Not yet titled (Dec. 7)

By Whitney Pastorek
September 18, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
System of a Down: Beth Herzhaft/Corbis Outline

Why we can’t wait to hear System of a Down’s latest

It’s been three years since the asphalt-thick riffs and freaky operatic vocals of Toxicity helped begin radio’s slow climb out of its nü-metal morass, and although the 2002 outtakes comp Steal This Album! was a nice little snack to tide us over, we’re getting impatient. ”Don’t expect the same thing that you heard in Toxicity and Steal,” warns guitarist and songwriter Daron Malakian, who cites European black metal bands (his favorite: Satyricon) as inspiration just before waxing rhapsodic over the Beatles’ White Album. ”But I wouldn’t say we’ve completely lost our identity, either. We’re going into a lot of new musical ground. I just feel like the music is more mature in a lot of ways.” So what will it all sound like? Though Malakian avoids specifics, he promises an orchestra, some obscure Middle Eastern instruments, and ”pure schizophrenia. It’s what System has always been, man. I’m a moody person.” –Whitney Pastorek