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Mezmerize

System of a Down

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Album Review

Adjectives like "ambitious," "jagged," and "startling" have always defined System of a Down, and their third official full-length is no different. Prerelease, the band described Mezmerize as being the first part — the first side — of what's essentially a double album. The records' packaging would even slot together, making the eventual Mezmerize/Hypnotize whole. Appropriately then, there's an intro to System's first new material since 2001's brilliant Toxicity. On "Soldier Side" Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian harmonize as they do throughout the record, and Malakian's guitar has a mournful, Eastern air. But it's just a lull before "B.Y.O.B.," a thrash assault pierced with rabid and incredulous screams. "Why do they always send the poor?" Suddenly the gears switch, and the song stomps in crunchy half-time as its lyrics riff with a sick grin on cultural ignorance. The government's lying, System's saying, but "Blast off!/It's party time." The vocal exploration between Tankian and Malakian on Mezmerize is a thrill — they spur each other on like a two-headed hardcore hero. Their intermingling voices make "Cigaro" more aggressive, frantic, operatic, and totally bananas; they'd be triumphant over the break in "Violent Pornography" if they weren't spitting out lines like "Choking chicks and s****y." The fantastic "Pornography" is a rusty shiv of absurdity, another example of System's ability to effectively skewer society with little more than hyper guitar, blistering percussion, and weird turns of phrase. Their volatile mix of righteousness, wordiness, odd meters, and thrash has balanced System's activism since their self-titled debut, making them "unique heavy music" over the much more problematic "unique, heavily political music." And Mezmerize doesn't fail to be unique. "Old School Hollywood" essays the bizarre experience of a celebrity baseball game ("Tony Danza cuts in line!") over keyboard effects from "Beat It" and a brutally simplistic rhythm, "This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm on This Song" is more twisted-tongue histrionics and explosive playing, and Tankian and Malakian's harmonies are the catalyst (again!) for making "Revenga" a truly feral epic. System of a Down — what's another adjective for "awesome"?

Customer Reviews

Mezmerizing

System of a Down thrash through a plethora of hard rock riffs and a sizable amount of ballad ready vocals for their self-describing fourth album Mezmerize. Serj Tankian once again delivers stellar vocals, but this time, Malakian joins him, leading the sublime, slow effort "Lost In Hollywood". Sadly, Malakian's vocals are often misplaced, and aside from the aforementioned example, there are few points at where his vocals improve the track. Mezmerize's success however, is derived from a subtle change of style for SoaD, keeping true to their heavy metal speed ("Cigaro", "This Cocaine"), and adding ballad heavy epics ("Lost In Hollywood", "Soldier Side"). But the true winners are the mixed, best-of-both tracks, such as "Question!" and "Revenga", and let's not forget the political rallies that have been toned down, yet not forgotton ("B.Y.O.B.").

Not happy

This album has been remastered an as such has lost it's rawness. It doesn't say anywhere that its the remastered version.
All the songs have been totally changed. It's not the same as I remember and I bought it solely for the nostalgia.... Want my money back.
Oh that's right this is iTunes not an HMV. ;-(

BYOB

Brilliant

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Like many late-'90s metal bands, System of a Down struck a balance between '80s underground thrash metal and metallic early-'90s alternative rockers like Jane's Addiction. Their dark, neo-gothic alternative metal earned a cult following in the wake of the popularity of such likeminded bands as Korn and the Deftones. Vocalist Serj Tankian, guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan formed System of a Down in Southern California in the mid-'90s. They quickly earned...
Full bio
Mezmerize, System of a Down
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal, Hard Rock
  • Released: 14 March 2005
  • Parental Advisory

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