Sound — 10
System Of A Down has committed the ultimate sin. Since their debut, their music has increased in quality and inventiveness, has become widely popular among a Variety Of Audiences, and Consequently, each CD is more successful than the last. And while I have no problem doubting that Hypnotize might be their most successful disc yet, I cannot say it is their best. However, this does not make it a strong effort. The production of the album is great as every instrument is easily heard and the musical tag team of Serj and Daron sound better than ever. Everything you've come to expect from System Of A Down: the crunchy riffs, the rapid tempo changes, the groovy passages, and the great instrumental breaks are all there for you to feast your ears on. In the universal music spectrum, it's a great album. But compared to System's other stuff, I'm not so sure.
Lyrics — 9
This is the tragic flaw of Hypnotize. The delivery of the lyrics is amazing, as the harmonizing between Serj and Daron is used much more and suits every piece of music well, but the words themselves seem rushed and stereotypical. "We're going down/In a spiral to the ground," while delivered brilliantly in the song "Tentative," is a common end rhyme that's been heard approximately ninety thousand times in the last ten years. However, they're done so well between the two singers that I cannot bring myself to offer any less than a 9.
Overall Impression — 9
This CD does not compare to any other artists as System Of A Down's sound is done so uniquely that they may only be compared with themselves. Unfortunately, this might be System's biggest obstacle. This album seems to flow less than their previous releases. One thing I appreciate about this album is SOAD's courage with venturing into somewhat unknown territory. They've become much more melodic this album and have a couple instrumental breaks (my favorite featured in the middle of the self-titled track) that are amazingly well crafted, and even feature a choral accompaniment in one of the songs. Their political viewpoint is still in tact as heard with, "Where do you expect them to go when the bombs fall?" It was just a hard pill to swallow when I find myself unable to get as "in to" a song as before. As if the hard parts were plenty loud but unable to mosh to. This change might make many people uncomfortable but I happen to like it. They're still a superb band with an amazing sound, even if I don't feel Hypnotize is up to snuff with their previous efforts. I'm sure it will grow on me as I listen more. And even if it doesn't, this album did not disappoint in a musical sense. Realistically, my expectations for System Of A Down are way too high. If this CD were lost, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. Only, I doubt it would get lost because it's going to be lodged into my CD player for a while.