System of a Down (album)

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System of a Down
System of a down.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 30, 1998 (1998-06-30)
Studio
Genre
Length40:36
Label
Producer
System of a Down chronology
System of a Down
(1998)
Toxicity
(2001)
Singles from System of a Down
  1. "Sugar"
    Released: May 24, 1998
  2. "Spiders"
    Released: February 10, 1999
  3. "War"
    Released: 1999

System of a Down is the debut studio album by Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down, released on June 30, 1998, by American Recordings and Columbia Records.

The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in February 2000. After the success of the band's following album, Toxicity (2001), System of a Down was certified platinum.[4]

Composition[edit]

The album is generally considered nu metal and alternative metal, both of which would become staples for the band. Lyrical themes throughout the album vary, with many songs following a theme of being anti-war, but also has topics of genocide, religion, and brainwashing. "Suite-Pee" is a criticism of pedophilia within the Church and religious extremism.[5] "Soil" is, according to guitarist Daron Malakian at a Lowlands show, "about death, and friends that die, and life that dies". "Mind" talks about government mind control, specifically mentioning CIA brainwashing in the album's liner notes. "P.L.U.C.K." is a song dedicated to the victims of the Armenian genocide, and is meant to be a criticism and denouncing of the Turkish Government.

Artwork[edit]

The cover artwork is from a 1928 anti-fascist poster designed by visual artist John Heartfield for the Communist Party of Germany.[4] The text on the original poster is: "A hand has 5 fingers! With these 5 grab the enemy!"[6] This slogan inspired part of the text contained on the back of the album: "The hand has five fingers, capable and powerful, with the ability to destroy as well as create". Later, it is written in bold letters: "Open your eyes, open your mouths, close your hands and make a fist" (used later by Serj Tankian in the song "Uneducated Democracy").

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[3]
Drowned in Sound10/10[7]
Pitchfork7.5/10[8]
Q[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]
Sputnikmusic5/5[11]

System of a Down received acclaim from music critics.[12] Q called it "an excellent starting point for this most curious band".[9]

The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[13] Loudwire included the album in its list of The Best Metal Debut Albums, at number 22.[14]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

All lyrics written by Serj Tankian, except where noted. All music written by Daron Malakian, except where noted.

No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Suite-Pee"TankianMalakian2:31
2."Know"TankianShavo Odadjian, Malakian, Tankian2:56
3."Sugar"TankianOdadjian, Malakian2:33
4."Suggestions"TankianMalakian2:44
5."Spiders"TankianMalakian3:35
6."DDevil"TankianOdadjian, Malakian1:43
7."Soil"TankianMalakian3:25
8."War?"TankianMalakian2:40
9."Mind"TankianOdadjian, Malakian, Tankian6:16
10."Peephole"TankianMalakian4:06
11."CUBErt"Tankian, MalakianMalakian1:50
12."Darts"TankianMalakian2:42
13."P.L.U.C.K." (Politically Lying, Unholy, Cowardly Killers)TankianMalakian3:33
Total length:40:36
Japanese edition
No.TitleLength
14."Marmalade"3:02
15."Störagéd"1:19
Total length:44:57

Limited edition bonus CD[edit]

No.TitleMusicLength
1."Sugar" (Live)Odadjian, Malakian2:27
2."War?" (Live) 2:48
3."Suite-Pee" (Live) 2:58
4."Know" (Live)Odadjian, Malakian, Tankian3:04
Total length:13:17

An early version of "X" from Toxicity was originally recorded for this album.[15] The songs "Honey" and "Temper" from Demo Tape 2 were also recorded for this album but ultimately did not make the cut. The re-recorded versions of these songs have yet to surface anywhere.[16][17]

Personnel[edit]

