on 12 November 2001
Forget all the "Nu Metal" nonsense - tattoos, piercings,swearing,shouting and no talent!! This album is simply the finest metal album I've heard for years.From the opening "Prison Song", you know you are in for a real experience. "Deer Dance" and "Science" are two standout tracks- the musicianship and vocals are high class, whilst "Chop Suey" and "Ariels" will be regarded as classics for years to come. "Jet Pilot" and "Psycho" are controlled pandemonium (but brilliantly controlled!) and "Bounce" is fabulously OTT. The SOAD sound combines imaginative melodies (with East European feel in places), incredibly tight guitar/bass work , a world class drummer ,and one of the most original vocalists in rock. Sheer talent,belief, originality,attitude and (perhaps) genius has created a masterpiece....BUY IT - NOW!!!!!!!!!
on 24 October 2001
When I originally got this album I was very worried that I might not like it at all. I had only heard some of SOAD's songs from their first album, which were good and "Chop suey". The problem is it took me a while to get into "Chop suey". At first I didn't know whether to like or dislike it but now I just can't get enough of it.
So, I put the CD in and was instantly pulled away into the world of SOAD. This album is one of those albums which doesn't have one song that I skip or hate, every song is great. It is an amazing album, so original and so creative. The lyrics are brilliant, everything is brilliant about it. I've listened to it about a 100 times and I am not sick and tired of any one song. I couldn't believe that an album could be so great.
System have instantly become one of my favorite bands and the one thing I like about them is they don't need to swear or shock anyone to get you to buy the album. ...
This is by far album of the year, another great album is Incubus "Morning view".
Thank you for listening.
on 24 July 2004
I first borrowed this album upon hearing Chop Suey! from a friend and when I listened to the album I was astounded, I couldn't believe how good it was. IT takes a few listens to get fully into but trust me when you do, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED! Upon closer listening, you will find that every song is brilliant, there isn't one you can fault. The album never gets tiring throughout because every song is new, different and amazingly catchy! What is brilliant about Toxicity is that every song has a deep powerful meaning fused with intense and outstanding rock music. Trust me even if you are not a fan of System Of A Down or Rock music in general, get this album because I believe you will be very surprised! I will rate each song out of 10 for you because they are all excellent:
1. Prison Song - 9/10 - Such a brutal and startling open to this album, Prison Song is catchy (you'll be humming it everywhere) while its political theme plays strong in your mind..Excellent start
2. Needles - 9/10 - Needles highlights an important theme by way of excellent music and vocals, this too is very catchy and the vocals are powerful especially the slow bridge in the middle of the song
3. Deer Dance - 9/10 - Starts off heavy with excellent vocals and catchy chorus. The theme too is serious but portrayed wonderfully through music
4. Jet Pilot - 8/10 - This song, while not as powerful as the previous, is still excelent with great vocals and The Armenian roots of the group seeping through to give anusual but great sound.
5. X - 8/10 - This song precedes the outstanding Chop Suey! and may seem weak in comparison but is actually great, catchy, angry
6. Chop Suey! - 11/10 - I have given Chop Suey! 11/10 because it is without a dobt the best song on the track, from its toe tapping simple beginnig to the heavy rock and slow but powerful singing chorus this song is a 3.5 minute epic which plays like a mini opus going from slow to fast, quiet to loud and yet the theme is no less powerful! Absolutely brilliant!
7. Bounce - 7/10 - I have given Bounce 7/10 because it is the "fun, lighter" song on the album but it is very catchy and is still a great song
8. Forest - 10/10 - My joint second favourite song with Toxicity because its fantastic beat, its brilliant dark theme and astonishing vocals of Serj Tankian which range from heavy to light, quiet to screaming its an excellent song!
9. ATWA - 9/10 - I love this song as it is one of the slower songs on the album with beautiful, sad vocals and the music going from slow to heavy like emotions going from sad to angry. This song's theme is excellent of a tragic lovve song.
