Now See If You Can Beat It
Hot damn indeed. System of a Down dangles a pocket watch determined to spellbind with their exhilarating new batch of songs Hypnotize. Officially now the second half of an album began earlier this year with the groupâ€šÃ„Ã´s phenomenal release Mezmerize, Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan bring relevancy to heavy music long overdue.After the face shredding big-metal palm-muting of the opener â€šÃ„ÃºAttackâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and its yelping chorus â€šÃ„ÃºAttack, attack, attack with pesticide / We attackâ€šÃ„Ã¹ Daron and Serj boggle the mind with a stunning one-two punch vocal delivery on â€šÃ„ÃºDreaming.â€šÃ„Ã¹ With alluring nervousness, aggression and concern the duo power through â€šÃ„ÃºYou, you went beyond / and you lost it all / Why did you go there?â€šÃ„Ã¹ harmonizing as effectively as Staley and Cantrell during Alice in Chainsâ€šÃ„Ã´ prime. Similarly, this dizzying joy continues in the pulse-pounding cymbal crashes and tremolo picking of â€šÃ„ÃºStealing Societyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ featuring a dueling vocal counterpoint not to be missed.
Tracks cover a stupefying level of subject matter including social apathy (â€šÃ„ÃºHypnotizeâ€šÃ„Ã¹), drug-addled prostitution (â€šÃ„ÃºSheâ€šÃ„Ã´s Like Heroinâ€šÃ„Ã¹) and you know, terracotta pie (â€šÃ„ÃºVicinity of Obscenityâ€šÃ„Ã¹). These sharp turns help keep a relentless pace. One moment SOADâ€šÃ„Ã´s expounding the spiritual significance of an Armenian mountain range on â€šÃ„ÃºHoly Mountainsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and on another Serj chirps â€šÃ„ÃºEat all the grass that you wantâ€šÃ„Ã¹ on â€šÃ„ÃºKill Rock â€šÃ„Ã²N Roll.â€šÃ„Ã¹
The album ends with two Malakian penned tunes â€šÃ„ÃºLonely Dayâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºSoldier Side.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The former a mournful lament on a malaise-filled rotten day and the latter the bookend reprising Mezmerizeâ€šÃ„Ã´s opener. â€šÃ„ÃºSoldier Sideâ€šÃ„Ã¹ questions military deployment. Thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s where the whole piece succeeds: by questioning. No gaudy preaching, just ruminations on a confusing modern world.