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System of a Down

Los Angeles-based System of a Down ranks alongside Slipknot as the most impressive mainstream metal band today. Despite appearing amidst the maelstrom of awful Korn-inspired rap metal that flooded the airwaves at the turn of the millennium, the group’s hyperactive song structures and truly warped vocal stylings helped them stand out from the pap served up by many of their Ozzfest colleagues. It’s rare music so extreme makes it onto radio, and when it does it’s always a good thing. System of a Down broke nationally with their second record Toxicity, which shot to #1 on the charts. Through their next several albums, the band learned from Tool and the other “alt metal” bands of the early ‘90s and transmuted their sound with Eastern European folk elements, a wide array of traditionally non-metal instruments, and deeply political lyrics. By the time they released the epic two-part album Mesmerize and Hypnotize in 2005, System of a Down had ramped up their vision, incorporating a wider range of influences than ever before with the potent vitriolic madman vocals of singer Serj Tankian.