System Of A Down- Hypnotize
Release Date: November 22, 2005
Record Label: American/Columbia Records
System Of A Down set off in 2005 with the goal of releasing an album that would be more brutal and political than any other SOAD album before. The only difference this time around was that, instead of releasing it all in one package, SOAD (featuring vocalist Serj Tankian, guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan) wrote a double-album, which each section being released in a 6-month span. The first part, “Mezmerize,” was released this past May, and the concluding part, “Hypnotize,” was released this past week. In comparison, “Hypnotize” is frantic, the complete opposite of the more mild-mannered “Mezmerize.” When listened to separately, “Hypnotize” is the better album, but when listened together (“Mezmerize” then “Hypnotize”), you get a beautiful masterpiece. They were recorded at the same time with Rick Rubin, but SOAD decided it would be better to release them separately, so instead of cramming 23 tracks at once, they split it up, so that the listener could understand and digest the first offering and be ready to take on the second part. Personally, I wish SOAD would have released the two parts together, because then the album would have had more of an impact on me that it does right now.
“Hypnotize” is a fight to the finish record, with the majority of the 12 tracks under 3 minutes. Fast, intense, and in your face, “Hypnotize” grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go for 40 minutes. The album begins by kicking you in the face with the speed-metal influenced “Attack,” which features Dolmayan’s hammering on the drums and Malakian’s staccato guitar play. Tankian furious bark reigns throughout the song. “Kill Rock ‘N Roll,” is one of my favorites on the album. It begins with a soft guitar and bass, tribal drumming, and Serj’s soft singing, then Malakian budges in with the line: “So I felt like the biggest asshole/When I killed your rock and roll.” The song has a mid-paced tempo with good melodies throughout. The title track, “Hypnotize,” which is also the first single of the album, begins with a gentle guitar riff mixed with Odadjian’s pulsating bass and leads into a swooping melody with Tankian’s soaring vocals and Malakian’s haunting tenor. Tankian and Malakian are one of a kind with their duel vocals. Tankian has more of a gruff bravado to his vocals, while Malakian’s vocals are cleaner and darker. The vocals battle each other throughout the album, and are definitely one of the many highlights of this album. “Stealing Society” is a fast, bouncy track and “Tentative” is full of major riffage and Tankian’s vocals have a sarcastic edge to them. “U-Fig” is full of light-speed twist and turns played with a high concentration. This song, as well as others on the album, feature Armenian folk in them, as all four members of the band are Armenian-Americans. “Holy Mountains” is a 5-minute epic about the 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 and 1923, and the band’s grief over the fact that Turkey or the United States has never officially recognized this genocide. It’s a very power song and one my favorites on the album. “Vicinity Of Obscenity” is an absurd song about terra-cotta pie, whores with bad feet, and features hyper vocals from Tankian and Malakian. It’s a fast song that beats you over the head, but also has a dance vibe to it. “She’s Like Heroin” is a song that reminds me of “Violent Pornography” from “Mezmerize.” The album closes out with “Soldier Side,” which might sound familiar because the chorus from this song is used as the intro to “Mezmerize.” “Soldier Side” is a haunting song about the grim reality of a soldier at war. It’s a slower song throughout until it climaxes when the chorus is played out. This is a perfect closer for a great album, a song that will stay in your mind and has had a lot of impact on me. “Hypnotize” combines gentleness with brutality, and make it into a beautiful sound.
System Of A Down is out to change rock and roll, as their double effort of “Mezmerize/Hypnotize” is something not many bands can top. This is leaps and bounds better than the Foo Fighters double disc, and System Of A Down is the best band in modern rock and roll today. You can’t just buy one of these albums; you need to own both, as they combine to make one of the best records of 2005. Most of you probably won’t give this a chance, because you may think this is “nu-metal” and that you are too cool for that. That is not the case here, as there is no trace of “nu-metal” in this album. It is straight up rock and metal; this album that will make you want to body slam your friends through tables. System Of A Down is one for the ages, a band that releases solid album after solid album. With “Mezmerize/Hypnotize,” System Of A Down have outdone their selves, releasing the best album of their careers. You would be wise to go out and attain these albums today.
Actually, I believe I got something in the mail a couple years ago saying that George Bush publically acknowledged the Armenian Genocide and set a memorial date to April 24th. Maybe it was just a letter pushing for us to get Bush to do this (I'm Armenian), but either way I think America is certainly aware, though the general public is greatly uneducated about this tragedy.
Great CD though. I love Lonely Day. How come that wasn't mentioned in the review =|