Music: Toxicity

System of a Down

Metalheads almost never allow folk flavors to impinge on their wrathful pounding, so System of a Down, an Armenian-American metal band, is as refreshing as a whiff of shish kebab in a Burger King. Its music has a near Eastern feel, a sound akin to what Metallica might produce in a revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Moreover, the band knows raunchy from bad: drug dealers and groupies get their due tongue lashings. Best of all, the group keeps most songs under three minutes, a suitable dose of new metal for ears still traumatized by old metal's five-minute guitar solos.

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