10. Science - 9/10 - Science and Shimmy are two of the most catchiest sing aloud songs on the album showing the ability of S.O.A.D to sing about any subject and make it sound brilliant. The Armenian sound makes this song stand out and sound exotic
11. Shimmy - 9/10 - See Science
12. Toxicity - 10/10 - The second best song on the album (joint with Forest) is a slower yet powerful song with a strong theme and excellent vocals
13. Psycho - 8/10 - A song with themes about groupies and junkies could have been very serious and controversial but S.O.A.D make the song catchy and it makes you want to sing out loud no matter where you are
14. Aerials - 9/10 - An epic and excellent end to a brilliant album with a stunning beat and vocals
Toxicity Should be in anybody's C.D. collection especially Rock collection and Chop Suey! should be with the Greatest Rock Songs of all time! Serj Tankian's vocals are astonishing ranging from loud to quiet, calm to screaming and the music supports his voice with brilliant beats the themes of these songs cause Toxicity to be one the Greatest Albums ever because these song make you want sing, dance and especially This Music Makes You Think! Buy This Powerful and Brilliant Album NOW!!!
I’ve had this album for ages and it was just lying on my shelf because the first time I listened to it was just too heavy for me, but after seeing System at the Leeds festival recently that all changed, I was blown away by their music. As soon as I got home I put the CD in and that’s where it’s been since slowly wearing a hole through it from constant play.
The album kicks into thrashing life with opener ‘prison song’ which grabs you by the scruff of your neck with manic pounding drums and whispered vocals of ‘they’re trying to build a prison’ Serj Tankian’s vocal range is impressive ranging from what sounds like howling wind to amazing melodic singing. Vocals are also provided by guitarist Daron Malakian, the combination of their vocals really comes into play on some of the songs such as ‘Chop Suey!’ in which one whispers the lyrics whilst the other does his rock style shouting, the result is an impressive vocal lead song.
The skills that the band (finished off by Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayon, bass and drums respectively) hold is astonishing, the musicianship and passion can be felt by the listener instantly as you realise that every single ounce of passion is being put into the song by each individual member, Tankians vocals are very personal expressing his and the bands political and social views, but some are views which many others will feel as well making it a much more accessible album on that level alone. Malakian’s guitar pieces are as equally impressive in their variety as Serj’s voice, his pieces range from very heavy rock riffs to beautifully sustained intricate picking sections that go on to heavy riffs and back again. Odadjian’s bass lines are mighty and underpin each track giving it that extra something and Dolmayon’s drumming skills are incredible there is not one track on the album that doesn’t have him pounding away on his kick drum and cymbals.
This is an amazing album full of varied sounds, opinions and styles and most importantly a welcome return of that much needed passion about music, a true heavy rock album worth becoming an addition to your collection.
on 19 October 2001
I must admit to being slightly apprehensive when ordering Toxicity but after a couple of stints in the stereo I was rewarded by the notion that the £11.99 I had spent on the album was not wasted. Quite the contrary, infact. This is one of the most surprising collection of tracks I have heard in a while and I have heard a lot of good music recently. I am not a huge fan of nu-metal and, while having heard of System of a Down, I had mistakenly tarred them with the same brush as a glut of other, considerably less deserving bands. To be frank, Toxicity is a masterpiece and I can see that I am not alone in my opinion.
I ordered the album on the strength of both the 5k review in Kerrang and the 4 stars given to it by Q magazine (which was probably more instrumental in my decision, seeing that for Q to give four stars to what is essentially a heavy metal outfit is very rare). In fact I have not heard a bad review of this album and that is usually proof of a great piece of work. It is, quite literally, stunning.
