Have you ever watched one of those riveting mini-series on TV that goes over 2 nights? You know the ones – they play the first night on a Sunday, and the second part the following Sunday, a week later; you spend the whole week thinking about the first part, and hanging out for the second part, and when you see the second part, you are thankful because you’ve just witnessed one of the marvels of modern entertainment.
When people look back at the music of 2005, I think this is kind of how they will remember System of a Down.
I could be totally overstating the importance of what System have done in 2005, but I don’t think that I am. Look at the similarity: the first part, Mezmerize, comes out in May (read my review here), and redefined the band as we knew them, leaving listeners worldwide hanging out for more, and leaving the international music industry discussing the band, their style, and seculating on what part 2 will be like – will it live up to the hype?
Fast-forward to 6 months later, and the release of Hypnotize, the second part of what System of a Down have tried to do – and now is the moment of truth: have System done what they set out to do?
Musically, not much has changed from Mezmerize – the tunes are still melodic, unique and downright funky in parts. Hypnotize is truly a pleasure to listen to, from the high speed thrash metal in opening track Attack, to the epic beauty of Holy Mountains and personal favourite Hypnotize, to the bizarre tunes in Vicintiy of Obscenity and She’s Like Heroin (a great statement on social standards in general).
Again, just like Mezmerize, the statement the band are attempting to make is stronger than the music itself could be. Where Mezmerize identified the problems with society, politics and the world in general, Hypnotize identifies the faults in man (and woman) themselves. At the end of the day, the only way to release 2 batches of songs which both have different themes and statements to make, is to release 2 separate albums months apart.
The strangest thing about Hypnotize is that he does follow on from Mezmerize, and its possible to listen to both together, but it just doesn’t feel right for some reason – like, tomato sauce and ice-cream, it works, but it just doesn’t feel like it should. This is another reason why both were spaced apart by 6 months, to separate them in the ears of the listeners.
As a stand-alone album, Hypnotize is equal to Mezmerize, and should stake its claim as one of the top albums of the year. My personal favourite tracks are probably Holy Mountains, She’s Like Heroin, and title-track Hypnotize. I give it a strong 8 out of 10.