on 29 January 2006
This is not SOAD's best album, but it comes mighty close. This is my second favourite album behind 'System of a Down'. All these SOAD fans that were expecting a great year of the heavier material from SOAD's early years would be disappointed with this and Mezmerize. But this album is one of the finest pieces of work released last year. The music and lyrics are different on the two latest albums oppose to earlier work as Daron has taken the helm. The album is much more tuneful than any of SOAD's work before.
The powerful thrashing 'Attack' opens the album and is a fantastic opener, with a nice little guitar riff repeated throughout.
'Dreaming' the next track is possibly the worst on the album, but it is not a bad song, it's just not up to the standard of the rest of the album.
'Kill Rock 'N' Roll' is a great song and really shows how well Serj and Daron's vocals can work together if the song's right.
'Hypnotize', the first single from the album, is possible the most sing-along-to-able of the album, and is the most appealing to a large audience.
'Stealing Society' has a great opening and is a highly charged song throughout, always keeping the pace high and with the odd mosh moment.
'Tentative' also shows how Daron and Serj can fit vocals together and it's such a powerful song you can feel emotion tearing out of the CD whilst listening to it.
'U-Fig' is my favourite song on the album. It's just so, wow. It doesn't sound like that much in the opening but when Serj comes in with a slightly demonic scream of 'Melt In The Sun' it really gets going.
'Holy Mountains' is the longest song on the album at 5:28 and does sound like a slightly more tuneful 'Psycho' from the Toxicity album.
'Vicinity of Obscenity' is the only song with which Serj solely wrote the lyrics, and they are certainly different. The seem very non-sensical, with various cries of 'Banana, Terracotta, Terracotta Pie' and then singing about 'beating the meat'...ahem. Yes well a diffrent song and shows musical versitilty and the range of Serj's voice.
'She's Like Heroin' also leaves a fair bit to be desired from some of the mature lyrics...'He wants nothing less, but to wear a little dress' for example. But despite tis the song itself is my 2nd favourite.
'Lonely Day' is another one of those, yeah it's Ok but why is it on this album, songs. Don't get me wrong I like it, but it feels more like a Mezmerize track than Hypnotize.
'Soldier Side' this is the follow on to the Intro on Mezmerize and is a fantastic, sad, song. It is my 3rd favourite and really ends the album on a poignant note.
This album is not like old SOAD's work but does take them in a different and very exciting new way, which could spell even bigger things in the future.
on 20 November 2005
I have been looking through the reviews that this album has got and have been shocked to see such terrible ones. My first thought was "Am I on the right page?!" and my second was "Oh dear, I think it's time I said something!"
Hypnotize is an amazing album, with a great variety of songs that will suit your every mood. The album consists of incredibly moving songs such as "Holy Mountains", "Soldier Side", "Lonely Day", and "Tentative". But you can always count on System to add some fun, upbeat and amusing songs to an album too. "Vicinity of Obscenity" and "She's Like Heroin" are ones that come to mind.
Guitarist Daron Malakian is more involved in vocals in Hypnotize than in any other album, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, although some people believe so. When Serj and Daron sing together, it is absolutely wonderful, their voices are fantastic in different ways and it sounds great when they are singing together.
Songs that you MUST listen to and enjoy are:
Dreaming - my favourite song, a song in which Daron and Serj's voices merge together and result in the most beautiful song. Amazing ending to the song too!
Soldier Side - We heard the intro in Mezmerize, now hear the full song. Very moving, although touching a sad subject, System manages to make this song one of the most likeable ones.
Holy Mountains - All true System fans know the subject, everyone does. This is a song that will start waterworks for those who understand it. It is beautifully sung and beautifully written.
on 22 November 2005
I'm gonna have to say this is the best System of a Down album, and just goes to prove why they won Best Alternative at the MTV awards, and I love every song on it. Favourites being..... Soldier Side, Kill Rock 'n' Roll, Hypnotize, Tentative, Vicinty of Obscenity, Dreaming, Lonely Day (ok so that's most of the album. Although just a word of caution, if you didn't like Mezmerize that much (as I know some people didn't) and especially the last four songs, then you may want to be cautious here, because this isn't a really heavy album, so people who were expecting something like the first or second albums be warned. But of course that's where System of a Down excel, they aren't afraid to try something new and radically different, and this album fills both, and with some of the most powerful political songs I've ever heard this is sure to be a great hit.
on 29 November 2005
This album delivers everything one would expect from S.O.A.D. It is the 4th S.O.A.D album I've bought, and I would rate it as the 2nd best, after Toxicity, an absolute classic.
