System of a Down : Hypnotize / Mezmerize
This is an absolutely brilliant album. Full stop.
It's filled with Middle Eastern riffs, unusual but memorable and catchy melodies, thumping drum beats and teeth clenching, gut busting solos, which all work to smash the intelligent, astute and intriguing politically involved lyrics into your head like a pneumatic drill.
The band keep on varying their rhythms which makes their songs even more unusual and ear catching; at one minute it's speeding blood-pumping metal, the next it's delicate middle Eastern noodling and then without warning you're launched into some off beat reggae vibe which then accelerates crazily like a mad Ukrainian at a party.
It's the variety and originality of Mezmerize which makes me prefer it to the faster, punkier, punctual Hypnotize, but perhaps it just depends what mood you're in as both are packed with great things.
Recommended tracks - Mezmerize : 'BYOB', 'Radio / Video' and 'Revenga'.
Hypnotize : 'Vincity of Obscenity', 'Attack', 'Holy Mountains'.
Also, check out 'Boom' on their earlier album 'Steal This Album', it's a fantastic song raging against the war in Iraq.
System of a Down's new work shows that they can produce some of the most awe-inspiring, original, vibrant, agitational ever-changing music in the world right now, and offer something for everybody.
Except George Bush of course.
Joey Eyebank Ramone
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