Tuned, tweaked and polished, System of a Down has politely tossed us their best album yet. The band has trained their raging imaginations, and rather than restrain their psychosis, they carefully control it to fuel the energy of Steal This Album. Anger, melancholy and psycho-pop are hurled into 43 minutes too complete to have been an accident, despite the album’s “Oh yeah, we forgot about this” facade. The only thing missing is the lyric sheet. Currently locked away on their website, System of a Down’s message is only accessible via punching in a code located on the CD spine (a trendy new added-value marketing strategy). While the band’s progressive lyrics are being held captive within the trammel of consumerism, the album ironically offers up the anti-corporate track “Boom!” The song touches on the ties between a “perfect” advertising world and the often war-greasing effect a foreign threat to that world has on consumers. Serj Tankian draws us along wide-eyed, effectively creating a world to house the story. Add to that the seemingly bottomless bag of tricks with which guitarist Daron Malakian surprises us, toss in drums that balk at standard 4/4, and coat it with the rolling bass of Shavo Odadjian, and you’ve got a team that continually masters what we thought they already had in their control.
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