Thursday, 28 July 2011

System of a Down - Hypnotize (2005)

1. Attack
2. Dreaming
3. Kill Rock 'n Roll
4. Hypnotize
5. Stealing Society
6. Tentative
7. U-Fig
8. Holy Mountains
9. Vicinity of Obscenity
10. She's Like Heroin
11. Lonely Day
12. Soldier Side

Mezmerize Part Two – 6/10

Alternative metal giants System of a Down released two albums in the same year. First came Mezmerize, which is arguably their finest album, and second came Hypnotize… their final album before their long hiatus, which has ended a few weeks before I type this. It certainly matches the success its predecessor had, but does it match its quality?

No. Where Mezmerize sounded new, fresh and inventive, Hypnotize sounds like the band going through the very same motions, with a few exceptions of course. The good side is that the album is not really bad either. It’s actually quite ok from a certain angle. It contains the same formula of wacky, psycho metal as Mezmerize, with perhaps a less slick production. Malakian and the guys give us time to adjust with the bombastic “Attack”, which attacks you right in your face with the blastbeat intro. Its verses are very catchy and melodic, but the chorus is once again aggressive and bombastic. “Dreaming” is equally aggressive and bombastic with blastbeats and all, with a catchy hook hidden within. The middle section features an attempt at en epic bridge; something which works quite well. The shared vocal duties of Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian work remarkably well here, and on “Kill Rock ‘n Roll” as well. The latter track is comparable to the last few tracks of Mezmerize, with a very melodic and light ambience throughout. The title track “Hypnotize” is a lot more ambient and to the point than the tracks before and perfectly paints the face this album is about to adapt.

It is at this point that a few tracks start to become tediously dull and would receive the ‘filler-tag’. This tag will be awarded to: “Stealing Society”, which is a rather standard System song with nothing really memorable except for a short Malakian-rap about halfway through; “Tentative”, which actually reminds of the very first album in its intro, but quickly takes the modern System route; “U-Fig” … just another System song without anything memorable, which by the way also has verses that remind of the debut album; and “She’s Like Heroin”, with highly annoying vocals by Malakian. These songs aren’t necessarily bad, but are dull, unmemorable and forgettable. Furthermore we have System going for longer tracks with epic structures, as previously heard on songs like “Forest”, “Lost in Hollywood” or “Streamline”. This time that song is “Holy Mountains”. The track unmistakably has a killer chord progression as the main theme, but sounds a little forced throughout and never really stands out. “Vicinity of Obscenity” is one of the weirdest songs I ever heard and I wouldn’t know how to describe it. I can just say it’s wicked and features many weird and odd themes that are seemingly impossible to coexist within one song, let alone in less than three minutes. It is one of the few good tracks of the album’s second side though. All that is left now is the very commercial and somewhat tedious single “Lonely Day” and the epic album closer “Soldier Side”, with its strong lyrics.

I don’t want to dedicate more time for this album’s review. It’s pretty much System doing what System does. The result? There’s a few outstanding tracks, a couple of nice songs and a lot of forgettable tracks. I wouldn’t really recommend Hypnotize to anyone unfamiliar with the band. You’d have a better start with Toxicity or Mezmerize. If you know the band this album definitely got some gems on it.

Strongest tracks: “Attack”, “Dreaming”, “Vicinity of Obscenity” and “Soldier Side”.
Weakest tracks: “Stealing Society”, “Tentative”, “U-Fig” and “She’s Like Heroin”.

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