Hypnotize, System of a Down's new album, and part two of the two album set that also features Mezmerize. The final track on this album "Soldier Side" completes "Soldier Side Intro" which is the opening track on Mezmerize. This is a can't miss album from one of rock's greatest bands.
Closing out the second half of 2005 just as its predecessor Mesmerize
closed out the first, Hypnotize
completes System of a Down's finest hour to date. The two albums form a lean and nearly perfect whole that places this Los Angeles collective in league with the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and Pink Floyd. System has created an enduring body of work that challenges conventional notions about the nature of the contemporary rock album. More practically, they have given listeners a fine second act that attacks and attacks hard, inspiring as much headbanging as vintage Metallica and as thought-provoking as the Minutemen and the Dead Kennedys. (Vocalist Serj Tankian's barbaric yawp sometimes calls to mind head Kennedy Jello Biafra.)
The album's first half features the most brutal, perfect and direct rock n' roll that's come down the old mainstream this year: "Attack," "Kill Rock n' Roll," "Tentative" and "U-Fig" lead the charge while "Holy Mountains" gracefully moves us toward this epic's final challenging moments. Latter tracks such as "She's Like Heroin" (Frank Zappa's idea of The Three Penny Opera) and "Lonely Day" fail to maintain the intensity heard early on but not don't prevent Mesmerize and Hypnotize from coming together as one of the most definitive heavy rock albums of the decade. --Jedd Beaudoin