I’m not too impressed right now with the current state of hard rock. 95% of today’s hard rock acts sucks because lyrically and musically they are cliched and contrived. This whole nu metal genre reminds me of when hair metal ruled the airwaves back in the early to late ’80s. Then out of the sea of contrived and cliched rock bands that one rare band will stand apart from its peers with an album that shakes the foundations of hard rock. That band is System of a Down with it’s latest album “Toxicity”. I wasn’t immediately impressed with System of a Down when I first heard its first single “Chop Suey”. It was all noise and no substance to me but when I heard “Toxicity”, the gorgeous middle eastern melodies changed my attitude. I bought “Toxicity” through a record club so I could get more bang for my buck as opposed to paying close to $20 for one cd. I was greatly impressed with what I heard on “Toxicity”. I completely hear what many critics heard and why they listed that album as one of the best releases of 2001. The lyrics may lean on the left side of politics which I don’t think is bad. It sure beats listening to the same ol’ BS of “life sucks” from bands like Papa Roach and Slipknot. That old line is so cliched and contrived, not to mention lacks any imagination in songwriting. Musically, this album packs a real punch. Like I said before, I loved the middle eastern melodies that the band incorporated in the band’s music. That and their politically-charged lyrics are what set this band apart from their peers like Limp Bizkit and Slipknot. The title track and “Chop Suey” are just two of my favorite songs on this album. “Prison Song” kicked major butt as does “Pyscho”. I wish hard rock bands would follow System of a Down’s suit, not the ways of Limp Bizkit, Nickelback, and Puddle of Mudd.