System Of A Down - Steal This Album! (Cover Artwork)

System Of A Down

Steal This Album! (2002)


Let's get a few things cleared right away. System Of A Down isn't exactly a punk band (or at least maybe they aren't in some people's eyes). They cross the boundries between metal, thrash, folk, jazz and hard rock and make into one huge eclectic sound, if you try and box this band into a genre, they will shock you and turn around and do something else. They are politically charged and say what they want, when they want and don't hide their feelings. They refuse to to censor what they say and if you don't like it, tough cookies. This band is always willing to try something new whether fans like it or not.

Hmm...maybe they are more punk than people give think. Or sure as hell more punk rock than Sum 41 or Simple Plan, thats for sure.

I wasn't a fan of System Of A Down until about 6 months ago. A friend of mine played a few songs from their first album and my response was "eh, it's alright". He then played some songs off "Toxicity", once again I was "eh, it's alright." I borrowed both cd's and sat down with an open mind and listened to both in entirety and I soon found myself hooked on this band. They have quickly become one of my personal favs. So, with this being said, I suggest that you all keep in an open mind to this band. You don't need to like them, but as long as you are open minded, I'll be happy. It took me a while to figure out what this band was about, and I don't expect everyone to fall in love with this band nor this album right away (or at all). With these things being said...

"Steal This Album!" is one of the best albums of the year, in fact, I think this is their best work and one of the best albums to come out in a very long time (which is saying a lot considering what's been released as of late)

The actual cover (or lack of) get's creative points for me. The actual disc has 5 differant designs, 4 done by the actual band members, each who designed the album. The other cover is a simple disc that looks like a blank CD you'd buy in a store with the words "System Of A Down" and "Steal This Album!" scribbled across the disc thus making it look like you actually burnt it. There is no booklet, if you want lyrics and credits you need to go to the back of the album case, type in a special address to access them.

The first song off this album is "Chic 'N' Stu" which is something that came out of left field, both lyrically and musically. I wasn't expecting this type of song to open. I was shocked by the song and this is always a good thing. Crazy song to say the least.

You are then taken on a roller coaster of a ride through this album going through the more radio friendly single "Innvervision" to the angry, anti-war "Boom!", the Knight Rider influenced (for lack of a better term)"I-E-A-I-A-I-O" to their slower songs at the end "Roulette" and "Streamline". It's quite a trip when you listen to the album in it's entirety, words can't even describe it.

The actual politically charged songs contain the topics of advertising, war, starvation, television, and the overall influence of politicians and the media.

What some of you may or may not know is that these are all outtakes from both their previous works. Despite this, the songs still feel refreshing. This album stands above not only any other metal record, but also most records released this year. SOAD has been quoted in saying that this is "the link" from Toxicity to their new album. All I can say is that their next record will be huge. And after this, I will have very high expectations about future works.

The things that may turn fans off is the complexity of the songs. While most bands are fairly straight forward, these guys are not. These songs are everywhere and will catch you by surprise, which may turn off people. The songs range in differant styles and go from loud to soft and then back again. The singing is another issue. Serj is quirky, witty and can be just as loud as any metal singer and be as soft as a pop singer. You either love it or hate in my view. Political issues are mentioned in almost every song and that too may turn people off. Like I said earlier, this band isn't one to be shy of their feelings. You don't need to like what he says, but at least respect the fact that they refuse to lay down and dumb down their lyrics.

But, overall, these leftovers definitely fill fans and may even bring some new fans on board.

The album is creative, simply put. Don't expect anything from this, because if you expect anything, you shall be dissapointed. Just sit back and go with the rollercoaster that is System Of A Down.

This album gets a well deserved 9.