Album Review no.22: Mezmerize - System of a Down

I have an appreciation for System of a Down, they can both be funny and very serious at the same time, and they sound quite unique. Their 4th album, Mezmerize, is usually thought to be a lesser album than the first 2, due to it's somewhat more commercial sound and lyrics that are more absurd and stupid sounding. Despite this, I find this album to be of high quality.

Soldier Side - Intro:
I personally love this intro, it has a fair amount of emotion and is a precursor to Soldier Side, one of my favourite SOAD songs. The vocals are pretty good as well. It also leads surprisingly well into BYOB. It still feels like this only works well if you listen to Mezmerize/Hypnotize as a double album though.

From the moment the song starts, it's established that the song will be extremely aggressive and fast. After that 5 second opening, it becomes very chaotic, with multiple riffs, fast drumming, and Serj's vocals being fully utilized. My favourite part of the song is definitely the chorus, as the riff in the background is killer, and the entire song slows down to let you have a very slight break. This pattern is repeated a couple of times until Daron begins singing, at which point the song goes further off the rails as it becomes faster, with more aggressive vocals. The way the song ends with constantly repeating "why do they always send the poor" is also awesome. This sits quite comfortably in my top 5 SOAD songs.

The verses are all ridiculous in this song, with everything, especially the vocals going at very high speeds. The chorus brings it back and sounds extremely good. I don't know why I used to think that Daron was terrible, he adds contrast to Serj's vocals, usually creating a much more balanced song. When the song slows down, some nice bass work can clearly be heard. This small section also provides a change of pace and just ties the song together well.

The opening to this song is so heavy, especially with the screaming/growling in the background. When the lyrics begin, it then brings me back to reality and the fact that this is definitely a SOAD. This is one of my favourite songs on the album thanks to it's ridiculous lyrics. It's also another point for Daron, as he is definitely the better choice for the lyrics. The song also flows extremely well throughout, constantly changing, but always going back to that same chorus without ever feeling repetitive. The drumming is also to be noted, as I find it to be very good here. Compared to a few of the other songs though, I don't hold this one in extremely high regard.

A very normal song in the whole scheme of things, but definitely a great one. This song in particular makes me realise that SOAD can make extremely repetitive songs sound fun all the way through. The increase of tempo and volume once the bulk of the song is a great start to one of the more dynamic songs on the album, despite the repetitive lyrical content. From here, it kicks into a much more lighthearted song that's just a good time. Daron's backup vocals during this section add a lot in general. My favourite part is where the song slows down further and sounds like a genre that I can't quite pinpoint, so i'll just say Reggae. The gradual increase of tempo is a great way to return to the normal chorus without it sounding sudden. Another great song all around.

This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song:
Well, as well as the title being really funny, I love the intro for this song, probably the best one on the album. Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of the rest of the song. While it has moments where it sounds decent, there are other moments where the song is extremely unmemorable, or simply bad, especially in terms of vocals. It also ends extremely suddenly. Despite how average it is overall, I really love that intro, and the song is pretty short. I also don't understand the piano noises that appear at some point.

Violent Pornography:
Another fun song on the album. Each section (short as they are) fits together really nicely, yet has its own identity. This is one of my go to songs when I want to listen to a bit of SOAD, as it basically encapsulates everything that this band is. Great choruses, odd lyrics and title, good instrumentation, a generally fast pace, and the ability to go to twenty different places within the space of 3 minutes.

This probably contains the best vocal work on the album, as well as sounding different to basically any other song by them. The pace is much slower, and all of the humour that the band naturally contains, even in its songwriting, is virtually non-existent. The instrumentation feels much more technical, especially the bass, which sounds absolutely amazing on this track.

Sad Statue:
This definitely has my favourite riff and chorus on the whole album. Everything about the verses is extremely eccentric, especially the vocal work. I don't have much to say about this song, but I do love it.

Old School Hollywood:
Despite what people say, I find this to be another really great song. The use of electronic sounds separates this song from anything else by SOAD. I'm also personally a fan of that robotic voice in the background, and I find the riff to once again be extremely good. The lack of ridiculous Serj vocals is another way this song differs from the norm.

Lost in Hollywood:
The one other super serious song on the album is also one of the best ones. Having Daron as the lead vocalist works quite well and shows off his decent singing capabilities. Every time the chorus comes around, everyone just sounds more dejected and over everything. This depressing tone manages to carry through the entire 5 minute length with very little repetition within this time frame. It makes a great end to a great album.

8*10 + 2*7 + 8 - 9.2 =93/100

Final Thoughts:
This is my personal pick for best album that SOAD has done. It's a good mix of eccentric writing and all around great modern metal. I appreciate the experimental nature of Old School Hollywood and found the musicianship to be on point. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys this style of music.

Sorry if anyone found this review to be of lower quality than usual, I found it extremely hard to find anything interesting to talk about with this album, as most of the songs had the same qualities and focus. SOAD is a pain to review, despite how much I love them


If you have a request for an album for me to review, write it in this post for easier management - kempokid

I love this album, every song is just so good. I do agree that this is their best album - cjWriter1997

Yeah, other than TCMMFLIOTS, I do find this album to be really good - kempokid

I love This Cocaine for just how insanely weird that song is, it's the Vicinity of Obscenity of Mesmerize basically - cjWriter1997

Can you review Hypnotize for your next album review? - visitor