There is barely a bad track, and it contains some brilliant songs, such as 'Kill Rock n' Roll', 'Attack', and 'U-fig', to go with the single 'Hypnotize'.
The best song, however, is Soldier Side, a lyrical attack on the war in Iraq, written from the perspective of the soldiers families.
This is an excellent album.
..more than a return to their earlier style, which means that as on their previous album Mesmerize they are indulging in their (or perhaps mainly Daron Malakian's ability) to write strong melodies to incorporate into the usual metal formula. They also have the luxury of not one but two members who can actually sing (think how much and how many metal groups would be improved by the presence of just one!). And while some fans have criticised the use of Malakian as a lead vocalist on some songs, I don't think there is any risk of sidelining the quite extraordinary vocal phenomenon that is Serj Tankian - long may he wail; it just allows them the opportunity for vocal harmonies, which is a rare treat in this genre. Overall this album is less 'hard' than their earlier stuff such as Toxicity, but less lyrically light-hearted than Mesmerize, with fewer comic moments. Serj returns instead to some familar themes, such as the Armenian genocide, American foreign policy and the decline of cultural and spiritual values in the richest country in the world, which to me makes a welcome change from teenage alienation or simplistic bubble gum pop. With luck it should satisfy the headbangers while still being radio-friendly enough for a wider audience.
Musically, if you liked Mesmerize, you'll like this, but if you are one of those who feel they've gone a bit soft of late and yearn for the harsher days of their first album, you are not going to be satisfied.
The Duo-disc format gives you a DVD side which includes the videos for BYOB and Question, and a rather cut-and-paste 10 minute film of snippets of studio footage and what looks like edits from a forthcoming video for Soldier Side. What use the 'enhanced stereo version' of the album that is included on the DVD side is supposed to be escapes me, unless you want to play it via a PC sound system. And my in-car CD player couldn't read the CD side of the duo-disc at all which was nuisance, although it usaully copes with CD-R. So if you have any doubts about your equipment compatibility , go for the basic CD
on 29 November 2005
This album is clearly a logical progression in the life of SOAD. They have changed from the original SOAD, through Toxicity, Steal this Album and to the substantially more melodic Mezmerize and Hypnotize.
I loved this new album. Soldier Side, Lonely Day, Hypnotize and Holy Mountain are my favourites, but on any particular day, dependent on my mood I can listen and thoroughly enjoy each and everyone of the tracks.
In truth I can't fault the album, but I suppose, being somewhat biased towards SOAD I wouldn't fault it even if I could.
Can't wait for them to cross the pond again to see them in concert.
on 13 February 2012
As the second half of a double-album concept released in 2005 by System of a Down, it is almost inevitable for it to be compared and spoken of in the same sentence as 'Mezmerize', which does this album a large dis-service. Although 'Mezmerize' has more easily recognizable (by which I mean more played) songs, album wise 'Hypnotize' is a much more cohesive effort. Instead of jumping almost schizophrenically between serious (Serj-led) and completely bizarre and less serious (Daron-led) tunes, this album seems to keep a generally more serious, more thought-provoking side lyrically. Starting with the one-two of 'Attack' and 'Dreaming', war, and its effects on average everyday people forms the main theme of the album - this is a theme that continues in songs like 'U-Fig' and 'Holy Mountains', the latter of which was influenced by the 1918 Armenian Genocide. The album concludes with 'Lonely Day' and 'Soldier Side', both of which examples of more serious System of a Down songs. 'Soldier Side', in particular, is especially powerful, drawing the two album cycle to a close (Fans with 'Mezmerize' will remember a shorter, less-elaborate version of this opening 'Mezmerize').
System of a Downs seemingly two-headed approach towards lyrics and music in these two albums were both a blessing and a curse for them: their less serious works such as 'Cigaro', 'Vicinity of Obscenity' and 'She's like Heroin' gave rise to a large amount of young teenagers latching onto their songs for sheer hilarious vulgarity (I know I did!), but also made it difficult for the band to be taken entirely seriously when writing about depression, war and politics. Similarly, the ever-present seriousness of lyrical themes found in System of a Down's music would have been lost on this younger generation who saw System of a Down as a group to be grown out of, without them really understanding how good musically and lyrically this group could be. The strange polarization of creative influences (Daron Malakian took the group in one direction, Serj Tankian took the group in another, often in the same song!) was further emphasized when System of a Down went on their hiatus and the two went their seperate ways - Daron's group 'Scars on Broadway' released one eponymous album that focused heavily on religion, drugs, ridiculous lyrics, and hardly any politics while Serj Tankian released two albums that were focused almost completely on politics and human struggles. Yet it is worth noting that neither person's projects had the same staying power that System of a Down had...
on 15 June 2011
While Mesmerize was a great success and had some great music on it, I cannot help but prefer this album more despite it not being any different quality-wise. On first listen it pales in comparison but it is an album that blossoms, evolves and transforms rather than punch you straight in the face with tunes. The beginning and end of the album are the worst bits in my opinion but the core is pure gold.
