Join us today as we take another trip to that MMM well (it seems like it always replenishes, no matter how much it shouldn’t), as well as a detour to the System mine, for some content! Ho ho ho biatches.
Today we’re looking at the opening track from SOAD’s 2001 *CLASSIC*, Toxicity, Prison Song. Check the audio below:
“they’re tryna build a prison” — and with that whisper, heralded in by intermittent instrumental attacks, Toxicity is kicked off. In my ranking of the album, I actually placed this track pretty low, due to its reliance on sloganeering in its lyricism. However, with my widely-published loving of IDLES taking over my listening, it’d be kind of hypocritical to maintain that. Even apart from that, the heaviness, insanity and politics that define this track are everything we know and love the band to be, and thus is the perfect album opener.
As always, Daron’s tone is brutal, switching from meaty riffage to dysphoric squeals to the chunkiest of breakdowns, and his vocal performance is far from his worst. Also coming as no surprise, Serj is a vocal beast, his familiar whispers and SHOUTS coming in contact with a less frequently-used guttural technique. The political slogans I mentioned earlier still are probably my least favourite aspect, but they take up a small part of the song and the rest of it is textbook Tankian lyrics — paranoid and angry, just how we like ’em.
However, it’s the rhythm section that really shines on this track, with Shavo’s bass shining as one of his quirkiest, oddly-folksy and dependably violent. The drums are dizzying, with John’s jazz-influenced hi-hat work being turned up to insane proportions in the verses, and the crunching tom-snare beatdown coming in and the sometimes-offbeat-sometimes-syncopated kickdrums puncturing a hole in my lungs; difficulty level: Gods only.
MORE SYSTEM? WE’VE GOT SHIT-TONNES, MATE:
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations