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System of a Down: 'Steal This Album'

The rock band System Of A Down, which draws inspiration from diverse influences such as heavy metal and Armenian folk music, released “Steal This Album” on Tuesday in response to Internet users downloading the band’s songs before they’re ready.

But how do they protect their music in the future? Singer Serj Tankian said it’s a difficult task.

“We are just a little more critical as to who we get involved with,” Tankian told the Associated Press. “There’s so many ways of taking music. I heard certain sessions of another band were downloaded while it was being transferred on ISDN lines. I mean, I don’t know, how do you protect that?”

“Steal This Album”, the Los Angeles-based quartet’s third release, consists of finished tracks that were leaked onto the Internet before they were completed. Tracks include “Innervision”, “Pictures”, “Boom” and an acoustic tune entitled “Roulette”.

The band’s music might be compared to a roller-coaster ride, filled with hairpin turns and gut-wrenching free falls.

Tempos shift with little warning. Lyrics spin out like shrapnel. A full-throated roar dissolves into a flute solo or gentle acoustic passage before the guitars burn again. Listening is an intense experience.

Word-of-mouth about System of a Down’s second album, “Toxicity” made it one of the most anticipated releases of 2001 for hard rock fans.

System of a Down – a name that came from a poem written by guitarist Daron Malakian – believes that its eclecticism gives it a freedom few other bands have.

To that end, System assiduously tries to distance itself from other bands being lumped together in stories about a new generation of heavy metal music, even as it prepares for a co-headlining tour with Slipknot.

Tankian has also been at work on another album, a collaboration with an Armenian percussionist. He said it’s unlike anything he’s done with System Of A Down.

“It’s really not a solo record, it’s more of a collaboration with another artist.”

Tankian said the new project transcends anything he’s done before.

“Just pretend you don’t know me as System of a Down and that would make more sense. It’s absolutely nothing having to do with rock or metal or pop or anything like that. It’s more of a visual interpretation of some spiritual moments.”

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