SYSTEM OF A DOWN - Mezmerize
June 6, 2005, 14 years ago
Never been the biggest System Of A Down fan in the world, but it’s with wide-eyed interest that I approach the latest record, Mezmerize. Though the band is a year late to truly capitalize on the intense momentum it gained circa 2001-2002, Mezmerize’s unique take on the group’s focus may justify the extra down-time. First single ‘BYOB’ (‘Bring Your Own Bombs’) is admittedly what piqued my curiosity in this new album, the track being a weird-ass amalgam of Satyricon verse and pop song (read: ironic) chorus, the former element no doubt inspired by System guitar player Daron Malakian’s signing of the aforementioned Norwegian collective to his own Eat-Ur-Music label a few years back. So it’s with a renewed sense of metallic purpose that System Of A Down shines on, Mezmerize acting as the group’s most steadfastly aggressive record to date, shedding any conception that SOAD belongs in the ‘90s vault. Further, and back to that Malakian point, Mezmerize is full of aurally aesthetic references our readers are surely familiar with: Dream Theater prog bits are smashed head-to-head with classic thrash worthy of Destruction, all the while harkening back (forward?) to the societal snarl of the Dead Kennedys or Napalm Death. Throw in the random Finntroll (!) humpa here and there, and you’ve got a mainstream record that acts like an overdue homage to the foundations it was so obviously inspired by. On a lyrical level, these Armenians are still politics as usual, proof that the American idiot continues to provide enough visceral reaction amongst the populace to inspire protest art. End-point analysis: System Of A Down- equal parts the entity/the politico bloc/the Hot Topic product -- has outdone itself, much to the chagrin of purists everywhere.