Sound — 9
Wat a difference a slight change in guitar tuning makes? This album is tuned half a step higher than previous SOAD. Now wat this does it make it much more clear, and you can hear the guitar parts more clearly. This makes it much easier to listen to than say toxicity or SOAD. The styles are so varied its just amazing. Theres folk, pop, numetal, middle eastern, funk! All blended to perfection. This ofcourse is part two of Mezmerise/Hypnotize. It is as good and if not better than the Mezmerise album. Put them together and you get a goliath of an album! This album is truly original, if you're not a SOAD fan you will be. Believe me. I'm speaking from experience. Fans should enjoy, I consider myself a fan now as I went back and listened to Toxicity and their debut. What's funny is that I hated Toxicity before, but after listening to this and Mezmerise, my ears must have been desensitised.
Lyrics — 9
General silly, and poetic lyrics you would expect from SOAD. Tracks like 'Hypnotize', 'Soldier Side', 'Dreaming' to name a few, having some really thought provoking lyrics. Hypnotise: ' I'm just sitting in my car and waiting for my girl' obviously making fun of the americanized culture of sit and wait. The singing is unbelievable. The way Serj and Daron's harmonies fit in unison is astonishing. Check out 'Soldier Side' if you don't belive me. Worst lyrics on 'Lonely Day' but it don't matter 'cause it's a blazing song! Maybe the biggest downside (so everyone says, and I have to agree) is the way Serj is not such a dominating factor anymore, voice and lyrics wise. It seems that Daron sabotaged Serj's microphones after he left the studio and cranked up his own voice to 10. Even when Daron is singing in the background of the majority of the songs, you hear his voice as if he wants to be the centre of attention. Don't get me wrong, Daron does a brilliant job on 'Lonely Day'. But Serj's voice is what identifies SOAD. Like Liam Gallagher for Oasis or Axl Rose for Guns 'N Roses.
Overall Impression — 10
Compared to Toxicity and their self-titled debut, it's better in some ways and worse in others. The main downfall is the backseat Serj has taken on this album (and Mezmerise). Not as heavy as previous, but that isnt a bad thing, you are left migraine free.