1998, Music

System of a Down (1998)

I’ve come at this backwards – what else is new? – having heard all their albums but this one a number of years ago, and just getting to this now. Oops.

System of a Down is pretty much fully formed on their debut; all the things you would expect from them are here already, even though they hadn’t recorded anything else previous:

  • the theatrical vocals mixed with metal screaming,
  • the breaks,
  • the idiosyncratic parts that wouldn’t normally be found in metal songs,
  • etc.

But despite how fully formed this seems, it’s still clearly a debut: the songs (particularly the lyrics) would get significantly better on the next record, the band still sounds, at times, like a conventional metal band rather than SOAD, and, if you are paying a little too much attention to you can hear a pretty heavy Faith No More influence – and a little Tool and possibly just a little Bungle.

But still, this is a unique, idiosyncratic take on metal that manages to both sound mostly like itself and not its influences, and like actual metal. (There is the odd alternative metal band sounds less like a metal band more of the time than it sounds like a metal band, if you know what I mean.)

They got better, but this still pretty good.


  1. “Suite-Pee” Serj Tankian Daron Malakian 2:31
  2. “Know” Tankian Shavo Odadjian, Malakian, Tankian 2:56
  3. “Sugar” Tankian Odadjian, Malakian 2:33
  4. “Suggestions” Tankian Malakian 2:44
  5. “Spiders” Tankian Malakian 3:35
  6. “DDevil” Tankian Odadjian, Malakian 1:43
  7. “Soil” Tankian Malakian 3:25
  8. “War?” Tankian Malakian 2:40
  9. “Mind” Tankian Odadjian, Malakian, Tankian 6:16
  10. “Peephole” Tankian Malakian 4:04
  11. “CUBErt” Tankian, Malakian Malakian 1:49
  12. “Darts” Tankian Malakian 2:42
  13. “P.L.U.C.K.” (Politically Lying, Unholy, Cowardly Killers) Tankian, Malakian Malakian 3:38
  • Serj Tankian – vocals, keyboards, samples
  • Daron Malakian – guitars, vocals
  • Shavo Odadjian – bass, backing vocals
  • John Dolmayan – drums


  • 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

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