Album review

System Of A Down : Steal This Album!
American / Columbia

System Of A Down : Steal This Album!Listen to the members of System Of A Down and you might end up believing that Steal This Album! is the full follow-up to the musical steamroller that was Toxicity - rush released by an unsuspecting record company. In reality it's a mix of old and new songs that didn't make it onto either Toxicity or its predecessor, but instead found their way relatively intact onto Kazaa and other file-sharing networks. The bootleg-esque artwork and anti-establishment title is all just marketing . . .
    From most other acts, a CD full of songs that didn't make the draft would be for obsessives only. However, System Of A Down are arguably this decade's most important metal band; dosing up the nation's youth on a incendiary cocktail of razor-sharp riffs and Serj Tankian's 'lethal mixture of social comment and pointless bull'. Trust me, it works - and there really isn't another band on the planet that sounds quite like them.

The high points? Radio single Innervision, the back-to-back storm of Nüguns and A.D.D. and Tankian's rapid-fire "Fighting crime with a partner, Lois Lane, Jimmy Carter, woo, woo, woo, woo, woo, woo, woo, woo, woooo!" on I-E-A-I-A-I-O. That last one? No, me neither . . . but it sounds good and sometimes that's enough.
    As good as these tracks are, they pale in comparison to System Of A Down gone by - I'm thinking Suite Pee, Chop Suey!, Forest, Aerials. So Steal This Album! really really is just a stop-gap until the next album proper, which despite the protestations of the band themselves (tongue in cheek or otherwise) is probably all it was meant to be in the first place.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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