System of a Down - Hypnotize
Posted by fire on Thu, 12 Jan 2006.
Daron Malakian - Guitars, Vocals
Serj Tankian - Vocals, Piano, Guitar
Shavarsh Odadjian - Bass Guitar
John Dolomayan - Drums
When System of a Down released “Mesmerized” in spring 2005 they swore that the second instalment of the year “Hypnotize” would be just as fantastic and would seem like the second part of a double album. Right from the casing they’ve proved their point. It has a cunning cardboard page inside which just looks like part of the album but can actually be fitted together with “Mesmerize to form one double album style case.
The first track on the album “Attack” opens with some fast paced, furious guitaring, followed by the entry of drumming brilliantly similar to that of “The Prison Song”. It then breaks down into a calm melodic acoustic verse with some brilliant bass and Spanish guitar work. Then returning with a speedy, strong verse, somewhat resembling that of “Question” from their previous album.
The second song “Dreaming” starts with a simple almost techno-like riff, which quickly melds with some rather extreme vocal work, sticking to a quick tempo. After about 2 minutes of the “heavy” bit of the song, the tone changes to a more sombre mood with some great mellow vocals that slowly blends back into the main chorus riff.
Next there’s Kill ‘N Roll. The 30 seconds leave you thinking its one of those SOAD songs, much like “Cigaro” that is pretty good instrumentally but poor lyric wise. But as the first verse comes on you realise that it is actually fairly good, but it has little that makes it stand out from any other song on the album.
Following that there’s “Hypnotize”, the lead single on the album. It starts with a well-paced electro acoustic intro which really is so good I bothered to learn it by ear on my guitar. The tension builds up leading to a fantastic verse, which really shows the political message this album tries to convey. The chorus then follows over into a unconventionally good acoustic guitar solo to finish. This is probably the best song on the album. The only problem is that its only 3 minutes long. If it was only even 45 seconds longer it may have been the song that made SOAD legend.
Next is a song that’s also one of my favourites on the album “Stealing Society”. It’s classic SOAD with a twist. The intro and verses are vocally and instrumentally flawless, but after that it strangely goes into an odd interlude that reminds me slightly of The Ramones. After that it loops back to the intro before ending.
The Track “Tentative” follows. Showing a kind of hybrid between “Soldier Side” (part 1) and “Hypnotize". Its possibly one of the tracks I’d skip if I was in a black mood or didn’t have time.
Following this is “U-Fig”, which pretty much jokes about the propaganda of joining the armed forces, and is a completely new kind of song for SOAD. It leads away for low toned metal to High tone rock. Its shows that the bands versatility and can play a “Heavy” riff with more than 5 notes.
The next track is "Holy Mountains". I’d heard this way back in 2003 as a live one off. Apparently it wasn’t good enough to fit in the Toxicity album. But after a little tampering with the guitars, it sounds like a god. Some well thought out lyrics with a mix of acoustic and drop C guitar work really makes this most likely to be the second single on the album.
“Vicinity of Obscenity”, the next track combines wacky lyrics (the word banana being mentioned 50 odd times in this song) with insane guitar work. It’s a very good track but not one of the best.
Following this there’s “She’s like Heroin”. The intro pretty much sounds like a washing machine gradually powering up, followed by verses that sound rather a lot like “bounce” from the toxicity album, warning of the effects of drug abuse.
“Lonely day” is next, and to be truthful is a bit of a disappointment. The Guitar and Bass work is nothing great and the vocals are probably the most bland one’s I’ve heard in any SOAD song.
I was thinking that the CD was going to come to a weak end with only one track left but the last four minutes of the album are the best. Soldier Side (Part 2) is as you’ve probably guessed a continuation of the original on “Mesmerise”. It starts with a chillingly good guitar riff that from the start lets you know something good is coming, followed by a amazing burst of Spanish guitar work that lead onto the first verses. The song has no set structure as such (e.g. chorus, verses, outro) which makes it pretty unpredictable. It finishes with a repeat of the riff that started the “Mesmerise” album, leaving the CD at a great ending.