System of a Down
Mezmerize


4.5
superb

Review

by David Driver USER (79 Reviews)
March 20th, 2010 | 98 replies | 3,348 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Stylized, high-quality metal that has a resounding element of fun, fun, fun.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

I’ll admit that I initially felt bad for System of a Down back when they debuted in 1998, since their strong, stylistic metal sound was originally lumped under the nu metal genre alongside Limp Bizket, Korn, and all those other rap metal clowns. But after two terrific albums and one satisfying b-side collection, they easily broke free of the false label and continued to evolve their own unique sound. The band’s talent arguably peaked in 2005 when they released their third album, Mezmerize, and the effort stands to be not only one of the strongest metal offerings of that year, but arguably one of the best of the entire decade.

What makes System of a Down so appealing, in my mind, is their ability to create catchy, crushing metal songs. Tracks like “B.Y.O.B.”, “Revenga” and “Sad Statue”, for example, showcase the band’s impressive talent to make a catchy and memorable song through a parade of thick, de-tuned guitar riffs. The band’s unique style, which effortlessly nests elements of melody and catchy choruses within a slew of barrelling riffs, is infectious beyond belief. “Question!” also perfectly exemplifies the band’s inhibited, flowing approach to song writing, as the song seamlessly weaves in and out of 5/8, 6/8 and 9/8 time signatures, all the while maintaining a logical, organic coherence.

Another large part of Mezmerize’s success is that the band’s trademark quirkiness is not lost on them here, and I’d go as far to say that it sounds just as natural as ever. While “This Cocaine…” showcases the group’s full-fledged zany side, most songs incorporate it flawlessly without it sounding too forced: “Radio/Video” showcases a polka/ska interlude before finishing off with a barrage of kooky la-la-la’s, while the circus themes of “Cigaro” perfectly accommodates the song’s outrageous fun and boisterous lyrics. “Violent Pornography” has a bizarre rapid-fire vocal delivery in the verses that strangely accommodates the eccentric nature of the song, and “Old School Hollywood” has an uncharacteristic techno feel that accents the tongue-in-cheek feel. It’s these features of the songs that make them the most memorable, and these elements still are fun to listen to even after five year’s time.

But the absolute smartest thing the band did for Mezmerize, hands down, was give guitarist Daron Malakian a greater share of the vocal duties: he and Serj Tankian are perfect together, as Daron’s higher registry really emphases the melodic character of the vocal lines when he sings back-up (eg. the chorus of B.Y.O.B.), and the two singers also do a fantastic job of playing off each other (eg. verses of Cigaro and Radio/Video). Daron also comes into the forefront and hits it out of the park with “Lost In Hollywood”, as his sullen delivery and bittersweet lyrics capture the tone of the song impeccably.

While all of System of a Down’s pervious attempts were excellent efforts, you can make a case that they were trying just a bit too hard to be unorthodox at times, and that took just a little fun out of it. Mezmerize, however, really shows the band at it’s best, with the marriage of their eccentric personality and incredible song writing that just comes off as genuine and natural. Mezmerize is a solid effort that has incredible longevity thanks to it’s lasting stylistic elements and overall terrific sense of fun and playfulness, and only time will tell if it, along with the band, proves to be a strong influence for the next generation of metal music to come.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
March 20th 2010



70621 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

crapper, nice review

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

tiesthatbind
March 20th 2010



7371 Comments


Never could get into these guys. Good review.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



17200 Comments


can't stand this shit

Relinquished
March 20th 2010



24478 Comments


ehhhh

Gyromania
March 20th 2010



15202 Comments


Agree with Adam- this shit is boring as hell.

Lunarfall
March 20th 2010



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, but this just doesn't compare to their first 2.

Hyperstation
March 20th 2010



146 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, but this just doesn't compare to their first 2.


123 man

sniper
March 20th 2010



19000 Comments


Review was good, album sucks.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

LepreCon
March 20th 2010



3607 Comments


BYOB just slays though

Mags172
March 20th 2010



127 Comments


I liked this album a whole lot when I was still into system of a down, but now I just can't really listen to it. It sounds so mediocre when I do.

LepreCon
March 20th 2010



3607 Comments


It's the shit when I'm in the mood for some System, but the first two are way better

Greggers
March 20th 2010



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review and album

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



15341 Comments


this album is so fucking good.

Digging: Astronauts - Hollow Ponds

tiesthatbind
March 20th 2010



7371 Comments


^Happy Gilmore ftw.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



15341 Comments


yeah i felt it was time for an avatar and profile change

tiesthatbind
March 20th 2010



7371 Comments


I'm considering it... maybe it's been Hayley for long enough.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



15341 Comments


^ there's no such thing as too much haley.

tiesthatbind
March 20th 2010



7371 Comments


Very true.

bloozclooz
March 20th 2010



1770 Comments


dear lord i love these guys. scars on Broadway was bull compared to this. also, their self titled probably is 50X times better. still good though

nice review and all that

shindip
March 20th 2010



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review/album etc...



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