System Of A Down: Serj Tankian (vocals, keyboards): Daron Malakian (guitar, background vocals); Shavo Odadjian (bass); John Dolmayan (drums).
Additional personnel: Rick Rubin (piano); Arto Tuncboyaciyan (background vocals).
Producers: David Schiffman, Greg Collins, Darren Morr.
Engineers: Rick Rubin, Daron Malakian, Serj Tankian.
Recorded at Cello Studios, Hollywood, California.
"Chop Suey!" was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.
"Aerials" was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Australian limited edition comes with a bonus VCD that includes concert footage of "Prison Song," "Chop Suey," and "Bounce," as well as videos for "War," "Sugar," and "Spiders," and a "Making Of Toxicity."
While System of a down are often cast with the nu-metal crowd, their sound is closer to '80s thrash (and even hardcore punk) than to any of the rap-metal hordes. Grinding guitars and death-knell drums may be the order of the day, but they work in service of a highly developed socio-political consciousness. In fact, when he's not lacerating his vocal cords, singer Tankian delivers his rebellious lyrics in a tone reminiscent of infamous Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra. Make no mistake, the thrash quotient on TOXICITY is high enough to satiate even the hungriest headbanger, but System of a Down understands the power of dynamics, often moving from a whisper to a scream over the course of the album (though they obviously spend far more time on the scream end of the spectrum). Additionally, they deliver their eye-gouging riffs with an unerring precision that never devolves into an indistinct blur. This hard-hitting quartet knows how to deliver the hard-rock goods with grace.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (9/27/01, p.70) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Both manic and schizoid, Tankian veers easily from sing-rap rhythm to Korn-ish hysterics to demonic baritone growl to doomily ruminative....the music insists on forward motion without trapping itself in a thrashy lock-step rut..."
Spin (1/02, p.76) - Ranked #1 in Spin's "Albums of the Year 2001".
Spin (p.89) - "System have an undeniable nerd-prog charm..."
Entertainment Weekly (9/7/01, pp.161-2) - "...Strange and engaging....It all adds up to bizarro type of meta; that has a warped majesty and strength..." - Rating: B-
Q (9/01, p.121) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Matches Slipknot for manic intensity while employing a freeform approach to songcraft which invites comparison to the lunatic-fringe rock of the '60s..."
Alternative Press (2/02, p.64) - Ranked #9 in AP's "25 Best Albums of 2001".
Alternative Press (10/01, p.102) - 9 out of 10 - "...This is not pop music - this is psychic wreckage."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.54) - Ranked #93 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "[T]he world's most darkly hilarious noise band had come of age."