#TBT: ‘TOXICITY’ – SYSTEM OF A DOWN

It’s not every week that someone writes a throwback article. Oh wait, yeah it is! It’s Thursday and it’s time to drown out the mediocrity of the charts and cast our mind back to a better time where people shopped at Virgin Megastores and Michael Jackson was rife.

If you like bearded men shouting in your ear about random shit for forty-four minutes then do I have a throwback Thursday treat for you, get ready to go mental and start a pit it’s Toxicity by System Of A Down.

The Armenian-American band shout their way into our alternative hearts with their politically fuelled opening track ‘Prison Song’ where the band detail plans in which the evil government is trying to create a new prison system… FOR YOU AND ME TO LIVE IN. This sets the mood for the album, which then crashes into their next delivery of tinnitus ‘Needles’.

The singles for this decibel delivery of destruction were, of course, the title track ‘Toxicity’ the ever popular if not slightly overplayed ‘Chop Suey!’ and ‘Aerials’ which offers yet more of Tankian’s vocal metallic pestilence.

ATWA is my personal favourite track of the album, offering both soft and melodic vocals with the brutal chorus offerings System are widely hailed as metal gods for.

It’s reception as an album was that it shot to number one in several regions including America and Canada, climbing to 13 in the UK charts, I can only guess the comparably poor chart position in the UK was due to Britney Spears’ offering at the time of ‘I’m A Slave 4 U’ which must have distracted the British population entirely from ‘Toxicity’.

My overall feeling about this album is it was an absolutely safe bet for a Throwback Thursday entry, widely accepted as System’s best work, propelling the band to new levels of success and mainstream acceptance, not accepted in my old place of work however for music that is ‘appropriate for the work environment’… apparently a man screaming about pulling tapeworms out of his ass (Needles if you are not savvy with System’s repertoire of charming lyrics) is not necessarily appropriate for a retail atmosphere. If you are yet to listen to this classic album, stop listening to Royal by whoever the fuck or the latest thing Bieber squeezed out of his rectum, this album will change your life, and how you view the volume control on your iPod as necessary.

Liam Cartwright

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