Anthony Fantano, aka theneedledrop, is one of the most polarizing music critics working today. Over the course of his career, Fantano has expressed some interesting hot takes when it comes to both underground and popular music.
And speaking of such hot takes, it was four years ago via a “classic review” he uploaded to his YouTube channel where Fantano named an early 2000s nu-metal album as “one of the best metal records in the past 20 years.” What nu-metal album you ask? Well, that record is none other than System of a Down‘s 2001 studio album Toxicity.
Throughout his classic review, Fantano unloads praise upon praise for the nu-metal classic. Toward the beginning of the review, he says that Toxicity is the “breakthrough record that would solidify the band as an essential figure in modern metal.”
While he’s a big fan of metal, Fantano also says that he feels the genre was “somewhat of a shit show” when it comes to the late ’90s and early 2000s. That said, upon shifting focus back to System of a Down, Fantano says the band was a “much-needed breath of fresh air” in the scene. Going into more detail about Toxicity, he notes the record’s deep socio-political exploration, mentioning that the “lyrics on this album were written as if they had the hindsight of the next seven years of authoritarian garbage that the Bush Administration would serve up.”
Fantano goes on to praise specific songs on the record, such as the band’s track “Prison Song,” saying it’s “most likely the most effective example of straight sloganeering in a rock song, but actually managing to keep it entertaining.” And of course, he brings up “Chop Suey!”, speaking about the song’s lyrical narrative and how it explores the topic of addiction. He also speaks very highly of the various instrumental and technical elements that make up the record.
Wrapping up this classic review, Fantano says “Overall Toxicity is an amazing album,” adding “Arguably, [it’s] one of the best metal records in the past 20 years,” and “One of the best metal albums alternative metal has ever brought to the table.” Concluding his thoughts, he says Toxicity is “certainly a masterpiece from a band whose primal music-making years were cut kind of short.”
In a more recent video Fantano uploaded several months ago, he included Toxicity among other records he would score as a perfect 10/10.
What do you think of Anthony Fantano’s points regarding System of a Down’s Toxicity? Do you also agree that it’s a masterpiece and one of the best metal albums of the past two decades? If you’re curious about our thoughts on the record, then you can check out our ranking of System of a Down’s albums.