System of a Down - Hypnotize
American Recordings
ADD Metal
12 songs (39.46)
Release year: 2005
System of a Down, American Recordings
Reviewed by Aleksie
Billboard #1 album – complete with blastbeats. That sentence in itself is a complete paradox, but true none the less. Following the very successful – and surprisingly awesome – Mezmerize, System Of A Down followed up with the “part 2” of the set, Hypnotize. I was wondering a while back if the fact that I liked Mezmerize so much could have just been a fluke, but upon spinning the new one through, and repeating again, and again – and again, I could only conclude that these four Armenian-bred mad scientists are some damn good musicians and songwriters.

Attack fires up with a very peculiar, thrashing riff and the aforementioned blastbeating, and then alternating between pop-rocking melodic verses and metallic choruses that end with more blasting and throat-piercing screams. A magnificent mixture – mad, but magnificent. Dreaming keeps a manic pace with a similar mixture of brutal and softer passages, with the majority keeping it heavy yet disturbingly catchy. Catchy is also the term to use with Kill Rock ´N Roll, a rocker that features one the best choruses of the year, one that simply wont quit buzzing in my brain. A live favourite for sure, I´m daring to bet. Tankian´s and Malakian´s voices go together very nicely, tempering down any very understandable irritations that the latter might cause when heard alone.

The title track is a mid tempo piece with very memorable vocal melodies and great lyrics overall. Somehow the line: “Why don´t you ask the kids at Tiananmen Square, was fashion the reason why they were there?” is one of the best lines Ive heard all decade. Stealing Society and U-Fig are two fillery tracks that don’t really stand up to the better material that precedes it – despite the instances of fabulous grooving in the former. Tentative saves a lot in the middle as a quite aggressive rocker, with very good war-themed lyrics and emotional interludes with clean guitars. Holy Mountains is a moody ballad that quite well rivals Aerials as SOADs definitive lighter-raiser…although I´d say that tune will come later on this album.

Two peculiar tracks follow. Vicinity Of Obscenity is still a nicely energetic piece of Zappaesque madness with frantic tempo blasts and the occasional reggae bridge. The ludicrous “banana banana terracotta pie”-lyrics don’t diminish the oddness one bit. The tune is still a very good up-beat rocker. She´s Like Heroin on the other hand is an outright strenuous track, solely because of Malakians hyper-irritating vocal performance. While it blends in well with Tankians deeper voice, when it is given too much room alone and raised to these kind of pitches, it rubs my nerves the wrong way. The following track, Lonely Day, doesn’t help the ending of the record. Despite the OK melodies, the lyrics are such total flatness-zilch that it would probably take Nickelback a day or two to come up with something as bland. Interesting that there are many songs with magnificent lyrics on this album, and then claptrap like this. The shared song of the new album duo, Soldier Side, very fortunately prevents the very ending from pulling the proverbial rug from underneath the disc. A beautiful ballad with very emotional lyrics and vocal performances by both singers.

Hypnotize as a whole is bit mixed album, but a very good one. Of the duo I would say that Mezmerize stays as my favourite on sheer consistency. While the very high points are better on Hypnotize, Mezmerize doesn’t have anything nearly as boring as Lonely Day. The production is the only thing that I think SOADs breakthrough record Toxicity has better over the two later works. The huge guitar walls of Toxicity are something I miss very much, although the production on the two newer ones is by no means bad, just not as crushing, but more organic. Come to think of it, I also would like more of Serj Tankians insanely wide range of vocals used to their full potential, as on Toxicity.

ADD Metal sounds odd and preposterous, but often this disk sonds like a serious case of Attention Deficit Disorder, with so many twists in its pallette. A large bunch of the melodies on Hypnotize have a very eastern and ethnic vibe, which is no wonder considering the guys´ heritage. Just one more factor that makes SOAD a very unique band, and a good one. The fact that this kind of music can also be very successful is a bit baffling to me, but is a sign that all hope is not lost on the thought that good music might be able to make an impact in the mainstream after all. Such hope has been in extremely low supply for the past ten years or so. Kudos to System Of A Down!

Killing Songs :
Attack, Dreaming, Kill Rock ´N Roll, Hypnotize, Tentative, Vicinity Of Obscenity & Soldier Side
Aleksie quoted 80 / 100
Jeff quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by System of a Down that we have reviewed:
System of a Down - System Of A Down reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
System of a Down - Mezmerize reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 85 / 100
System of a Down - Toxicity reviewed by Jay and quoted 73 / 100
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