The first two System of a Down records are pretty damn solid. They were exciting and filled with artistry and riffs galore. Not to mention the melodies emitted from singer Serj Tankian. Then there was a drastic change to the band as they released their third and fourth albums Mezmerize and Hypnotize. Guitarist Daron Malakian took on a more prominent role of not just songwriting but also as the bands singer, and moved Serj to the background. This was more than changed the style of the band but also saw the beginning of the end for System of a Down.
It’s one thing to add another layer of vocals to the band. Mastodon did it and they did it well. But the singer switch in System really changed the band and not for the good. Gone were the more poetic songs and melodic voice, and were then replaced by self deprecating lyrics and nasally whiney vocals. Also gone was the real artistry that the band had. Their early days featured beautifully chaotic performances which emitted a strong passion to not just their art but as a way to stand out. This “new” version of System was boring, generic and stale. Musically the songs just didn’t have the “power” as their past albums. Their live shows became utterly boring, with the band just standing there playing with no emotion at all. Looking back on this era you could see the writing on the wall that this was it for them.
Over the years during different “reunions” of the band, you can still tell that there is a bit of something off about the band. These shows also seem to be more about replenishing their bank accounts then anything else. Reading interviews with Shavo and John, you can tell that they are 100 % into the band and wanting to record new music together but, Daron and Serj seem to be the ones that are holding that back. Who knows what will happen in the future but, the time is running out for them to get back to what they did best. It’s a shame that ego’s get in the way of making great music. Hopefully they get their act together and can put out a great album again. Until then at least I’ve got their debut album and Toxicity.