Sound — 10
The CD has a really incredible hybrid rock-metal sound that explores past the hard rock sound of 'Toxixty' and later 'Steal This Album!' and interludes with a more melodic sound that Mesmerize started to touch on. It still has blistering rock riffs retrospective to the bands self-titled album and Toxicity. It is a CD that you can both listen to when you're in the mood for intense rock ("Attack," "Tentative," "Dreaming") or if you would rather hear a more laid-back, though still trademark, System of a Down sound, in "Lonely Day" or the album-titled "Hypnotize." As well, for the goofy, far-out songs that we have come to expect from SOAD, such as "Kill Rock N' Roll" and "Vicinity Of Obscenity." My first impression of the CD, as a summary, was "Wow, this is the perfect SOAD CD." It combines everything we love about SOAD and proves that System has only gotten better.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics of this particular album are varied. touching on different angles of the political rock lyrics Serj Tankian has given us to this point. The most notable change in the lyrics as compared to past SOAD albums is that Daron Malakian lends his voice to many of the songs. "Lonely Day" and "She's Like Heroin" are solo efforts, and Daron sings along with Serj on "Stealing Society" and "Hypnotize" among others. The general sound of the lyrics is goofy and weird at times, but good overall. Heres a general summary of the songs: 01. Attack - the trademark political rant of SOAD. Sung by Serj primarily, it has the gritty screaming hes renowned for. 02. Dreaming - one of those SOAD songs that makes you question what they're getting at. Its sung mostly by Serj, but Daron sings in it too. It has a more metal sound than the rest of the album, but is nonetheless a great song. 03. Kill Rock N' Roll - one of the more absurd songs on the album. I have no insight as to what it represents, but it is a very catchy and humorous song. When I toss in Hypnotize, I usually skip Attack and Dreaming and go to this song. 04. Hypnotize - the best song on the album (though not my favorite), and rightfully so. Serj and Daron sing in perfect harmony, and the lyrics, though confusing, inspire you to think. The guitar is not the usual C-Tuned rock of SOAD. It is more similar to the finger-picking sound that makes itself evident on songs such as "Roulette" and "Spiders." 05. Stealing Society - a strange song that has really good guitar and drums, and a fairly SOADish, profane bridge at the end that makes you laugh. 06. Tentative - the heaviest song on the album. It is more reminiscent of the earlier SOAD albums, looking back to the C tuning and screaming of Toxicity and Steal This Album! I typically skip past it, as I personally favor the more melodic sounds of Hypnotize and Mesmerize, but my personal opinion or listening consistency do not make it any less of a. 07. U-Fig - a metaphorical rock song that makes you think of songs such as IEAIAO and BYOB. I've heard many accounts of what the story of the song is. U-Fig supposedly stand for You Flag-Waving Ignorant Geeks. 08. Holy Mountains - the longest song musically and the shortest lyrically, it has plenty of instrumental input and repetitiveness. It is definently the most somber song on the album, with a low-key singing part for the vocals, with a semi-screamo chorus. It is laden with a dark gutiar part and throbbing drum part. 09. Vicinity Of Obscenity - wonderfully pointless. 10. She's Like Heroin - the funniest song on the album. It may be a Part Two to Vicinity of Obscenity, considering the lyrics of the two songs. It is an all Daron song, and his high voice seems to fit the part excellently. However, it is a less family-friendly song (to those of you who would actually listen to this CD with you family), and you can skip by it without feeling like you missed too much. 11. Lonely Day - despite the fact that we don't hear Serj sing much, and the fact that Daron obviously doesn't understand basic grammar (the "most lonliest day of my life"), it is still my favorite song on the album. It is a great song to listen to when you are bummed out or tired (at least compared to other songs on the album). Besides, a little bad grammar here and there is hardly an issue in music. If you turn down a song for grammar, you are either an English teacher or a loser. I hate both, myself. 12. Soldier Side - the most meaningful song on the album, and the most easily interpreted. It ties together Hypnotie and Mesmerize, with the SS intro starting off Mesmerize. It is a nice song, sung mainly by Serj, and has the political aspects of War. Hopefully it will become as much of a success in SOAD history as War did.
Overall Impression — 10
A wicked CD, touching on everything we love about SOAD, and stuff we didn't love about them before, but do now. If I had to choose 3 standout songs to let the public know what the album was about Hypnotize, Dreaming, Lonely Day. And by the way, if someone stole this CD from me, I would buy the Hypnotize Mesmerize double pack, and a bunch for my friends.