SYSTEM OF A DOWN: Toxicity: CD

I hate to say it, but I have to. This is my favorite CD at the moment. I usually don’t follow what the kids are listening to. I try to find something exciting that the mass media is not pushing down your throats. That is my general theory. But my complacency got the best of me. Sitting at home watching videos on MTV X with my wife passing time, I got a whiff of the new single. Blown away, my wife ran out and bought it. I confiscated said item and immediately put it in my car. I had three other brand new CDs to listen to, but they did not get a chance. I was hooked! What blasted through my carefully crafted sound system was a mixture of controlled mayhem and sheer beauty that engulfed all my emotions at once. The first thoughts that ran across my mind was an intricate mixture of Primus meets the power or early Metallica cum Slayer with the ideology and structure of the Beatles during their Sgt. Peppers period. The songs have a collision of tempos that mimic almost a circus setting that thrust forward into a hardcore punk mayhem, converts to a period of toned-down, painful serenity and powers on in a metallic vein. Some of the songs have the basics for four to six songs for the common band. Things break down in many ways that it are sometimes hard to analyze. The lyrics range from cryptic, to silly, to thought-provoking questions of modern society. The vocals are sung with sheer rage and then are sung with so much pain that the mind becomes confused. Added touches of grindcore belches accent many songs while the guitarist accents his vocals. I’ve read elsewhere that there are elements of Armenian folk music infused here. I would agree there is a native element that is preeminent in the music at points, but I am naive to verify it. I do love when a band adds different parts from different genres of music to change the generic. No band at the moment that is labeled “metal” has moved me like this in awhile. From start to finish, this is one of the best releases that have passed into my possession in sometime.

 –don (American)