Oct. 16, 2003

System of a Down Dares Fans to ‘Steal This Album!’

By Randy J. Klodz

Sure it has been nearly a year since the November 2002 release of System of a Down’s “Steal this Album!,” but the 16-track compilation of previously unreleased tracks from the hard-rock heavyweights is the latest material System fans can sink their teeth into.

System of a Down—which includes Serj Tankian on vocals, Daron Malakian on guitars, Shavo Odadjian on bass and John Dolmayan on drums—first made waves with its 1998 self-titled debut and debut second-stage stint on The OZZfest tour. With the exposure of The OZZfest second-stage performances and success of the singles “Sugar” and “Spiders,” System of a Down quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the hard rock community.

System later released “Toxicity” in 2001, an album that many critics deemed one of the best albums of that year—a feat not many politically driven hard-rock acts could earn. With the vast success of the singles “Chop Suey!,” “Aerials” and “Toxicity,” the band earned a coveted spot atop 2002’s The OZZfest tour. No second stage this time, though. The band took the highest spot on the tour, appearing with a full set right before the Price of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne played his set.

The band toured relentlessly behind the success of “Toxicity” and have since, according to reports, begun work on a new album that they are reportedly attempting to complete by the end of 2004. In the meantime, fans have “Steal This Album!,” a great set of songs that may not be new to the band, but were new to fans upon the release of the album.

The band released a controversial music video for the war-inspired “Boom!,” a two-minute rant with the chorus “Every time you drop the bomb / You kill the God your child has born.” “Mr. Jack” starts with Malakian’s slow one-minute guitar strum, then turns heavy with Tankian’s vocals altering typically from near whisper to barking growl. “Roulette” takes things down a notch with a subdued acoustic number that fits right in with System’s clever melding of heavy hits and lighter numbers.

“Streamline,” the final track on “Steal This Album!,” may be the only track familiar to fans, in that it was System of a Down’s lone track on the movie soundtrack for “The Scorpion King” which released in March of 2002. For more information on the band, log on to www.systemofadown.com.

System of a Down Photo: Robert Sebree