Sound — 10
System Of A Down's guitar parts are always very straightforward, but never lame somehow. They always amaze me how they can take simplicity, add drums and a bass and turn it into something that sounds awesome. Daron's deep, grinding guitar sound coupled with John's godly drumming make every riff sound so much better. They seem to be going in the same direction as they did with Toxicity, except for a bit more complex with a few new sounds added (i.e. polka on "Radio/Video") and a surprisingly nice finish with a brilliant slow song, "Lost In Hollywood." Sounds better than ever.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are much different this time around, since Daron Malakian wrote most of the lyrics. You can definately tell which songs Serj helped to write or completely wrote himself because they sound a lot like Toxicity. You can hear delibrate attempts to rhyme and/or fill the CD (i.e. "Sad Statue," "Violent Pornography," certain spots throughout the album), not to mention in my opinion very weak lyrics on "Byob" and "Revenga," and the very pointless "Soldier Side."
Overall Impression — 10
There is no comparing SOAD to other artists, they are very unique and will continue to blow todays music out of the water no matter how freaky they get. The most impressive songs from the album are: Cigaro, Question! and Lost In Hollywood. Things I love are the signature sound that never disappoints. One thing I don't like is the obvious attempts throughout this CD to hit mainstream. They need to just let it flow and have mainstream come to them like it did on Toxicity. I'd also like to see less of Daron Malakian's ego getting in the way in the future, and more Serj Tankian at frontman. I look forward to Hypnotize, hope it doubles this one.