Sound — 10
The first time I heard System, I just fell in love with the sound. There wasn't really anything else like them around, and so I was drawn to their art. Following their growth through the years, I must say that Hypnotise is 100% System! Their creative guitar fiffs and simply the way they put it all together keeps you hooked. It's the perfect follow-up to mesmerize. A lot of people say it doesn't come close, but my 2 cents is, if they had put all the song on a single cd it would sound complete. They have definitely stayed true to what the System sound is all about (I've heard Daron say their music is in no way Armenian, but wherever they get their influence, Hypnotise and their other albums are grade A).
Lyrics — 10
When I first heard Mesmerize, I thought, what's this dude (Daron) doing singing? But 1/2 way through, I realised that his voice goes well with the sound and with Serj's. Daron's voice holds sort of an eerie element to it (he sound almost like the guitar sometimes)but I'm glad that he decided to start singing. The lyrics on Hypnotise, are as metaphoric and to the point as System gets. A lot of them are silly too, but they've always had silly songs on all their cds. "Banana terracotta pie", and "do we all learn defeat from the whores with bad feet" are some fo the silly stuff they say (and that's only from one song). The lyrics, their voices, and the music are very well incorpoated though. Daron's voice give "welcome to the the soldier side" an eerie appeal of loss and sadness, that makes the song a great rock ballad. The fact that not only Serj is writing the lyrics now, does not detract from or 'soften up' their music, it's just as out there and controversial as ever. Soldier Side: "he's gone so far to find the truth, he's never going home", about all the soldiers that have died. Dreaming: "you went beyond, and you lost it all, why did you go there" obviously about the Bush war. And Attack which is about the wrongs of urbanisation, harming the environment, and the obvious title "attack" (the war in Iraq) 'breathing each other's lies, the bombing of all homes and villages, bleeding 'til the day that we attack'. They have always showed how the system is going down.
Overall Impression — 10
For me it was excellent listening, and definitely lives up to its hype. Lots of people say that their sales are proof of how bad the album is, but I disagree. The fan who sees how much they've grown, and how much more comfortable they are with their art, will appreciate Hypnotise for the creativity that it is. I love that Daron is able to give show fans what he's capable of. I think the fact that he got a chance to do that shows how comfortable they are with what they do as a group. I didn't know he was so creative. Who knows, maybe John or Shavo will get to show their own on the next album. I'm open to anything they do, so long as they keep their lyrics true to what they are. I hate the fact that some people give this album such a hard time. If you haven't heard it, get it for yourself and don't let someone else's opinion affect your buying it. Buy! Buy! Buy! Get one! Get two! in case you lose one.