The first time I heard System of a Down, I was simultaneously shocked and elated. I was driving on Pacific Coast Highway, northbound through Southern California, blasting the radio and rocking out to the local hard rock station. I didn’t even know how to categorize the music streaming out of the unworthy speakers of my car stereo. I just knew that it made me feel almost orgasmic, yet full of rage. It gave me these crazy ideas full of life; pain and lust, together brewing in my anxious blood. How bizarre sounding were the melodic, Middle Eastern style tones mixed with heavy, tripped-out thrashing about. And the anger! Wow. I felt the anger through the radio waves. I could almost sense that these riotous vibes would reach out to the masses—the growing number of outcasts and misfits just bursting with young, unabashed ferocity. I knew they were going to make a fiery blast onto the new music scene.
Mezmerize, released on May 17th, 2005, debuted at Number One on the charts and is the first of a 2-disc set, the second album, “Hypnotize” to be released this fall. The album is an explosive start ‘n stop burst of anger, not unlike “Toxicity” from the previously released same-titled album. “B.Y.O.B.” takes flight with passion and unrest, forcing fans to look more closely into political America. The song “Revenga” is quite clear in stating the angst felt by bitterness and being jaded by the notion that we’re all human at the core.
“Cigaro” sounds like a sarcastic look at the ironic world of thrash metal. Much the same with “Radio/Video.” Tracks such as “Violent Pornography,” “Old School Hollywood,” and “Lost in Hollywood” conjure up violent emotions to the listener, who quite possibly is yet another angst-ridden outcast in today’s world of instant gratification and media slobs pouring out propaganda and thrusting it down the throats of greedy, hypocritical, larger-than-life personas.
Throughout the album, SOAD’s lyrics are intense and darkly imaginative. Some might say that it’s not original to scream “F--- you!” and “This country is a fascist regime…,” and maybe that it’s too simply stated, though I really think there is a definite jaded misfit cult following that is gaining momentum more quickly in the last few years.
System of a Down will kick off a North American summer tour that starts in Long Beach, CA on August 4th. They are currently engulfed in a European tour.