As the lead guitarist and vocalist of the famous metal band System of a Down, Daron Malakian is best known for his unique way of playing guitar. And during a conversation, the talented musician recalled his teen days, revealing why he loves Show No Mercy of Slayer, along with other classics that shaped his musical talent.
Throughout its ongoing 30-year career, System of a Down has become one of the most influential metal bands by releasing countless greatest hits. As all the members still keep acclaimed for their wild, free-wheeling sound, they all also had their own stories that brought them today. And the regarded band’s talented guitarist Daron Malakian talked about his own journey recently, revealing how he listened to Slayer’s Show No Mercy while he was living in Iras as a teenager.
The talented musician also talked about other songs and albums that have helped him shape his personality and art, as he actually listened to all kinds of music over his lifetime and career. System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian started revealing his love for Show No Mercy of Slayer, the OGs’ classic debut LP of one of the ‘Big 4’, along with his other picks.
“When I was 14 years old, I went to Iraq. I was there for a month and a half and I got to see the whole Saddam cult of personality. I took a bunch of my cassettes and heavy-metal magazines just to keep me occupied. Show No Mercy was the one I would listen to the most — on an old Sony Walkman with headphones, and a Mötley Crüe T-shirt on. All my family there were like, ‘What the fuck is this that you’re listening to?’ I might have been the first person to take heavy metal to Iraq. I can’t prove that, but they had no clue what heavy metal was in 1989 in Baghdad. I was just in love with it,” reflected Daron Malakian the effect of Slayer’s song on his and continued.
“It was the heaviest stuff that I could get my hands on. It was a great time in heavy metal because there was an evolution happening in the Eighties. When I first bought that cassette, I didn’t like it. But I kept putting it on, and it clicked for me when I took it to Iraq: ‘Wow, this is really great shit. This is heavier than anything else.’ Slayer was a harder sell for some of my friends in those days. They all liked Metallica. All my friends who were trying to play like Yngwie Malmsteen and all that shit, they were really not into Slayer.
The early stuff was happening when I was just starting to learn to play guitar. Slayer is one of the bands that taught me how to play the guitar. I would sit there and listen to Reign in Blood, Show No Mercy, and South of Heaven. It was like a religion to me at that time of my life — when I was like 14 years old. When System first came out, people asked me to explain our music, and I would say, ‘It’s as if Slayer and the Beatles had a baby,'” finished System of a Down guitarist telling the bands and their songs that have inspired him and how they shaped him during his though teenhood days.
Formed in 1994, System of a Down’s current lineup consists of Serj Tankian on lead vocals and keyboards, Daron Malakian on guitar and vocals, Shavo Odadjian on bass, and backing vocals, and John Dolmayan on drums. And the lead guitarist and vocalist of the famous metal band, Daron Malakian his influencers are now also in front of us, showing how he shaped his musical talents, along with his unique way of playing guitar.
Outside of his career with System of a Down, Malakian formed Scars on Broadway, which also included John Dolmayan as a member, too, during the hiatus of their original metal band. And the two bandmates worked with many famous names, releasing an eponymous album featuring the hit single They Say, which was written by Malakian. He released 2 albums with the band, titled Scars on Broadway and Dictator.
Daron Malakian also worked with Linkin Park, appearing in their sixth studio album The Hunting Party, and performed with the surviving members of the band, playing a show at the Hollywood Bowl dedicated to the passing of their frontman Chester Bennington. Malakian also performed with the Los Angeles-based alternative music project Millennials, as he also appeared on the live performances of Metallica, as a guest guitarist.
After listening to their songs as a teen, it’s also an inspiring story to listen to System of a Down guitarist, as we all see where he could get so far, while he gets to work so many iconic bands, including the ones that have shaped him in the first place.