Sound — 10
System's sound has definately changed quite a bit for this newest installment. Mezmerize combines the schizophrenia of their self-titled debut and the harmonic melodies of Toxicity and Steal This Album. I think it is safe to say that most of the melodies are absolutely beautiful (i.e. Lost In Hollywood, Question!, Sad Statue). Most of these melodies are accomplished by Daron and Serj harmonizing in perfect sync. Their voices are so different, but blend together perfectly and sometimes it is hard to pick out their individual voices. As you all have heard, Daron does alot more singing in Mezmerize. In the songs Old School Hollywood and Lost In Hollywood Serj sings backup. However, I did not feel this took anything away from Serj or the overall sound of the album. Daron's guitar playing has improved 10-fold. His riffs are fast and powerful. John's drumming seems about the same, with his usual bouncy style. Where the album lacks is bass. The bass isn't bad, but doesn't stand out. Daron and Serj are the stas of this album. System is never afraid to take risks, and the changes from System of a Down to Mezmerize are great, but work perfectly.
Lyrics — 8
Daron wrote most of the lyrics for Mezmerize. I have heard lots of people complain about System being too political. While there is the political element (Byob, Cigaro), social commentaries seem to dominate the lyrics. Everything from the effect of the media on society (Violent Pornography) to the glorifaction of Hollywood (Old School Hollywood, Lost In Hollywood). And of course the obscure metaphors are back with a vengeance (Cigaro, This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song). I particularly like the deep philosphical questions: "Do we know when we fly?" (Question!), "What is it in us that turns deaf ears to the sound of human suffering?" (Sad Statue). The lyrics are well written but don't exactly stand out from any of their previous albums. But the way Daron and Serj sing them adds so much to their meaning.
Overall Impression — 10
I think Mezmerize is one of System's best works. It wasn't quite as strong as Toxicity, but is still one hell of a buy. My favorite songs are BYOB, Revenga, Radio/Video, This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song, Question!, and Sad Statue. However, at just over 36 minutes long, it felt like it was missing its second have, which fortunately is coming out sometime this fall. I highly reccomend this album to any System fan, or new fan looking for some great new music.