System Of A Down

Reviewed by: Al Shipley
Reviewed on: 2005-12-14

Posted 12/14/2005 - 11:22:49 AM by gnarles:
 I would say "Hypnotize" is a little bit stronger than "Mesmerize", but it seldom matters since both of them are so incredibly flawed and annoying. Like many, I have speculated on what these two albums would sound like edited together with the bad tracks tossed out ("Galvanize", I might call it, with a twinge of hope), but in the end it would still suffer from the same problems that plagued them individually: Daron Malakian's pinched, annoying howl and the excessively pro-tooled, compressed production and mixing. The former is System's fault (Malakian's ego is simply out of control - he's even credited above Tankian in the liner notes, for Christ's sake) while the latter is surely the fault of an increasingly uninspired Rick Rubin ("Make Believe", anyone?) and Andy Wallace. I never dreamed System Of A Down would sound like Lostprophets, but Rubin and Wallace have made this nightmare scenario come true. It just sounds clean where it should sound messy, flat where it should sound powerful. Like making you pay for one album twice, which is essentially what System and their cohorts have done here, the sound screams commerce, not art. In the end, all this makes the band's name unfortunately come to life - it really is a system of downs from Toxicity, one after the other. Reboot or shut down, please.
Posted 12/14/2005 - 01:22:18 PM by Simon_H:
 I disagree. I think "Hypnotize" is significantly stronger, with the last Malakian tracks ("She's Like Heroin / Lonely Day") being the only weak points. "Stealing Society" is perhaps the most enjoyable, campy song they've ever written, while at the same time the serious songs do manage to carry some weight. I do think it makes a better one-album set (minus the aforementioned tracks, also taking away "Old School Hollywood" and "Violent Pornography"), but of the two on its own Hypnotize is considerably stronger.
Posted 12/22/2005 - 09:28:14 PM by theoden:
 This reader would like to respectfully inquire where the hell Mr. Shipley earned his credentials in music criticism. Are you deaf? Malakian has such amazing force and vibrato behind his vocals that, well, he makes my knees weak. Yes, Tankian's "goat in bad need of prozac" vocals are the charming signature of the band (believe me, I DO love these guys, so I mean that in the best way possible), but Malakian has one hell of a voice, and you seriously err in your assessment of it.
Posted 12/12/2006 - 04:41:54 PM by johnedowney: