REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/27/2010
For their duration, System Of A Down was like that one kid in high school or college who acted like the loud, obnoxious hedonistic partier when in a crowd, but was smart, perceptive, and reflective once you got them one-on-one.
Their album Toxicity broke them into the majors and had the ugly distinction of being the number one album in the
Their follow-up strategy was to release two releases in the same year, each existing as sort of a mirror of one another: Mezmerize and Hypnotize. The first album, Mezmerize, was best known for its pulverizing single "B.Y.O.B." It was one of the most popular and direct critiques of the
One of System Of A Down's greatest strengths was (is?) the band's ability to move at a speed other than full-throttle. On "Radio/Video," elements of
Unfortunate, that's not necessarily a compliment. There's no doubt that Zappa was a genius, but he was just as guilty in creating some work that borderlined on unlistenable and his sense of humor could range from side-splitting funny to woefully sophomoric. The same could be said for System Of A Down on Mezmerize. "Cigaro," on first listen, is an amusing play on George Carlin's theory that the majority of wars are started because of penis envy, but the repeated "My cock is much bigger than yours" line goes beyond grating. "Old School Hollywood" may have some cool early ‘80s Tron-like music effects, but it falls flat with their targets Frankie Avalon and Tony Danza. Seriously, would a moving target be too much to ask? Its next song "Lost in
Mezmerize's faults don't keep it from being a worthy purchase. If the band could have combined the best elements of Mezmerize with Hypnotize, they would have had an absolute classic to match Toxicity. The biggest frustration of Mezmerize is that the band's talent is undisputable, but it’s almost stubbornly held back. And on the songs that boldly go against the metal stereotype, they tower. It's just unfortunate that System Of A Down routinely breaks that rhythm to play to the lowest common denominator.