System of a Down

Production

  • Produced by Rick Rubin with System of a Down
  • Mixed by D. Sardy
  • Engineered by Sylvia Massy
  • Engineer/assistant engineer: Greg Fidelman
  • Additional recording/finishing Touches: D. Sardy
  • Assistant engineers: Sam Storey, Nick Raskulinecz
  • Assistant mixdown engineers: James Saez, Greg Gordon, Andy Haller
  • Second assistant mixdown engineer: Bryan Davis
  • Extra piano by Rick Rubin
  • Photography: Anthony Artiaga
  • Cover art: John Heartfield
  • Art direction: Frank Harkins & System of a Down
  • A&R direction: Dino Paredes, Sam Wick
  • Management: Velvet Hammer Management, David Benveniste
  • Recorded at Sound City, Van Nuys, California
  • Vocals and additional recordings at Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research, Hollywood, California
  • Mixed at Record Plant Studios, Hollywood, California & Hollywood Sound, California
  • Mastered by Vlado Meller at Sony Studios, New York City

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Burgess, Aaron (September 9, 2014). "10 Nu-Metal Albums You Need to Own". Revolvermag. NewBay Media. Archived from the original on August 6, 2017. Retrieved July 21, 2015. Technically spotless, wildly eclectic, and out-outspokenly, er, Armenian, System of a Down's 1998 self-titled debut turned more nu-metal on its ear; and with this darker and more streamlined follow-up, the band proved that it was more than just a novelty–though spastic lead single "Chop Suey" is still one of the most awesomely bizarre songs to ever get repeated play on the radio.[dead link]
  2. ^ "The 50 best nu metal albums of all time". April 2022.
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "System of a Down – System of a Down". AllMusic. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "17 Years Ago: System of a Down Release Self-Titled Debut Album". Loudwire.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  5. ^ "System of a Down's Daron Malakian Dishes on Politics and Religion". Loudwire. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  6. ^ "John Heartfield Poster - Five Fingers Has The Hand". Johnheartfield.com. Archived from the original on August 15, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  7. ^ Nettleton, Chris (April 21, 2003). "Album Review: System Of A Down – System of A Down". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  8. ^ Ruggeri, Kevin. "System of a Down: System of a Down". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on October 3, 2000. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "System of a Down: System of a Down". Q. No. 182. October 2001. p. 152.
  10. ^ Harris, Keith (2004). "System of a Down". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 800. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ Hanson, John (August 19, 2006). "System of a Down – System of a Down". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  12. ^ "System of a Down: Armenian Metal Proprietors". Musiclegendtrend.com. March 12, 2013. Archived from the original on June 17, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  13. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (March 23, 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  14. ^ Hartmann, Graham. "No. 22: System of a Down, 'System of a Down' – Best Debut Metal Albums". Loudwire. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  15. ^ Moss, Corey (June 21, 2002). "SYSTEM OF A DOWN TO RELEASE TOXICITY OUTTAKES". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  16. ^ "r/systemofadown - Honey and Temper Re-Recorded versions on Limewire?". Reddit. August 5, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  17. ^ "ACE Repertory". www.ascap.com. Archived from the original on May 4, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  18. ^ "System Of A Down - System Of A Down". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  19. ^ "System Of A Down - System Of A Down" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  20. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: DJ S – The System Of Life". Zobbel. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  21. ^ "System of a down Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  22. ^ "System of a down Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  23. ^ a b "System of a down Chart History (Mainstream Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  24. ^ a b "System of a down Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  25. ^ "Top 200 Albums of 2002 (based on sales)". Jam!. Archived from the original on September 6, 2004. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  26. ^ "Canada's Top 200 Alternative albums of 2002". Jam!. Archived from the original on December 4, 2003. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  27. ^ "Top 100 Metal Albums of 2002". Jam!. Archived from the original on August 12, 2004. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  28. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil.
  29. ^ "Canadian album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down". Music Canada.
  30. ^ "Italian album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved July 22, 2019. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "System of a Down" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Album e Compilation" under "Sezione".
  31. ^ "British album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down". British Phonographic Industry.
  32. ^ "American album certifications – System of a Down – System of a Down". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]