'Attack' is a worthy opener and is not bad but it's not as exciting as its energy suggests. It is a good touchstone for how the album sounds though. It is far more punky than heavy metal. 'Dreaming', again, is ok but nothing to get riled about. Actually it is rather mediocre which is a shame. After this the quality picks up. 'Kill Rock N Roll' is great - VERY SOAD. It is similar to 'Cigaro' from Mesmerize in its speed and trademark eloquence mixed with oddball lyrics. The title track slows it all down a bit but in a good way. After a few spins it becomes a thing of short beauty. Better than 'Aerials' from Toxicity. 'Stealing Society' is also great and is split in 2 almost, both parts being catchy, fun and excellent music. 'Tentative' is similar and equally as good. It also takes time to sink in but stays with you afterwards. A ballad of sorts.
'U-Fig' is a middling song but it is catchy and has the SOAD schizophrenic quality. 'Holy Mountains' sounds rather boring on first listen. Boy how it changes. One of their best tracks period. A little like the feel of 'Aerials' with a killer riff. 'Vicinity of Obsenity' is fast becoming my favourite SOAD track. It's bonkers, heavy as you like and tuneful to boot. Has to heard to be appreciated. 'She's Like Heroin' is more conventional but is also fantastic. 'Lonely Day' shouldn't be good as it's another dirgey slow(ish) track. But it is very very good indeed. The last track, 'Soldier Side', is unfortunately a ballad too far. It is boring and uninteresting and a bit nothing where it obviously wants to be thoughtful and deep.
Overall it is a fantastic album but loses a star for 3 or 4 not quite up to par.
on 5 September 2007
This album isn't all out metal like some of Toxicity's tracks (Jet, bounce) and has alot of melody in it.
1. Attack 9/10. Starts off loud then calm then has Serj shouting 'we attack attack attack'. Poweruful beginning.
2. Dreaming 10/10. The guitars are fast with Serj making some strange noises in the background. An interesting noise.
3. Kill Rock and Roll 8/10. The intro sounds really good but they then change direction completely and start saying 'So I don't like the biggest a** h****.' The change in direction bothers me a bit because the intro could have lead into a better melodic song.
4. Hypnotize 7/10. One of the singles. Simple melody and absolutely nothing special.
5. Stealing society 9/10. Starts off fast and heavy but then gets more melodic.
6. Tentative 6/10. Ok I guess.
7. US Fig 7/10. 'Come join the guards'... besides that not much about it is different.
8. Holy mountains 9/10. A nice melody and at the chorus they all scream 'LIAR'. Like the beginning of...
9. Viscinity of Obscenity 10/10. A high pitched eerie voice says 'liar' followed by the amazing 'Bannana bannana terra cota pie' these lyrics make no sense but work so well.
10. She likes heroin 8/10. I thought this song was ok but had nothing much to say besides she likes heroin.
11. Lonely day 5/10. Very commercial and annoying song. Ironically this is the first SOAD song I heard (I might of said different in another review but I don't really count this as a song)
12. Soldier side 8/10. A nice haunting end to the album claiming that 'God is wearing black'
If you want to complete the collection of SOAD then buy this album. If not buy a better SOAD album.
on 22 November 2005
The long awaited (well, several months) second part of the Mezmerize/Hypnotize album by System of a Down is finally here – and is certainly worth the wait. A feast of dark, political songs await you with Hypnotize; the album is full of the originality that made System of a Down one of the most popular of the modern metal bands.
Hypnotize is markedly different from previous works of this Armenian-American band. The style of the music is more mature – strikingly so. It is, perhaps, not as heavy as previous works – but the vigour and energy of the metal genre is not lost here. Soaring riffs give way to haunting orchestral pieces, giving weight to the stark lyrics.
As with all other System albums, politics are the primary focus here – particularly war, with the Armenian genocide featuring prominently once again, particularly in the song Holy Mountains. The title track deals with the manipulation of the public, along with U-Fig. Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian combine in a risky but ultimately fruitful combination of raging and lamenting which strengthens the band’s message – one that becomes more obvious with each listening.
System of a Down have the courage to write bluntly about the controversies of American politics, combining their poignant argument with beautifully sculptured, passionate music.