System of a Down Toxicity, 2001
I'm not really sure how I came to own and love this album. My cousin Brady had played some songs from their self-titled debut (specifically "Sugar") and I really liked what I heard.
Then, if I'm following the right string of memories, freshman year of college (Fall 2001) I heard and liked "Chop Suey!" and then downloaded the album, track by track from some sort of web sharing site (probably Limewire).
And then, at some point, I bought the album proper. It can't have been much later than Fall 2001. So it was probably over Thanksgiving break. My most vivid memory is of my suitemate (and future Best Man) Riley hearing me play this album. He stopped in his tracks, looked at my quizzically and said, "James, you like metal?"
Of course this album is not REALLY "metal", per se. It's not really categorizable, if you ask me. There's punk, there's thrash (or what I think of as thrash), but there's also something else. Maybe it's the Armenian heritage or maybe they're just a bunch of weird dudes, but there is something wild about Toxicity. The emotions and tempos and volumes are all over the place. And it's something that I love. A theme that you're going to see in this series is that it's very comforting to me to KNOW an album inside and out. I will forgive a lack of proficiency or even originality if it's an album that I am very very familiar with.
I'm going to splurge on the videos today. Here are the videos for two of the singles (THE two singles, if you ask me. "Aerials" is good on the album, but it's kind of weird to hear on the radio)
And we'll close today with the first and last tracks on the album. Just to give you an idea of the range of this thing (Spoiler: It's a big range!)
System of a Down - Prison Song
System of a Down - Aerials/Arto
You can buy Toxicity at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes