Considering System of a Down's wild, free-wheeling sound, it should come as no surprise to fans how diverse guitarist and songwriter Daron Malakian's musical tastes are. The musician, who also fronts Scars on Broadway, has been shaped by all kinds of music over his lifetime and career — from Slayer to the Grateful Dead. Count among that list the forward-thinking death metal of Chuck Schuldiner. When we talked to Malakian about the albums that have shaped him as a person and an artist, he included Human, the classic 1991 LP from Schuldiner's band Death, high among his picks. Below are his thoughts on its profound impact on him.
"The Death Human album is very special because it was one of the first that really mixed this technical musicianship with the aggression. I had never heard anything like this before. Before that album, Death was more of a straightforward death-metal band. But with that album they transitioned into something a little more progressive. ... These guys took Slayer and made it heavier. It was so fresh and brand new."