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System of a Down: Hypnotize

System of a Down continues to raise the bar of modern avant-garde metal with Hypnotize, the sequel, or part two, of Mezmerize, released just a few months prior. The great thing about System of a Down is their unique sound-no one making albums today sounds anything like them. While Hypnotize is not as instantly accessible or memorable as Mezmerize, this is certainly a little heavier and more bombastic. Songs like the metal fury of "Attack", or the Queen-meets-Slayer vibe of "Dreaming" mixes well with the more humorous and politically tinged numbers like "Kill Rock N Roll" or the pummeling hardcore soaked mayhem of "Stealing Society". There's also plenty of ballsy, catch hard rock tunes here, like "Tentative" and the title track, both of which use the vocals of Serj Tankian and guitarist Daron Malakian perfectly. Each member sounds quite different from each other, which makes their vocal lines clash yet mesh so well, giving each song a unique sound.

Lyrically this one's all over the map as one would expect from the band. Songs like "Vicinity of Obscenity" (this tune needs to be heard to be believed!) or "U-Fig" would even make Frank Zappa smile were he alive today, and "She's Like Heroin" covers the other end of the spectrum dealing with some pretty ugly and serious topics. However, this album's "Ariel" comes in the form of "Holy Mountains", a monolithic and heavy number featuring crushing guitar riffs, plenty of atmospherics, and Tankian's histrionic vocals. Fans of textured and emotional rock and even prog rock would probably find interest in the last two tracks, the somber "Lonely Day" and the ethnic sounding "Soldier Side", both which feature emotional vocals and great guitar work from Malakian.

As with most of System of a Down's albums, it will take a few listens for it all to sink in. This is pretty avant-garde and offbeat stuff, but honestly, these guys are just so far out there and inventive that you have to give them tons of credit. Check it out and see what all the fuss is about.

Track Listing
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

Added: January 4th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: System of a Down Website
Hits: 3761
Language: english

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