The thing I love most about SOAD is that they are quite clearly the most bat shit crazy metal band to ever become mega stars.
From the frantic lunacy of Chop Suey to the Eastern melodies of Toxicity or the bizarre marketing campaign of putting out a CD with a plain cover and the words “STEAL THIS ALBUM” written on it in marker pen.
If Heavy Metal is the music of the lunatic fringes, the ‘free from the shackles of commerce’ artist dabbling in the extremes, then System Of A Down must surely bloomin’ heroes in that arena.
And they are. If ever a band showed the diversity, acceptance and open mindedness of the Metal scene it is System Of A Down. If it rocks. It’s in.
I’ve chosen Vicinity Of Obscenity over any of their other tracks because not only is it gonzoid gaga crazy nonsense. Not only is it brutal heavy metal that makes you want to thrash about in a sea of other thrashing bodies. Not only is it like a rollercoaster of wails and screams and stops and starts that would have my grandfathers generation wondering if the technology the music was playing on was somehow on the fritz.
I’ve chosen it because it’s wonderfully absurdist that the band managed to convince their record company THIS was the track that should be chosen as a single.
Vicinity Of Obscenity could be about everything and nothing. But seeing an army of fans bounce along as Lebanese born heavy metal hero Serj Tankian leads them in a chant of
“Terracotta pie, Hey! Terracotta pie, Hey! Terracotta pie, Hey!”
Is as inspiring as it is meaningless. And that means a lot. In a way.