Recording information: Akademie Mathematique Of Philosophical Sound Research,; The Mansion In Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, CA.
Editors: Dana Nielsen; Jason Lader.
Just when it seemed that System of a Down couldn't do anything to improve on their standing as the most unique and ambitious band in the alternative metal world, they decided to drop their sprawling, Rick Rubin-produced double album by releasing each disc separately. Early 2005 saw the arrival of MESMERIZE. After that album gained significant exposure via tours, radio, and videos, the album's counterpart, HYPNOTIZE, was released in late November. The albums were recorded in the same sessions--so there is a strong sense of musical cohesion, and even the CD packages themselves are designed to fit together to form one set.
"Attack" and "Dreaming" the first songs on HYPNOTIZE, are classic System of a Down with their furious riffage, schizophrenic song structures, and the slinky, nasal vocals of lead singer Serj Tankian. The band knows how to craft a hook ("Kill Rock 'N Roll," "She's Like Heroin"), raise political consciousness ("Stealing Society" is about the Armenian genocide), and rock with the ferocity of the heaviest speed and thrash metal bands. In short, System of a Down seems capable of doing anything, and HYPNOTIZE is further, indisputable proof of that fact.
Rolling Stone (No. 988, p.117) - 3.5 out of 5 stars - "...Hell immediately runneth over on Malakian's scoured-staccato guitars and Dolmayan's furious hammering...."
Spin (p.102) - "[The first album's] tracks, all around four minutes long, ricochet through a clutch of ideas, compressing what might otherwise be prog-rock suites into jump-cut barrages. That strategy certainly keeps the songs moving..." -- Grade: B
Spin (p.62) - Ranked #20 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2005" - "America's most compelling metal band hones a mash-up of Cali-punk absurdism, political outrage, and jump-cut headbanging."
Entertainment Weekly (No. 851, p.100) - "...[T]hey're flaunting a heretofore underexplored sensitive side, offsetting their trademark stampeding riffology with flashes of delicate lyricism...." - Grade: B+
Uncut (p.109) - 3 stars out of 5 - "System succeed through their skill at wielding complex, progressive heaviness in a pop context."