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System Of A Down - SSE Arena Wembley, London - April 10 2015 (Live Review)

Monday, 13 April 2015 Written by James Ball

Nigh on 10 years ago, the ‘Mezmerize’/’Hypnotize’ double album tour found System of a Down delivering a blistering salvo of ferocity, professionalism and energy. When they pitched up in London in April 2015, despite the band having largely been out of the limelight since then, nothing had changed.

The show ticket was quite clear: this was all about System of a Down. There was no support act because, quite frankly, no-one wanted to see one. Not when it would have eaten into a non-stop two-hour montage of the very best of a band, spanning five albums, a cover of Satarabad, three videos, a rendition of  the ‘Toxicity’ record’s hidden track, Arto, and a rare outing for Marmalade.

Aside from the usual array of stage lighting and a System of a Down backdrop, there was nothing flashy at all about the staging. The video screens served a simple purpose, namely detailing the reason for this tour: the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

There are rumours of a new album, but this show did nothing to fuel them further. There were no new songs on offer, which the assembled crowd did not care about in the slightest. Every word was shouted back with almost unprecedented passion which, for a band that isn’t defined by their singles, is quite a feat.

Of course, when it came to the big hits, namely any single from ‘Toxicity’, as well as B.Y.O.B and traditional set-closer Sugar, the crowd responded exactly as required, bouncing about at the front as if their very existence depended upon it. In the seats, not a single soul was kept from their feet.

System of a Down have not lost a single step in the years they’ve been away. A handful of sporadic live appearances aside, they’ve done next to nothing as a band for a long time, and it would have been very easy to look rusty, tired, or to be going through the motions on some fan-pleasing reunion tour. Instead, they still have the passion, the power and the technical finesse to push through a show like this, backing every song into another song into another song with no time for applause, let alone chatter.

Put simply, if you want to know how to put on an arena show, look no further. When they finally touch down on Armenian soil for their first gig on home turf, they will have written a new and important chapter in the history of one of the world’s greatest, and most unique, rock bands.

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