System Of A Down - System of A Down - Review
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critics' view

This debut by the L.A.-based quartet is a hybrid of explosive rap-metal, politically incendiary lyrics, and wide-ranging cultural influences. The members are of Armenian descent, but their diverse stylistic background transcends easy cultural labeling. Singer Serj Tankian's throaty roar competes with any mosh-pit rocker around, but his real trademark is his emotional wail and refreshingly melodic singing, especially on songs such as "Spiders" and the condemnatory "P.L.U.C.K." Guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan lock in tight on the capricious arrangements of "Know," "Ddevil," and "CUBErt." Their musical diversity runs wonderfully wild on "Sugar" and "Suggestions" with dizzying shifts of style and intensity. The tracks "Peephole" and "War?" reveal the band at perhaps its eclectic best, with vaguely Eastern European-sounding guitar riffs, passionate battle cries, and samples provided by legendary hip-hop producer Rick Rubin.

Mark McCleerey
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