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Old 20.11.2005, 05:49   #1
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Default SYSTEM OF A DOWN - HYPNOTIZE the Sun

The Sun, UK
November 18, 2005

SYSTEM OF A DOWN - HYPNOTIZE


SYSTEM Of A Down are the most important band in rock music today -
the absolute antithesis of overblown artists who stand for nothing,
and care little for their audiences.

With the release of the album Mezmerize and now its second part
Hypnotize, they have moved the musical goalposts so far apart it's
hard to see anyone ever being able to unite them again.

They are politically aware, musically inventive, uncompromising, and
a naturally amazing rock band on top of it all.

They are a protest band in the mould of Public Enemy, challenging
their fans to care about everything from who they vote for to
environmental issues without ever preaching or patronising.

Perhaps it's their unlikely part-Armenian, part-Californian mix that
ensures a kitchen sink approach to their music. Everything's here.
The ferocious opening riff of Attack gives way quickly to a folk-like
lullaby, then swings violently back again into thrashing rock. There
are massive pop choruses breaking out from the unlikeliest of places.
Vocalist Serj Tankian has an ability to swing between styles with
ease, sweetly delivering the softer parts and in the next breath
unleashing blood-curdling screams.

On Hypnotize they again raise the bar a notch. It's as catchy as
anything gracing the charts today, only instead of being
directionless, it's direct and urgent. The lightest of vocal lines
over chugging guitars and furious drums litter each track.

These albums are a two-part journey, but stand alone as singular
works of genius.

Melody collides with aggression again on Hypnotize. Honesty, loyalty
to their fans, getting people thinking about the world we live in
while making awesome rock records. It doesn't get any better.
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Old 20.11.2005, 07:43   #2
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[качаем] SOAD - Hypnotize!
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Old 21.11.2005, 00:50   #3
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So this is it - the second half of System Of A Down's
Mezmerize/Hypnotize double album (or "two album set' as they call it)
- and it's got a hell of a lot to live up to. Fans of Mezmerize will
be wanting more of the same, others will be hoping for music that
harkens back to the less eclectic metal assault of Toxicity. Either
way, it has to be good enough to justify selling this as two albums,
rather than one double - good enough to justify both the cost and the
six month wait.

That's a lot of pressure - and God only knows how they've done it,
but System have delivered, and in doing so have given us one of the
great rock double albums of all time.

It all starts with the ritual of interlocking the two specially
designed digi-packs together into one casing, which is hugely
satisfying in itself. A minute is spent wondering whether you can
still get the Mezmerize lyric book into its pocket (you can) before
it's time to step, with trepidation and excitement into the mad, mad
world of Hypnotize.

So - first impressions are that Hypnotize does have more of the
classic (read pre-Mezmerize) SOAD sound to it. The machine-gun riff
that launches Attack makes way for a suitably epic pattern of
melancholy breaks and ferocious speed-metal. Dreaming shifts things
up yet another gear with a bonkers `if Handel did metal' vocal
arrangement and vintage System sing-a-long chorus.

The furiously infectious punk blast of Kill Rock n' Roll leads us to
the single and title track which is almost like a pause for breath
amidst the rest of the insanity on offer. Stealing Society is another
insanely catchy punk anthem, surely a future gig favourite -with the
second half of the song riding on a surf-punk wave that puts Green
Day to shame whilst remaining determinedly SOAD.

Compared to Mezmerize, Hypnotize is certainly a bit more melancholy
and less wacky overall, with many more serious moments amidst the
madness. The influence of traditional Armenian music plays a stronger
part than ever before - if anything it's now a completely inseparable
part of the System sound. I could point at U-Fig, Soldier Side or
Holy Mountains as examples but it pervades and enhances the whole
album.

If there's less moments of utter absurdity, then those that remain
are easily equal to previous oddities. Serj's machine-gun
"eat-em-eat-em-eat-em-eat-em' on U-Fig and Daron yelling "ass!'
throughout She's like Heroin are inspired moments of silliness, but
they don't even come close to Vicinity of Obscenity, probably
System's daftest song to date. The Gong-play-metal psychedelic goblin
yelps of "banana-banana-banana-terracotta-pie!' dance manically into
all manner of evil noises before diving into System's poppiest chorus
ever, which comes somewhere between the song from Different Strokes
and a Jackson 5 take on the Hill Street Blues theme. Only System
could make it work, and it's brilliant.

The final three songs of the album are all from the pen of guitarist
Daron Malakian, the key architect of the Mezmerize/Hypnotize project.
The pace gradually eases down, and the album comes full circle - the
very end of Lonely Day echoes the build-up to B.Y.O.B., and the
beautiful Soldier Side returns to the refrain that opened Mezmerize
all those months ago. It's a familiar trick but when the songs in
question are this good it works a treat.

It's a suitably epic close to twelve fantastic songs, and it's a
fantastic close to an incredible double album. Against all odds, the
completed Mezmerize/Hypnotize project is actually greater than the
sum of its parts - in fact it quickly becomes impossible to think of
it as anything else than one epic piece of work.

As a result, reviewing Hypnotize on its own is pretty much an
irrelevance. Mezmerize/Hypnotize is the sound of a band that has
shaped its own distinctive sound so well that they could record an
album of folk music or seventies funk and it would still just feel
like System Of A Down. I'll go even further - this is perhaps the
finest, and most important heavy metal album of the twenty-first
century so far. Only history will confirm or deny that but really,
what are you waiting for? This is the sound of the past, present and
future of rock music, all stuffed into a ballistic missile cruising
at 200mph over the Black Sea - and it's headed right over here.
Enjoy.

- Chris Ingold
musicOMH.com, UK
Nov 20 2005
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