Tune Talk: System of a Down

Willie Williams , Staff Writer

It’s good to be back to start off another school year still being the consistent guy to publish and update you on what is new in the rock world, and I’m happy to say that over this summer I’ve discovered a lot of new bands. This tune talk is about the band that I’m currently in love with.

Before I get into System of a Down’s hits, I’ll talk generally on their type of music. Some people classify System of a Down as a metal band, or a hard rock band, but lead singer Serj Tanakian and lead guitarist Daron Malakian have stated in an interview that they have created their music to make their own personal genre. Not only do these guys get credit for creating their own style of music, but they also get to enjoy the fact that just about everyone loves their music. I’d just like to point out that I didn’t hear about System of a Down until I was like 8 or 9 years old and I was playing Rockband 2 with my family. “Chop Suey!” was the only song they had on the game, but of course with how young I was, I didn’t care about them because I wasn’t into that type of music at the time. So let’s kick it off into whenever I first discovered their music and fully started to love them.

It was literally about a two or three months ago whenever I was still playing Rockband 2 and I heard the song once again and I realized that I loved the creativeness of the song. I loved the heavy parts and I loved the calmer parts. I thought it was very creative. I intended to look more into the band’s music but I never got around to it because I had work and I was always busy and whatnot, but one day at work, my friend went to this store in the mall, F.Y.E, which is my favorite CD store to go to, and he found the “Toxicity” album in the store for about 4 or 5 dollars and sent a pic of it to me while I was at work and I told him to wait there until I was done at work so I could buy. Now mind you, I only knew the one song System of a Down had on that Rockband 2 game, so I just randomly took a risk and bought the album blindly not knowing any of the other songs. I had faith that the album would be good because I’ve bought albums randomly only liking the one song and I ended up loving the entire album, with albums like Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave,” Avenged Sevenfold’s self-titled album, AFI’s “Sing the Sorrow,” and Soundgarden’s “Superunknown.” Anyways, I took it home and instantly installed it on my phone and my MP3 player and took a listen to the first song which was “Prison Song,” which I couldn’t help but laugh because the first few lines Serj had sung were “They’re trying to build a prison” in a whispering tone, and the after that it was just a long Serj growl followed but Serj’s fast toned singing and Daron’s high pitched voice with even more screaming between the two. Like I said, I laughed at first, but I later started to love the song and now it’s honestly one of my favorites.

Toxicity is still my favorite album by System of a Down, and I love every song off the album, including the wild songs like “Jet Pilot,” “Needles,” and “Psycho,” but I will definitely say that songs like “Atwa,” “Aerials,” and “Toxicity” are the ones that hit me right where I needed to be hit, and that’s in the right place of my heart I love whenever I’m listening to music. I went back to the store in the mall about a few weeks later looking for more System of a Down albums since I’ve been hooked on “Toxicity” and was listening to it almost every day, but this time I walked out with System of a Down’s first self-titled album, and “Mezmerize.” I first took a listen to their self-titled album first of course since it was their first album they released as a band and I love every song on there as well as Toxicity of course, this album had great songs such as “Sugar,” “Know,” “Soil,” and “Suite-Pee.” Of course I didn’t take that entire day to only listen to that one album, so of course I listened to the other album, “Mezmerize,” and I instantly loved “B.Y.O.B,” “Cigaro,” “Question!,” “Lost in Hollywood,” and the one that I’m still hooked on and I’m still in love with, “Radio/Video.”

Now onto the history of System of a Down, they formed back in late 90’s, and all four original members are still in the group, although the band went on hiatus in 2006 due to some creative differences with the band but came back to the stage in 2011. Since we’re on the topic of their “creative differences,” let’s get to talking about what actually happened. First off, let’s start with how there really WASN’T any creative differences between ALL of the band members, it was just Serj not wanting to do metal music anymore. There are some rumors going around saying that Serj never wanted to do metal music in the first place, but my thing is, why would you have gone through with it in the first place if you knew you didn’t want to do it? Anyways, basically, Serj broke up the group so he could have some “time off,” even though what that time off was really used for was for Serj’s own personal solo career. Which by the way I just want to point out was horrible except for his 2008 album, “Elect the Dead” that was on the Billboard Charts. Serj’s solo career only had 1/5 good albums. In fact his other albums TANKED his career in general. Anyways, Daron Malakian, the lead guitarist of System of a Down, put all of the blame on Serj. Of course Daron was very disappointed to do so, seeing as how Serj and Daron are close friends as well as the entire band. Daron called out Serj for not wanting to do metal music anymore and even threw Serj under the bus for not even wanting to make the “Hypnotize” and “Mezmerize” albums at all. Daron wasn’t the only one who thought it was all Serj’s fight either, Bassist of System of a Down, Shavo Odadjian, was also very upset with Serj’s behavior as well as his solo career decisions. Don’t worry though, the three worked it out so there wasn’t drama sticking around the three for very long. In fact, System of a Down even got into the studio and began to work on some new material for a potential new album just last year, but they came up short and Serj was granted permission to use them for his solo career. Serj stated that they couldn’t agree on what they wanted for this new album because Serj wanted to do some song writing instead of just letting Daron write and compose all of the songs himself. I hate to say it, because honestly it IS kind of stingy for Daron to just write all of the songs and not let anyone help him out, but then again, if Daron is the one to thank for all of the System of a Down albums we have right now, I say let him keep going and maybe here and then have the occasional Serj come in and help compose and write a few songs like they did for their late 2005 albums. That’s just my opinion.

If you’re into heavy music, or even some of that heavy music that gets soft eventually, I highly recommend System of a Down, these guys were recommended to me by an old friend who loves their music and now he’s got me hooked on them. If you’re not convinced, take a look at the bands that love these guys as well, these bands include: Metallica, MegaDeth, The Pretty Reckless, Tenacious D, and so many others. These guys are one the greatest rock bands of all time, and they will remain at that level for a good while as long as they keep going the route their going with attempting to make new music.