Sound — 9
Personally, I think this is SOAD's best album. Serj Tankian is one of the most powerful, as well as utterly insane singers I've ever heard. Backing up this spectacular vocals is some very heavy guitar courtesy of Daron Malakian (does his voice on the more recent albums bother anyone else). One of the prevalent polititcal themes on this album has to do with the genocide of the Armenian people (I believe it ocurred in the early 1900's). They themselves being Armenian, their big beef about this is that it was never actually recognized as a genocide by, I think the UN, or someone like that. The most obvious reference to this is on the last track PLUCK, which stands for "Politically Lying Unholy Cowardly Killers." There are also some anti-christian songs, like "Suite-Pee," and "Ddevil." Ddevil is kind of different, because Ddevil was the name of their record label. I don't know if you're into that kind of stuff, but I certainly am, and it was a big plus for me.
Lyrics — 10
This album has some of the strangest lyrics I've ever heard. And I mean that in a 100% positive way, for me, the more abstract, the better. Unlike on the more recent albums, it seems that Serj Tankian is doing his fair share of the writing. I think Daron is an OK writer, but he can't touch Serj's intricate, artful style that is right on the forefront in this album.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is so different (and so much better, in my opinion) from any of their other albums. Well, "Steal This Album!" was very good in places (Mr. Jack, ADD, among others), but this one just has an integrity to it that's very hard to find. I just really think they should've stuck to this kind of a sound, and it's a shame how radio-friendly and mainstream most of their other stuff is.