Since the release of their brilliantly original self-titled masterpiece in 1998 System of a Down have been redefining the metal genre. With 2 masterpieces (S/T, Toxicity), a brilliant 'B-Sides' Album and one-half of a 2-disc release under their belt, System of a Down have once again shown that no other band in the world sounds like them, with the release of Hypnotize.
The original track listing for Hypnotize had SOAD opening with an instrumental piece, but decided to go for a heavier opening in Attack. A fast guitar riff is followed by fast drumming and pounding bass to open the album before the verse slows before leading into the chorus. The song overall is heavy and a good way to start the album but overall not a highlight of the album with a repetitive chorus. Daron sings the verses, with Serj harmonising (Mezmerize anyone?) but Serj does take a more major role throughout the chorus and the interludes.
SOAD seem to have found some of their 'originalí song writing abilities back, with the verses in this song. This is a great song, with a great chorus, with Serj the main vocalist here. The verses are fast and frantic with hard riffs and fast drumming before the chorus uses power chords, which Daron seems to use a lot in the last few albums. Daron also does a great job on the interlude. A good listen.
Kill Rock 'N Roll
Here we come across one of the strongest songs on the album, which has been played live for a number of months, resulting in many bootleg copies. The song is superb overall, great guitar riffs in this one; Daron has definitely improved since Mezmerize. A catchy chorus, 'I felt like the biggest a**hole when I killed Rock n Roll'. A short song, clocking in less than 3 minutes but a classic and this will become a live favourite, if it already isn't.
The first single from the album and overall not a bad song, considering it is one of the more commercial releases from Hypnotize. The song itself, isnít very heavy and the guitar riffs can get repetitive. The lyrics are done well by both Serj and Daron. The drumming is fairly simple, considering John's abilities shown in Toxicity. A good choice for a single but definitely not the best on the album.
This is probably the weakest song on the album, repetitive lyrics and the same guitar riffs used over and over. The drumming is probably the highlight with John keeping beat superbly. The lyrics are definitely shocking, with Daron almost rapping his parts with very predicable lyrics that don't sound like SOAD at all.
A great intro to this song, very heavy guitar backed up by terrific drumming. This is one the better songs on the album with very 'SOAD like' verses and a great lead up into an emotional chorus by Serj, 'No one gonna save us now, not even God'. A great interlude, with some of the hardest hitting lyrics on the album, 'Where do you expect them to go when the bombs fall?í An extremely political song, but is pulled off supremely.
If someone said this song was off SOAD's self titled release it would be hard to say otherwise a short song, hard riffs, extremely fast verses, unusual lyrics 'melt in the sun' with a slow almost classical interlude on guitar by Daron. Not a very commercial release but this song is a good listen and is reminiscent of SOAD's earlier songs.
This song has also been played live by System of a Down, but comes up short to the album version. This is SOAD's attempt at pulling off a longer song, clocking in at 5:28 (long for SOAD), and it is pulled off amazingly. Definitely one of the best songs on the album, which is good because this song could have been over-produced. Beautiful guitar intro by Daron and distorted vocals by Serj, which is strange because SOAD donít normally use a lot of vocal effects. The chorus is sung passionately by Serj yelling 'Freedom'. The song shows SOAD's typical change of pace with the song speeding up in the interlude leading into the final chorus, with the song fading out with Serj humming. A great song and a SOAD masterpiece.
Vicinity of Obscenity
Another short song again very reminiscent of SOAD's self-tilted album with the weirdest lyrics on the album. This song may be called a filler, but I think it is one of the more interesting songs on the album with Serj's weird lyrics working brilliantly. The guitar riffs are fast and Daron is given a break from singing on this song, which works with Serj showing his amazing vocal range. This is the last song that would be released as a single but definitely one of the more interesting on the album and really reflects SOAD's earlier work.
She's Like Heroin
This is a mainly Daron-affair, but is definitely disappointing. Very unusual guitar sounds and Daron's voice is very whiny, and definitely needs Serj more in the verses and the chorus. The lyrics are also disappointing, and Daron's humming definitely does not have the same affect as Serj.
This seems like a follow-up to the ballad Lost in Hollywood on Mezmerize, but is definitely not up to the same standard, although is a good song. The guitar is amazing throughout, and lyrics are about a 'lonely day' that Daron has experienced. The highlight of the song is Daron's and Serj's harmonising during the second chorus, 'If you die, I want to die with you'. The song features a fully-fledged guitar solo by Daron that is a skill rarely used in SOAD songs. Overall this is a good listen, but doesnít live up the Lost in Hollywood.
Another superb song and one of the best on Hypnotize. A song about soldiers leaving to go to war. This definitely has some of the most emotional and best written lyrics on the
album. 'They were crying when their sons left, God was wearing black'. This is a very touching song and shows SOAD's softer side. Some great guitar work is done by Daron and a 'rolling' bass riff is used by Shavo who is rarely heard on this album. This song leads into Soldier Side Intro on Mezmerize, which doesnít really make sense seeing that Mezmerize was released before this album. This song is definitely one of the most emotional songs that SOAD have written and is one of the best listens on Hypnotize and a great way the end the album.
Hypnotize is a solid release and a superb follow-up to Mezmerize. This album is definitely better than Mezmerize, but is not in the same league as 'System of a Down' or 'Toxicity'. The albums strong points include better guitar riffs by Daron compared to Mezmerize, and Daron seems to sing less and when he sings he fits in better than in Mezmerize. The songs are definitely better overall than the commercial songs that filled up Mezmerize. This album is definitely better than Mezmerize on the whole, and is one the best Metal releases of 2005 to date, it is a must have for not only System of a Down fans but music fans everywhere.