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System Of A Down: Mezmerize

The newest release by System Of A Down is quite impressive. You might be asking how much so- well, for starters I was never more than a casual fan of this band. I found some stuff just OK to me, never really enjoyed the earlier releases or found them appealing. However, once I placed Mesmerize in the CD player I was floored by the production and delivery of the piece. As a matter of fact I am on listen three and am clearly heading for listen four. Overall this piece is explosive Metal and is also a lot of fun to listen to. The CD begins with a slow harmony laden "Soldier Side", and once "B.Y.O.B." kicks in your head will be banging. There are a lot of expletives in the CD, and while I am not a fan of censoring music or Artists I do think younger listeners should run this one by their folks first.

My favored tracks are clearly not radio material and I will be honest with you, conventional radio no longer matters to me. I feel with Satellite, Internet and Cable radio feeds that play Metal music and don't edit or bleep certain aspects of the track will help to keep this piece in the public eye. "Cigaro" is an interesting piece that shows how powerful the musicianship is in SOAD. Beginning like a Death Metal song it jumps into a totally different feel with some terribly funny lines. I laughed out loud when it ran. "Violent Pornography" is similar in its suggestive content but shows a side of these players that prove not only are they skilled but also capable of delivering humor in their content. You might hear "B.Y.O.B." on the radio but it will get bleeped. Tracks like "Sad Statue" and "Radio/Video" are more "Air-Friendly" and perhaps gain these guys some chart position.

Malakian, Tankian, Doadjian, and Dolmayan have succeeded in converting me to their sound. Many interesting vocal harmonies are present and while one review listed them as the heavy metal version of Queen, I tend to disagree on that. There is something special in the band and is easy to find with this CD. Mesmerize will have a companion piece released sometime at the end of the Summer showing that the group had enough material to give their fans as much as possible. I totally recommend this piece.

Track Listing
1) Soldier Side - Intro
2) B.Y.O.B.
3) Revenga
4) Cigaro
5) Radio/Video
6) This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song
7) Violent Pornography
8) Question!
9) Sad Statue
10) Old School Hollywood
11) Lost In Hollywood

Added: July 1st 2005
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: System of a Down Website
Hits: 3475
Language: english

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System Of A Down: Mezmerize
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-07-01 14:33:05
My Score:

Serj Tankian recently told Rolling Stone magazine that his band, System of a Down, writes "long progressive rock in a three-minute-song format." And on Mezmerize, that's exactly what the ethnically diverse quartet does. Almost. These eleven songs clock in at about 36 minutes and combine rock, metal, prog and funk. While the music boasts plenty of diversity, the politically charged lyrics bite down hard. "B.Y.O.B.," a rebel song disguised as a catchy alt-rock tune, attacks the Bush Administration for its rosy vision of the war in Iraq ("Everybody's going to the party/Have a real good time/Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine ... And where the fuck are you?/Why don't presidents fight the war?/Why do they always send the poor?"). "Violent Pornography" manages to make a grim statement about mainstream society with lyrics that include little more than "Everybody, everybody, everybody sucks," and "Sad Statue" laments what the band considers to be the demise of America. But SOAD also leaves room for fun and games. Tarkanian's voice takes on a funny falsetto on "Cigaro" (use your imagination) and "Radio/Video" mocks pop culture's flavor-of-the-month obsession. Producer Rick Rubin proves himself once and for all as one of the all-time greats, having handled both Johnny Cash and these twisted, pissed-off geniuses with equal aplomb. Finally, America's mainstream music audience gets a record that really matters. Here's hoping Hypnotize, this album's other half that is slated for release in late summer or early fall, proves just as mesmerizing.

System Of A Down: Mezmerize
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-06-12 10:06:41
My Score:

The long anticipated follow up to Toxicity succeeds on many levels for this talented and diverse band. Mixing elements of speed metal, thrash, nu-metal, funk, pop, dance, punk, and even a little prog-metal, System of a Down have created a varied amalgam of politally fueled tunes that have a little something for everyone. "B.Y.O.B." is the first single, and is a lethal piece that is as humorous as it is rampaging in its intensity. Guitarist Daron Malakian has much more of a vocal presence on this one, and his style and sound is completely different from Serj Tankian, which adds a neat element to most of the songs. There's plenty of meaty grooves and powerful galloping riffs, with most of the tracks proceeding at a breakneck pace. The lyrics to a song like "Cigaro" are just hilarious..."My &%#* is much bigger than yours, My *&^#@ can walk right through the door...", and the musical accompaniment that goes along with it is intricate, intense, and pummeling. Other standout cuts are the heavy "Revenga", the catchy David Bowie-meets-ska of "Radio/Video", and the bizarro "Lost in Hollywood". The only real drawback here is the short length of the CD, which is barely 40 minutes.

I think the reason SoaD are so popular, and will probably have a long life as a band, is that their music is so different and so varied-they easily appeal to the metal crowd, as well as fans of hardcore/punk, even the avant-garde or prog fanbase. Mezmerize is a fun CD, and fans can look forward to Part 2 which will be released later in the year.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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