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Metal’s Social Impact: System Of A Down

March 18, 2009

I’ve been thinking up this idea for a while and finally have come around to doing it. This will be a regular feature on Precious Metal, where we talk about metal bands that try to be socially conscious, either with their music or the message their music portrays. There are lots of them so I figure this feature will last a while.

If you know of a band you’d like to see featured, that of course fits the “socially engaged” moniker, than either write me or… run with the ball and write something up, I’ll be glad to repost it here and of course give you all the credit!!!

While I do enjoy much heavier music than most bands that will be featured here, the bands are one’s that I do enjoy listening to. Such as the first choice for this feature, System Of A Down.

Band Biography from Wikipedia: System of a Down (commonly referred to as System or abbreviated as SOAD) is an American rock band, from Glendale, California, formed in 1994[1] . System of a Down consisted of Serj Tankian (lead vocals), Daron Malakian (vocals and guitar), Shavo Odadjian (bass), and John Dolmayan (drums), the band has released five albums since 1998. A staple on mainstream rock radio, their works have earned them four Grammy Award nominations, of which they won one.

System of a Down are noted for the left-wing political views expressed in their songs, tackling several subjects including the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Armenian Genocide, Iraqi Civil war, Capitalism, minority rights, War on Drugs, anti-religious sentiment, and censorship. The band is a part of the Axis of Justice, a non-profit organization co-founded by Tankian and fellow musician Tom Morello (member of Rage Against The Machine), dedicated to bringing together musicians, music fans, and grassroots political organizations to fight for “social justice”.

I chose System Of A Down because they are one of the most active bands in portraying messages they believe in. As mentioned above they are very outspoken about war, specifically the Iraq War, where I got some of the following words…

Lyrics from “Boom”
The bottom line is money,
Nobody gives a f@#$.
4000 hungry children leave us per hour,
From starvation,
While billions are spent on bombs, creating death showers.

…and here is a snippet of text from a song about Tiananmen Square…

Lyrics from “Hypnotize”
Why don’t you ask the kids at Tiananmen square?
Was Fashion the reason why they were there?
They disguise it, Hypnotize it
Television made you buy it

…and lastly I chose the following lyrics as it’s something I really feel strongly about, our messed up judicial system that wastes not only my tax dollars, but yours and takes money away from programs that could actually help, not hinder people.

Lyrics from “Prison Song”
All research and successful drug policy show
That treatment should be increased,
And law enforcement decreased,
While abolishing mandatory minimum sentences.
Utilizing drugs to pay for secret wars around the world,
Drugs are now your global policy, Now you police the globe

You can check out more about System Of A Down on their website http://www.systemofadown.com/main.html or scroll down a bit more and watch a couple System videos…

Video for Boom, recommended 100%!!

Video for “Prison Song”, again, recommended!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2009 11:21 am

    The band members have also been very active in trying to get American and Turkey to recognize the Aremenian genocide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide

    Turkey won’t recognize it and because of this American will not recognize it to avoid straining relationships with Turkey.

    It seems every leader says they want to end genocide in the world but none of them make an honest effort to do so.

    If you havent seen the movie Screamers, featuring System of A Down, I highly suggest you check it out. http://www.screamersmovie.com/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screamers_(2006_film)

  2. March 19, 2009 8:03 pm

    have you ever looked at the words from “Aerials”?
    they’re lifted almost directly from a talk by Suzuki Roshi. been meaning to write about this on the Horse for eons, but… well, you know how life is!

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