Music Down low 

System of a Down
The must-have album for the summer of 2005 is not the typical, fun-loving, noise pollution that engulfs every single moment on the radio, MTV, and the jock-rock albums hitting your record stores. With its third studio album, Mesmerize, System of a Down ruptures through the layers of pop artifice and creates an album that, while poisoning the minds of our youth, may also have the ability to inspire creative thoughts.

System of a Down built a grassroots following in Southern California with a three-song demo that was being passed around before the band signed with Columbia Records and earned a spot on the 1998 Ozzfest Tour. Some say System of a Down came down a smooth path paved by a plethora of metal bands incorporating hip-hop into their music. But System of a Down has much more to offer than the archetypal, mindlessly angry nu-metal band. This group caters to those left wondering what happened to music that creates a full-blown experience and demands a reaction from listeners.

System of a Down
The Mars Volta

Fri, Aug 12

SBC Center
One SBC Center Parkway
On Mesmerize, writer/singer Serj Tankian displays the anti-political savvy of a Chuck D or Zach De La Rocha. Guitarist Daron Malakian lays out melodic droning guitar riffs that sucker punch you right into a dark chunky power-chord progression (think Kirk Hammett on Metallica's "One") that should make Malakian a household name amongst Metal Edge readers.

Ultimately, System of the Down has drained all of the pop elements out of heavy metal and taken the genre back to a time when its creative titans were angry at something and wanted an outlet to express themselves in their own way within a free society. And, of course, they needed very loud guitars to do it.

- Brandon Ysteboe



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