Sound — 9
This is the album that started it all, and in mine and many other peoples' opinion, is SOAD at its best. No debate. I'd say the sound for this album is mostly heavy, with Spiders being the sole exception. Can you imagine SOAD without their self-titled effort? Didn't think so. While sometimes the drum or bass parts are a little hard to hear (specifically Suite-Pee and PLUCK), that doesn't stop it from being one of my favorite albums. Serj's singing is the craziest. It's impossible to copy this guy. From the low intro to Spiders, to the ultra high falsetto part in Suggestions, to that noise thingy in the end of Darts, Serj has among one of the most fluctuating and versatile voices ever. Daron's guitar work is simple for the most part, but there's catchy riffs, polka beats and solos - so I can't say all the guitar in this album is the same, it's still a little simple. Shavo's bass work mainly mirrors the guitar work. And I think that's not a good thing. It's hard to hear the bass without a bass booster and he doesn't sing backup until Toxicity (well, then again, neither does Daron). John's drum parts are very influential, fast, technical (Soil) and just overall a blast to listen to and to try to emulate.
Lyrics — 10
Oh man, the lyrics. What a doozy these are. Although some lyrics don't seem to make any sense at first (Darts, Cubert) once you read them you're like "Oh, now I get it." I still don't know what to make of Ddevil though. Anyway, from antichrist lyrics (Suite Pee) to political lyrics (War?) to songs about suicide (Soil), this album has a bunch of different lyrics on different topics, all meaningful. (Well, not Ddevil).
Overall Impression — 9
You cannot compare early SOAD to anything else - not even new SOAD. It's its own breed and I love it because of that. I think my favorites are Ddevil, Soil, Know and Mind. I'm not a particular fan of Spiders though, it's just alright and I would have preferred another song for a single. All of the songs are accesible in my opinion, except for Mind. It's 6 minutes long with a barely audible intro. I love it though. If this was lost and if I could find it I would without a doubt buy it again.