Before I get into the review, I would like to explain exactly what is going on with this CD because a lot of people do not seem to fully understand. This CD is System of a Down’s third CD, not their fourth. In addition to that, it has been almost five years since their last CD, so this is a long awaited release from them. Another interesting fact about “Mezmerize” is that it is actually part two of a two disk set, and not part one as some people had previously thought. Their fourth CD “Hypnotize,” will be released on November 22nd and is actually the first part of the two disk set. The band just decided to release the two in opposite orders. To further explain my point, “Hypnotize” leads into “Mezmerize.” The last song on “Hypnotize” has the same title as the first track on “Mezmerize,” although the one on “Hypnotize” is a full-length song, and the one on “Mezmerize” is merely an intro or transition into “Mezmerize.” Plus, the two cases containing the CDs can be combined to create one continuous case with the artwork linking together, and as far as I know, it is the first CD set to ever incorporate that.
Some people might wonder why they are releasing two CDs only six months apart from each other, and why those two CDs are being released as a two disk set. It is simply because they had around thirty songs written and instead of picking the best songs out of those thirty and throwing away the rest, they decided to cut it down to twenty three of the best songs because they felt that the majority of them were CD worthy. Also, they did not want to have an album that was too long to listen to all the way through and is why they have cut them down to around forty minutes each; which brings me to my review.
First off, I would like to say that this review is split into two parts. I have read too many reviews which contained information that I was not looking for, and I am trying not to do that. So what I’m doing is splitting them up into two comparisons. The first part compares the album to the band’s first two albums and the second to other albums in its genre. This way the review will not be geared towards specifically System of a Down fans or heavy metal fans in general, but instead towards both.
Compared to the band’s other albums, I would give this album four out of five stars for a few reasons. Their first CD simply entitled “System of a Down,” was very heavy and raw. It had an unmixed feel to it which built up its raw intensity. Their second CD entitled “Toxicity,” was more mellow and comical. It did have its heavy moments, but was no where near as heavy as their self-titled debut; which leads me to “Mezmerize.” First of all, it is an excellent album. It is really a combination of their first two albums, and more. The lyrics, as always, are brilliant and entertaining at the same time. They manage to use humorous or just downright strange things which actually end up being complex metaphors. The only problem is that although the lyrics are better, they are a little more repetitive than their previous releases. Second, it is unique from any of their other albums. It starts off unlike their previous two. Instead of abruptly starting off with a heavy riff right away, as “System of a Down” and “Toxicity” did, it starts off with a mellow and melodic intro, which then leads into a heavy second song. The rest of the CD, excluding the last song, manages to keep a very heavy feel while at the same time, incorporating a softer side of System of a Down, and the fast song transitions manage to help keep a fast-paced feel. In addition to that, they throw in some different styles of music such as dance, punk, and even polka. Yes, polka! It sounds odd but it sounds even better with those types of music in it. The strange combination of music that they use with their style of vocals just works, to put it simply. The final track on the CD is mellow, but unlike most bands, is not worse. In fact, it may be one of the better songs on the entire CD. It is a very good ending to a very good two disk album (with “Hypnotize” included). Any System of a Down fan should love this album. Their intensity manages to stay as high as ever, but at the same time incorporates a softer and more experimental side.
Now compared to other bands or CDs in its genre, “Mezmerize” deserves five out of five stars for the simple fact that it is unlike anything else in its genre. They combine heavy metal, polka, dance music, melodic harmonies, and humorous lyrics while all together keeping a deep and serious meaning and hard-hitting riffs. How many bands have done that? This CD, I think, will change the metal genre as we know it. A lot of bands will be following in their footsteps. Now for this CD, don’t expect a non-stop scream fest with heavy riffs. Instead, expect something different and unique that still has that heavy metal feel, but is more experimental and has more depth and range. A lot of bands’ songs on the radio are good, but the rest of their CD is not. The only good songs are the singles that are on the radio, and the rest just seems thrown together. Well, System of a Down is one band that will not fall into that hole. “Mezmerize” is just a great CD throughout, and its short running time of about thirty-eight minutes makes it easy to listen to and enjoy all the way through; but don’t take my word for it, just look at the billboard charts. It was number one and had the number one single for weeks, and sold over 800,000 copies in its first week alone. That’s more than most heavy metal bands can brag about.
So, whether one is a long-devoted System of a Down fan, or a heavy metal fan in general, this CD would be a part of their collection.