System of a Down lands at the forefront of the “new metal” movement with their self-titled debut album. I first heard of these guys when Snot brought them up to Santa Barbara to play a show with Manhole (now Tura Satana). Serj and the boys rocked the crowd hard, and left an indelible impression in my mind. Whenever I saw a mention of System in the press, I would remember that show as one of the most impressive I’d seen.The album is musically tight as a lock. Musically System mix it up from metal riffs to Rage Against The Machine-esque guitar squeals; the songs race along at breakneck speed and then slow to a stop with no warning. “War?” is the album’s anthem, a denunciation of the hypocrisy and greed that fuels all war efforts in our time. Other standout tracks are “Darts”, “Mind”, “Soil”, and “Know.” System may not be as MTV-friendly as Limp Bizkit or as hardcore as Pantera, but somehow they manage to walk a finer and truer line. Their politics are spoken from the heart, and their music is crushing, melodic, compelling and rocking all at the same time.