start going in circles sooner rather than later, but this is not the case with System of a Down. Hands down one of 2001's top metal releases, Toxicity may well prove to be a lasting heavy metal classic to boot.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

System of a Down   Primary Artist
Rick Rubin   Piano
Arto Tuncboyaciyan   Vocals
Marc Mann   Conductor
Daron Malakian   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Shavo Odadjian   Bass,Group Member
Serj Tankian   Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
John Dolmayan   Drums,Group Member

Technical Credits

Darren Mora   Engineer
Rick Rubin   Producer
David Schiffman   Engineer
Arto Tuncboyaciyan   Composer
Marc Mann   String Arrangements,String Conductor
System of a Down   Concept,Art Conception
Daron Malakian   Composer,Producer
Shavo Odadjian   Composer,Artwork,Art Direction,Concept,Label Design,Art Conception
Serj Tankian   Composer,Producer,String Arrangements
Greg Collins   Engineer
Brandy Flower   Artwork,Art Direction,Collage
John Dolmayan   Artwork,Collage
Mark Wakefield   Cover Art

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Toxicity 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes, this album, along with their debut album, are what define SOAD's real style. They are definitely one of the craziest metal bands of this era. The music is frantic AND the lyrics have meaning. Serj's vocals are amazing. This is one of the best albums I own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite all time album! John Dolmayan is an outstandingly awesome drummer, and Serj Tankian is a very innovative vocalist. the best tracks are "Deer Dance", Chop Suey!", "Forest", the tile track, and "Aerials." this album is so awesome, my dad sayed he hated a SOAD, but now he is hooked on "Chop Suey!" and "Aerials". My seven year old brother b begs me to play "Chop Suey!" all the time. Daron Malakian has some very catchy guitar riffs, and Shavo Odadjian is very quick on the bass. this is a brilliant album from a brilliant group.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that S.O.A.D is one of the best bands out there right now. They have there own out take on politics and other world related subjects. This CD is by far the best CD i've heard in a long time. Keep up the good work!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoy most of the songs on this album and many from the last. This album is a little different but very good. The songs get in your head and you find yourself singing them to total strangers. If you haven't bought the album I strongly suggest you do so, or are you one of the people who only listen to country?
Guest More than 1 year ago
These cd's are the best, you should lisen to one of them because it is just great.When they sing they do talk fast but you will catch up by the lyrics.
Guest More than 1 year ago
System Of A Down is one of the first bands I've ever noted that screams- well. They were the group that really first got me into metal, or rather, metal with a twist. They have something intelligent to say, which comes as a surprize. It's not teen angst and it's not mindless cult screaming. It's System Of A Down. And that's what makes it great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have only been listening to soad for about a week now and i have fallen in love with their music, its really neat to hear a heavy band with such a distinctive sound about them, toxicity is an amazing cd
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The complete changes in tempo, from mind numbing hardcore to mythodic melodies, all while maintaining perfect timing, tuning, and tone. Makes SOAD the most original and probably best band to come around in awhile. Some music fans might relate them to a harder version of Yes,(they too used many tempo changes to punctuate their music style). What happened to the make-up?
Guest More than 1 year ago
System of A Down has an extremely contagious beat to most of their songs. It has a good variety of metal and hard rock. For those of you that are into some heavier rock songs, I suggest the 'Bounce' song. It is EXCELLENT!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great Cd but there are better songs on this Cd other Than Chop Suey. If you are looking for a reason to buy this Cd, listen to there song ''Atwa''. An amazing song and definately the reason why I got this Cd.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even though there are many Alternative, Rock, and Heavy Metal groups out there System of a Down takes the cake and beats all of those groups out of the running with this album. System of a Down is one of the last original groups left in the industry which they have shown in thew lyrics and songs in this album. Most of the groups that are in the industry use a buch of high tech sound equipment while System of a Down uses their vocal skills and a few sound devices in there songs as heard in many of the songs that are heard in this album. In their songs, System of a Down talks about real topics and real life events that we can see happening around us and how they are dealing and have dealt with these problems. I feel that since the release of their debut album in 1998 System of a Down has come a long way and overcome many obstacles and is just about at the top. I feel that with this album they have set a new standard for all of the Alternative, Rock, and Heavy Metal groups of now and the groups still to come. System of a Down has been here and will be around for a while longer and in that time they will produce a number of other album and they will only get better with time. For all of these reasons System of a Down has earned this rating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I only heard a few songs and I think that they are one of the best bands out there
Guest More than 1 year ago
this cd is good. thats all i have to say.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seystem of a Down prove themselves once again in there sophmore effort, Toxicity. The First song on the CD ( Prison Song ), is an agressive bombardment of politics and drugs that leave you wanting some more. The next four songs follow up the agressive tone that the first song delivered. Most lyrics talk of political indignities and hardships. Song number four (Jet Pilot)takes a different lyrical influence with an incomprehensiblemesh of words that do not make sense but are backed by one of the hardest rythms on the CD. Song number six ( chop suey ),turns the whole vibe of the album around with a melodic breakdown that would bring any composer to their knees. Serj Tankian(lead vocalist)displays his vocal range and talent on this track, while Daron Malankins( Guitarist)back up vocals add depth and dimesion through out the song and in other tracks on the CD. Track nine( ATWA)is a song describing life from Charles Mansons point of view. The vocals on this song are another good example of the two's ability to harmonise and make a song more powerfull. What distiguishes this album from most on the market today is the diversity and musicianship put forth on this CD. System of a Down goes through a series of time changes and key changes within the first minute of listening. Musical transitions are well defined and the initial chord progressions are rooted in a very classical structure.The songs on this CD have substance and a message behind them, unlike certain bands that share the realm of the rock world with them. After System of a Downs first release in 1998, there uniqe sound peaked my intrest. They had a handfull of songs that showed a uniquness. On thier new album though, each song has its own life and origin. Toxictiy has ten times the intensity and feeling of the first. Sytem of a Down is a truly uniqe band and I can only expect greater tings in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
SOAD is the band with the highest potential in rock music today. Their lyrics, politically poignant direction and aggressive style is what made 1998 debut so ground-breaking. Being influenced by their Armenian heritage, this LA-based quartet's musical style is so diverse that it cannot be described with one word. They play hardcore and aggressive, all of a sudden diving into slow and quiet tunes, changing the rhythm several times in a minute. Toxicity will be a bomb!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album rocks. I bought on a whim after being disappointed by the new Slipknot CD and I absolutely love it. I wasn't a big System of a Down fan before but I am now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's no way anybody can say otherwise. They have their own sound, which is important, since a lot of rock music tends to sound like the same stuff over and over (especially the new stuff). This is one CD no one could get tired of.
Guest More than 1 year ago
ive liked system since i heard spiders athough something is really buggin me why in the hell r all these mini-moshers pickin up all the good underground bands and makin them so comercial pissed - Korpse (c).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I totally love Chop Suey, Serj Tankian has an incomprable voice that completely fits the band and their music. I absolutely love SOAD, and I hope to buy this album on the day it comes out!
Guest More than 1 year ago