Are System of a Down "metal"? Fans on Reddit are debating if the label is appropriate for the band over on Reddit.

The line between metal and rock has always been pretty blurry, especially as heavy music has changed over time. In the '70s, there were some bands that were considered metal at the time, but most of us today consider hard rock, such as Led Zeppelin. Then, in the '80s, there were groups that were called "hair metal" (Motley Crue and etc.).

The '90s brought on a whole new batch of bands that seemed to sit on both lines as well, including System of a Down. They're often lumped in with other nu-metal bands (Korn, Limp Bizkit), but are they metal?

A fan on Reddit doesn't seem to understand how people could not think they're metal, and posed the question, "Why do people say SOAD is not metal? How does that make any sense?"

Fans Debate If System of a Down Are Metal

The question stirred up quite a discussion in the comments section, particularly about how gatekeepers have tried to put restrictions on what should be considered metal or not. We highlighted some of the top ones below. The comments are italicized, and some of the responses to each comment are bulleted underneath.

"Gatekeepers think if a band isn't obscure and named 'shit infested rat carcass' then it isn't real metal."

  • "As an example I got called a poser cause I mainly listen to nu-metal, this was also by a guy who said, 'If you don’t listen to party cannon than you’re a poser.' Okay? Then I guess I’m a poser.
  • "Exactly if [doesn't] sound like some kind of medical term or is not a medical term for a disease... it's not metal enough."

"Some people (correction: fucking dickheads) think that if you listen to a band that isn’t thrash or death then you don’t deserve to ever say you’re a metalhead."

  • "Who cares what genre they are, they were categorized as nu-metal in the first place because they didn’t fit a different category even though there are very few similarities between System and Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and any other band with a spelling error in their name."
  • "There’s two kinds of nu metal: the genre in of itself and the totem pole that r/metalmemes has constructed to throw shit at that also happens to have LP and SOAD on it."

"Because they have more than 10 monthly listeners."

"Because they had the audacity to appeal to a broader audience outside of typical metalheads."

System of a Down, 'Chop Suey!'

Reddit User Explains How Nu-Metal Is Different From Metal

A couple of Reddit users gave lengthier explanations — read bits of the most upvoted one below.

"Nu metal breaks away from a lot of the metal tropes, but got classified as metal anyway, because a lot of the non-elitist metalheads enjoyed it despite its differences (that and it being counter-cultural), so it became engrained within the metal culture. Nu metal bands don't have classic metal aesthetics, rarely have solos, their songs are often pretty short and make use of sampling and other 'non-metal' instruments, and the vocal style is arguably closer to a punk style than a metal style for most bands. These are the arguments I have heard most often."

  • "I’m not disagreeing with your overall statement but Rick Rubin who has produced all SOAD as well as a number of others called SOAD the one true alternative metal band, which seems to be appropriate."

Some System of a Down Fans Explain Why They Are Rock and Not Metal

Despite the overwhelming majority of commenters defending System of a Down's stance as a metal band, there were a few who explained why they consider them rock, or hard rock, instead.

READ MORE: 10 Metal Bands Whose Second Album Is Their Best

"They have some really heavy stuff, but I consider them a very weird hard rock band that loves to say 'Fuck You' to the world and loves to do drugs."

"The general attitude seems more punk to me."

"As someone who listens to extreme metal they just genuinely come off as more of a rock band. They have more in common with [Queens of the Stone Age] than they do the other types of metal I listen to, like black metal. They have a lot of ballads and soft songs. I LOVE this band and it’s no disparagement against them when i say it’s definitely not farfetched to say they’re hard rock instead of metal, imo. Just because there’s harsh vocals sometimes and down-tuned guitar’s doesn’t necessarily make it metal."

"To be honest I don't think it's elitism at all. I can definitely see why people would consider them rock rather than metal. Due to many cleaner passages, no downtuned guitars.... doesn't really shock me that some people don't classify them as metal but more as a rock band. In the end: is it really that important though?"

Click the post toward the top of the page to read the full discussion.

Every 'Big 4' Nu-Metal Album, Ranked From Worst to Best

Between Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and System of a Down — indeed, the "Big 4" bands of nu-metal — how do all their albums stack up when ranked together? It's no walk in the park pitting these discographies against each other. Read below to see every album by nu-metal's "Big 4," ranked from worst to best.

Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp + Chad Childers

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