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What is System Saying?

Answer by Mark Matlock

Q. I really like System of the Down. But I don’t always understand them. I have a friend who believes the “BYOB” song and video is anti-God and anti-American. I don’t know if I agree. What’s this band all about?

A. The guys in System of a Down might have good reason not to trust governments. All four are from Armenian-American families. The nation of Armenia has seen its share of corruption and attempted genocide. That helps us to understand, in part, why they’re so furiously anti-war, including the one America is currently fighting. So while I don’t know if they’re anti-American, they do angrily speak against those who send others off to fight. In fact, the band seems to be against any authority or institution that would tell them what to do, including governments and churches. That may account for the imagery in the “BYOB” video.

They also get angry about some stuff I wish Christians got more steamed about, including “Violent Pornography” and brain-sapping TV watching. On top of that, their lyrics encourage both forgiveness and helping those who are suffering. But System of a Down is a mixed bag when it comes to their messages. There’s good and bad. I’d encourage you to steer clear, especially if listening to angry music makes it tough for you to avoid anger. They also drop plenty of f-bombs and curses when ranting about things they detest.

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