It was like six months ago, I was just surfing the internet for some cool stuff and I ended up with a site called www.guitar.com where guitar players from all kind of bands give an explanation about their way of playing and a story how they came up with certain riffs for their own bands. I immediately noticed the episode with Daron Malakian to see what he was about to say. He told us that he actually sees the guitar as the less important instrument in a band and that he actually preferred drums. That was the time that I realized I’d see System of a Down in another perspective as I did before and longed for the new album. That time has come now, finally.
Let’s take a brief history. The band came up with their first record back in 1998 and released the immense popular ‘Toxicity’ album in 2001. They did a lot of performances and looked very tired after the shows. Then, it became quit around this band, until the announcement that they would come up with a 2-disc set. The first one ‘Mezmerize’ and the other one, ‘Hypnotize’ to be released this fall. My first reaction is why they should release this album separately, and let the fans pay twice the full price? After a lot of listening, I’m somehow convinced. Let me explain why.
The cd begins with a brief intro, followed by the first single, B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bombs). This song is typically System of a Down as we know it. The guitar still sounds like a second drums and has also nice loops. Serj Tankian has found ways to use his tremendous voice once again in so many different ways, varying from heavy screaming to little squeezing, freelancing vocals.
Then, the songs are somehow different from what we used to know. Let’s call it experimental, maybe schizophrenic and more in the line of the first record than ‘Toxicity’ but with a lot of melody. Yet, the accent lies on the heavy, fast parts, which make this cd a heavy record. The band is able to first play very hard, fast, slamming riffs and all of a sudden changing into funky, reggae-like dancing sounds. A nice example of this is the song ‘Radio/Video’ that begins with high, slowly notes, then heavy parts followed by a polka-like riff. At first side, it looks a bit awkward, but when taking a closer look, I have to make the conclusion that the different parts perfectly fit together. There is no single moment that I feel annoyed by the music and that is what I would like to describe as the power of System of a Down. There are simply no moments of silence on this cd (like on ‘Toxicity) which means the songs are followed immediately after each other. When a band is able to do something like this, without getting bored, you’ve done a very good job.
I hope that the description of this record, as mentioned above, gives you some kind of an explanation about this piece of work. I know that what I’m about to say right now should be mentioned for every record, but I’d really recommend you to just listen to this cd for a few times and think about what you’ve witnessed. That’s what I did; listen, put it aside and then come up with a thought. This record is just complete; it fits and was everything that I hoped for, and I think a lot of copies will be sold, once again. The last, peacefully, song ‘Lost in Hollywood’ is a perfect solution and gives you the feeling that there will be more to follow soon in the form of ‘Hypnotize’.
My final marks are about the lyrics. They’re funny, serious, political, mysterious and surreal, but most of all, they’re really poetry. And that’s exactly the part where I want to come back on the fact that the 2-discs are being released separately. Every single aspect of this album gives you something to think about and that’s why I believe that releasing the discs separately is a wise decision. The fans should get time to let the songs work on them before getting new material. But then paying twice, please make a nice construction of that. It could make System of a Down legendary.
1. Soldier Side – Intro
6. This cocaine makes me feel like I’m on this song
7. Violent Pornography
9. Sad Statue
10. Old school Hollywood
11. Lost in Hollywood
Serj Tankian: vocals
Daron Malakian: guitar
Shavo Odadjian: bass
John Dolmayan: drums