'Prison' kicks things off in excellent style, setting the tone for the rest of the album. It is a tour de force of chugging guitars, exploding drum skins and confident (and in tune) shouting and singing. 'Needles' follows and has a very basic, singalonga chorus but it grabs you and sweeps you along for the ride whether you like it or not. 'Deer Dance' follows. Excellent. 'Jet Pilot' is barely 2 minutes long but what a song. It's like the musical equivalent of a stampede or avalanche. One of my favourites. 'X' is good but not as memorable as all the others. 'Chop-Suey' is 3 minutes of genius that waits until you're not listening and then jumps up and assaults you. 'Bounce' is ok but has the feel of a novelty track. 'Forest' = stunning, epic. 'ATWA' is great, great, great. I'm going to shut up now but if you are wondering whether to buy Toxicity or not please look no further, read no other review. Buy it.
Best tracks (tough choice seeing as most of the tracks can be bunched into a 'best' category):
-Toxicity: Simply the best thing on an album full of great things.
-Aerials: The 'slow' one. Graceful, beautiful, powerful and genuinely moving.
-Jet Pilot: A severe pummelling in music form.
-Chop-Suey: The best example I can find anywhere of mixing hardcore with emo, dark with light, up with down, you get the picture.
-Forest: Epic, like 'Toxicity' or 'Aerials'.
-Science: Simple but effective
Do not hesitate. I hate buying albums by bands I haven't heard, most of the time they are awful. But even though this is not the sort of music I generally listen to (I'm more of a Jimmy Eat World/Foo Fighters type of person) it is most certainly in my top ten all time favourite albums.
P.S. And if you haven't listened to Jimmy Eat World's new album 'Bleed American' please buy that as well. It is a classic.
on 9 September 2001
This album is certainly one of the best albums of the year. It has been close to 3 years since System Of A Downs last album which makes this probably one of the most anticipated metal album this year since Tool's Lateralus. It has been worth the wait. Whilst its quite short coming in at 41mins in total its 14 tracks are carried at a breakneck speed with exhilirating energy and an amazing fusion of fantastic and unique instrumental combinations. Yes a nu-metal band thats hook isnt all bass guitar. On the other hand the bonus cd track (Arto) is nothing special. A 2minute long instrumental. The cd-rom contains a 8minute long quicktime movie. I couldnt get the sound synced correctly for some reason and yes I did try everything I can think of so think twice about splashing out the extra for the bonus import version. The CD is perfect as it is and doesnt need these extras at all.
on 23 November 2004
wow, this brings back memories. When this came out I was doing my paper round round about the time you could get them self heating coffee drinks. It's so weird, it must be at least 3-4 years ago and I can still remember what I was feeling at the time. Full volume just starting my round and timing the coffee to the songs. It got to around jet pilot or deer dance before i could drink. (no.3/4) and I'd just do my slave labour and get on with my day.
It's rare that an album has that kind of effect and it's not just the singles that'll keep you listening again and again.
Toxicity has the full quality that you can put the player on repeat all and not skip a song. It's got the right mix of tempo, strength, lyrics and character to not only keep you listening but possibly change the way you listen to music.
life sucked in high school and it was thanks to these and a select few others that I'm still here today. This album is special and fully deserves the 5 stars.
on 21 December 2001
One of the best bands on the planet are back with a vengeance! And unbelievably, their latest offering is as good as their self titled debut. Well, just about because that is sheer genius too!
Most of the tracks on Toxicity are quite short, but each one still manages to pass through several genres, tempo changes and in Serj's case about 8 octaves! Yes, that surreal voice is as good as ever. All the things that make SOAD stand head and shoulders above their peers are here for all to see - originality, honesty, total self belief.
You MUST have heard Chop Suey, unless you've been living under a rock for the last month or two! Don't expect another 13 tracks that are clones of that - this band has never made a song that you could confuse with any other track of theirs. Toxicity gets off to a storming start with first few tracks. No scratch the word storm - it's more like a full force tsunami - you don't get a breather till about track 7. That would be 'Bounce' and it is hilarious! Right at the end, Aerials is the longest track and the most sweet, dark and beautiful song you could ever wish to hear.
