0000329891I remember when System Of A Down first came out with their self titled album in 1998, they were a band that just stormed the scene out of nowhere with their whacked out in your face alt metal assault. They were the right kind of band to come out when they did because soon enough Rage Against The Machine would be no more and we needed a new band to take over the activist mantra and they did just that with their second album Toxicity.  The album which once again featured Serj Tankian (Vocals/Keyboard/Strings), Daron Malakian (Guitars/Sitar/Vocals), Shavo Odadjian (Bass), and John Dolmayan (Drums) released the album September 4, 2001 and it was produced by Rick Rubin as well as Serj and Daron. The album was a huge success upon it’s release as it peaked at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Charts in the US and in Canada as it sold 220,000 copies in it’s first week. The album was certified triple platinum a year later as well as finishing at 101 on the Billboard Year End charts in 2001 and then it finished 28TH in 2002. Another achievement from the album is that every single released charted on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as having a single finish number one on both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Modern Rock Tracks charts. Loudwire ranked the album 13 on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list.

System of a Down - Toxicity back1. Prison Song– an in your face track kicks off the album in this track that was said to be written about how our prisons are overflowing with Americans and so we keep building more prisons. 4/5

2. Needles– an interesting track where one may feel that they are talking about drugs and how can I blame you with a title like that. But I saw someone explain that the song is about euthanasia and the idea of how tough it is to grow old especially when the body begins to fall apart. 4.5/5

3. Deer Dance-a relentless track that is all about the protests that happened during the 2000 Democratic National Convention. 4/5

4. Jet Pilot-SOAD does not take their foot off the pedal going into this track which I ultimately think is a metaphor for the environment 4/5

5. X– a track that is all about how oppressive a government can be especially when it starts telling the people what they can and can’t do. 4.5/5

6. Chop Seuy!– This was the first single off the record and controversy followed it due to the fact that it was released during the week of 9/11. Daron explains the meaning to the lyrics saying, “The song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Everyone deserves to die. Like, if I were now to die from drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, ‘I cry when angels deserve to die’. The lyric passages ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ and ‘why have you forsaken me?’ are a reference to Jesus’ death on the cross, as, according to the Gospels, it was one of the seven things Jesus said while dying.” 5/5

7. Bounce-an in your face track that surprisingly is about group sex. I love how it goes crazy during the chorus and calm during the verses. 5/5

toxicity-589cd99826a8a8. Forest-a great track that I think is about how the original concept of religion has been ruined by the people who take something that should be about peace and love, but have created war over it. 5/5

9. ATWA-One of my favorite tracks on the album that starts calm with the clean channel playing before they kick it in overdrive for the choruses. The song is based off of Charles Manson’s views on the environment. 5/5

10. Science– an interesting view on the world of science and the age old topic of science vs religion. It tackles the idea of how science without a moral/faith based view and  understanding could destroy the earth, but also could lead us to the promise land. 5/5

11. Shimmy-an interesting track that looks at the idea of how school instills what the majority believes is the right thing for you to believe in like education, marriage, etc. 4.5/5

12. Toxicity– Another one of my favorite tracks on the album. According to wikipedia, the track is played, ” predominately in triple meter, alternating between 6/4, 12/8 and 4/4 time. The guitar during the verse plays in 6/4 using a 2+2+2 phrasing while the heavy part (“somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep”) makes use of a hemiola with the guitar switching to a 3+3+3+3 pattern while the drums remain in compound duple meter until the bridge.” According to John the song is about, “your poisonous content. Your toxicity level. But toxicity doesn’t necessarily mean the toxicity of a person, it can be the toxicity of a city. Or the toxicity of a nation. The toxicity of a speech. It’s just toxicity in general or whatever.” 5/5

13. Psycho– A great track to hear and sing along with live in this track that is all about drugs and groupies. 5/5

14. Aerials– The best song on the whole entire album with it’s clean channel guitar intro and incredible guitar riff during the chorus that is intoxicating to listen to. The track is about how ignorant we can be as a society when we close our minds to those who are different or have different opinions. An incredible track that still translates well today. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– Besides the Mezmerize/Hypnotize albums, this might be the best piece of work that System Of A Down ever put out as almost every track is brilliant. I have always favorite the mid to late tracks on this album more than I did the opening tracks hence the grades. Check out the album and I am giving the record 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

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