Sound — 10
SOAD have changed so much. They have changed tuning from drop C to drop Db. This may not seem like a hell of a lot, but it sure as hell has a massive effect on the sound. Daron has also started using a Gibson SG as opposed to the old Ibanez Iceman. Again, this has had a huge effect on the sound. The thing is, this is System at their best. The tuning makes it sound more melancholy, which they pull off with great precision. The SG at first I found hard to believe (the Iceman was just so much cooler) but I now really want one as it just makes a really crisp sound. The opening (Soldier Side) is one of the most beautiful intros I have ever heard on an album. This ends on a siren and then one of the highlights of the album, Byob, which combines disco grooves with hard rocking. Other highlights include Revenga (great verses, solo and heroic outro), Sad Statue (so fast, then changes tempo like a gunshot, sounds great) and the album's sad finale, Lost In Hollywood (guitar playing is so precise, does it so well). Don't get me wrong, the other songs are absolutely brilliant, I just really wanted to mention these ones.
Lyrics — 10
Daron wrote most of the lyrics on this album. I've heard so many people complaing about this, as they say that the lyrics don't have as much of an impact as when Serj wrote them, and they aren't as meaningful. They must have had a huge impact if this many people are talking about it. If anything they are more meaningful. They are more straightforward which means that more people will understand them, which means people will get the true meaning of the songs, and maybe this will make them appreciate them more. My favourite for lyrics would probably be Cigaro, as it is just so funny, pure SOAD. Daron has a great voice, and he is great in the bridge for Byob. Serj is also brilliant, and people should stop complaining about lyrics and think about how great they are.
Overall Impression — 10
This is easily one of the best albums I have ever heard, it is certainly the best by SOAD by far. I love everything about it, it is so cool. Buy it now!