Sound — 8
This album is much, much different from any of the previous System Of A Down albums. With the origional System Of A Down albums, mainly Toxicity and their self-titled album, there was a clear balance between the melodic style and their more aggressive metal (if you would classify it as that), but with this album there is significantly less agressive metal and way more melodic songs. 2 out of the 11 songs, Byob and Cigaro, can be classified as "heavy," while the rest are more slow paced, melodic heavy, ballad style songs. The guitar playing by Daron has improved tremendously, especially on the melodic songs for example Radio\Video has a very catchy intro riff. He has really improved both his playing and his writing with songs like Question! parts of Byob the riffs are way more advanced than the previous albums. With their heavy songs being a lot more complex and their melodic songs being more than just 4 power chords stacked on top of each other. Shavo has done a good job to keep up with his solid playing from the previous albums and the drums stand out in the verses of most the songs. They took a brave step loosening their style and going for more soft and smooth approach, I personally liked it a lot but some older fans might be dissapointed.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics in this album seemed to be well thought out and they sound amazing. After listening to each song a couple times I found myself very impressed, the chorus's are very catchy, you can instantly fall in love with their songs. The verses fit in well also, they have a nice tune to them and are not just random ramblings to fill in with. If you listen closely you can tell that the lyrics to this album were well thought out, there are no "fillers" that are there just for the purpose of progressing the song, everything is in there for a reason. The lyrics on the melodic songs are very good, the song Lost In Hollywood is one of my favorite slower songs of the album and the lyrics are just amazing. I am a bit dissapointed of the vocals on the album. I was hoping for more of the amazing vocals of Serj but he dosnt stand out as much as I would have liked him to. Daron does a lot more singing in this album, at times I felt like Daron was the lead singer and Serj just filled in as backup, completly the opposite of the previous albums. Daron has a very unique voice, but there was just somthing about Serj singing that cannot be replaced by Daron. This was one aspect that I didnt like.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall I think this album is amazing, it has some small things that I was not too happy about but overall it is a great listen. I would definetly reccomend anybody get this, whether old fans or anybody who wants to just grab somthing good to listen to. Its a much lighter listen than any of the previous albums and that can be either a good thing, or a bad thing. Older listeners as I said before might not like this album but as for everybody else I think you would love this. Compared to the previous albums it is much more melody orientated than the metal style. The balance between the two, like in Toxicity, has somewhat faded and some may like this and others may not. I found Lost In Hollywood, Violent Pornography, Radio\Video, and Question! to be the best songs on the album, most of them are slower songs but they show a lot of great qualities of the music, especially the more melodic side of SOAD. Daron and Serj singing together was pretty good, but this album was much more Daron dominated in my oppinion. I would definatly buy this album, it is a great album, it has the melodic System Of A Down style running through it and it is a very deep album.