Oh hell, there's not a disappointing track on there! Buy it or you've only yourself to blame for missing out on the album of the year. I'd recommend ordering System Of A Down along with Toxicity if you haven't already got it, because once you hear one, you'll want the other!
on 29 September 2001
This album moved me in the same way as Rage and Nirvana, etc did years ago, and as At the Drive-In, Radiohead and Tool are doing at the moment. It is the sound of a genius band at work, all completely in tune with each other and contributing 100% to their collective soul. It's amazing to buy an album where the single (Chop Suey!) doesn't stand out like a sore thumb, cos really any of the tracks could be singles...it's one of those consistent masterpieces.
Clever, inventive, original, unpredicatable putting the fashionable 'nu-metal' bands to shame...you have to buy this album, it's the best thing I've heard for ages and God knows I waste a lot of money on cd's! BUY IT NOW MOTHERS!
on 31 January 2004
Armenian-American quartet System Of A Down - notorious for their strange beards and gold and silver face paint - have produced an album that is nothing short of genius. What other metal band would, for instance, incorporate an Armenian folk tune into their album, followed by a secret instrumental that sounds like tribal drumming? Their main strength lies in the powerful voice of frontman Serj Tankian, a man who can both sing and screech (and make funny noises with his throat) when required. He does a nice falsetto on Shimmy, too.
Although System Of A Down claim they're not a political band, politics runs all the way through this album. Topics covered include the Armenian genocide (X), the Seattle riots (Deer Dance), drug laws (Prison Song), pollution (Toxicity) and, erm, tapeworm (Needles). That's not to say they have no sense of humour - Bounce is hilarious (in a good way!), the aural equivalent of jumping up and down on a pogostick. Imagine the Bonzo Dog Band jamming with the Dead Kennedys.
The best track here is clearly the opener Prison Song; a thrash-metal track that denounces drug laws and seemingly pokes fun at their contemporaries (guitarist Daron Malakian whines "I buy my crack/I smack my bitch/Right here in Hollywood"), it blends statistics with a riproaring moshpit anthem. Not that the album deteriorates from here, of course. The singles are all pretty fine; I'll freely admit that Chop Suey! makes me cry when I hear it on a drunken night out. It's raucous, yet touching (it's about a friend of Daron who was murdered in a chop suey restaurant). As soon as Daron's acoustic starts up, you can tell it's going to be the start of something beautiful. And it is. Even when listening to it in your bedroom, it's hard not to jump up and down and scream along - especially in the final chorus with Serj and Daron's gorgeous harmonies: "Trust in my self-righteous suicide/I cry/When angels deserve to die". (How many metal bands do you see doing harmonies?) Meanwhile, Toxicity is a giddy waltz, at turns gentle and melancholy and wild and frenzied, with a time change bunged in the middle, possibly to encourage moshpit activity. Aerials could not be more of a contrast. It's gorgeous, with a string section that doesn't sound remotely schmaltzy, and apparently is based on an old Armenian folk song. The lyrics might seem a bit cheesey - "Life is a waterfall/We drink from the river and then turn around and put up our walls" - but you'll forgive them this when the song suddenly grows wings and takes off, before gently drifting back down to earth. With more harmonies.
As for the rest of the album: Needles, Deer Dance and Psycho are both crazed and played at breakneck speed. Daron gets to showcase his slightly whiney but likeable voice on Needles, and his guitar talents on the gorgeous solo at the end of Psycho (call it the calm after the storm if you will). Shimmy has some remarkable jazz drumming, while the Armenian influence rears its head in Science (Toxicity's equivalent of Suite-Pee). Its preceding track, Atwa is more gentle by contrast. System do quiet as well as they do loud; at last, a metal band who know the meaning of dynamic contrast!
Downsides? It's hard to find any. X is a little generic, although it's saved by John Dolmayan's off-kilter drumming. The only really poor track on here, Jet Pilot, consists of Serj repeatedly ranting imcomprehensible lyrics about horses; but hey, you can always use the skip button. This is a record that desparately needs to be heard. All in all, this is probably THE best metal album of the millennium as yet.