I'm about to step out for lunch/buy my copy of Mezmerize, and I just stumbled upon this incredible review. I confess, I had a chance to listen to a bootleg copy of the album days before its release, despite my adamant stance on not illegally downloading/copying music. But I gotta say, this guys praises are right on the money. I was indeed Mezmerized. I simply suggest that anyone buying the CD, listen without expectations and you will be blown away. It's not their typical stuff, though it has some of that too. What it is is REALLY GOOD!!! I don't care if your Armenian, not Armenian, democrat, republican, fascist or socialist, there is one undeniable fact about this band that has been proven in their new release: they are incredible musicians that have consistently created new styles of music and continue to innovate while keeping their integrity on so many levels. Ron is right, fans should be thanking them for being the first band in a long time to deliver pure and honest music. Enjoy the review... and go BUY the album... all you Glendale Armenians with your illegal copies can only redeem yourselves buy actually purchasing the CD!
SOUND BITES: Audio reviews
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:21 p.m. ET May 16, 2005
"Mezmerize," System of a Down
One sign that you've got your hands a great album is the fact that you've listened to it three times on the first day and it's not even noon yet. I'm guilty of such activity and it's all System of a Down's fault. The Southern California band's latest album, "Mezmerize," is simply that good.
This is the first of a two-disc "set" (the second disc "Hypnotize" is due to be released in the fall). It covers love, politics and mass media implosion set to the hardest brand of rock you could imagine.
And it is, at times, a stunning work.
You can feel lead singer Serj Tankian's brain spinning in irony on the war-questioning track "B.Y.O.B." as he sings "Everybody's going to the party have a good time/ Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine." This song confronts turmoil in the Middle East, calls leaders to task for sending the poor into battle, and does it all at a breakneck speed that the band is known for.
System of a Down packs a wallop on each track, but stops just short of pointing an accusatory finger in any one particular direction. To do so would pigeonhole them artistically and politically. Rather, they correctly chosen to lay bare a series of emotional vignettes and let listens draw the conclusions.
"Lost in Hollywood" is another great song, an odd homage to Tinseltown and its curious allure that can prove fleeting to failures. "Look at all of them beg to stay/ Phony people come to pray," Tankian sings. His vocals are stellar as usual, only at times giving way to a shrill whine that's a little too close to Les Claypool for comfort.
Guitarist Daron Malakian continues to amaze. One moment he's delivering a scorching lead, and the next he's providing a staccato crunch of guitar so raw that Suicidal Tendencies fans would be proud. How fast can he play? Use your imagination -- then double it.
But here's where the group excels best. It's one thing for an artist to nudge listeners into a certain direction of thought, as Green Day did with the election-timed release "American Idiot." It was a listenable but ham-fisted call to defeat Bush. It's another matter altogether to offer true artistic depiction of the world's political landscape, and not just the landscape you'd like to see flourish.
System of a Down takes the more honest approach, and music fans should thank them.
-- Ron Harris