Sunday, February 17th
Band displays metal majesty at House of Blues

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A Night Out Loud: O.A.R., Hest, and the Sixers start a revolution at Purdue

Peter Burke reviews the O.A.R. concert featuring Ari Hest and Stephen Kellogg at Purdue University's Elliott Hall of Music.

John Scofield jazzes up Purdue crowd at engagement

Peter Burke reviews the John Scofeld concert at Purdue's Stewart Center

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No Secret At All:  Veronicas sparkle in debut album

Musiqtone's Alan Ho reviews the Aussie twin duo's debut album, his first in almost a year.

Second SOAD LP heavy on melody; songwriting shines

Musiqtone head music reviewer Adam Aguirre reviews the second of the double-concept LP from System of a Down.

Disturbed goes heavy metal on new effort

Musiqtone music reviews head Adam Aguirre checks out Disturbed's latest effort and their first foray into heavy metal, 'Ten Thousand Fists.'

Audioslave solid in latest LP; tries to unify sound

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Ben Folds wows again with second solo effort

New Musiqtone staff reviewer James Burke puts put his two cents on the second solo effort from Ben Folds.

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System of a Down: 'Hynoptize"

Second of two efforts heavy on melody
With the second half of System of a Down’s double-album concept finally here, did it make me want to furiously pull out the disc from my CD player in anger, scratch the entire disc with a razorblade, curse the band for wasting my hard earned money, and then fling it across the countryside in hopes that none of my friends will ever get exposed to it?  Not really.  Everyone rejoice because their concept wasn’t a complete waste of my time! 

Well…money, yes; time, no.

Why money?  As anyone who read my crappy review of “Mezmerize” may remember (if you read the whole thing, didn’t think it belonged in the local trailer park, and are an attractive and single woman, please marry me now), one of my biggest gripes was the short length.  After finding out how long Hypnotize was, they could’ve seriously put this whole double-album thing into one beautiful piece of epic music to enjoy for the ages.  I guess the only justification I can see to releasing two albums, besides getting double the money for cutting the album in half and releasing them separately, would be if both albums have differing qualities, which does seem to be the case this time around.  Oh yeah, and I guess I should also consider the issue of the time it takes to write songs for something this ambitious.  I guess musicians need the time or something.  Whatever.  Hey, at least the title of their album is spelled right this time (unless you’re in the UK, in which case, I apologize for not considering our British brothers and sisters in my review)!

In my previous review I mentioned that the band had a more melodic sound that was crafted nicely into the previous album.  This proved to be a huge understatement after listening to their sister album.  Hypnotize definitely has the most melody ever heard in any of their albums.  Combine that with their penchant of making hyperkinetic music and you’ve got yourself quite the musical experience.  One of the first examples of this is in the second song, “Dreaming.”  One only needs to listen to it to realize they’re in for a bizarre ride of melody and insanity. And if you doubt their ability to maintain the harder music that they’re known for, your doubts will go away as soon as you listen to their opener, “Attack.”

There’s really nothing much to talk about performance-wise.  It should be expected that everyone’s outstanding performances in the previous album would be equally outstanding for the sister album.  Serj Tankian seems to have more vocal performances this time around, though, and I’m actually happy about that since he truly is the voice of the band.  Plus, lead guitarist Daron Malakian does a few more guitar experimentations with this album.  These two continue to be the main force of the band, not only in performance but also writing, while Shavo Odadjian’s bass and John Dolmayan’s drums play as the perfect backup support.

This time around they also managed to fix some of the previous problems they had that I forgot to mention in my previous review…although still not becoming exactly perfect.  After writing the review and listening more to Mezmerize afterwards, I found Daron Malakian’s vocals to become too much for me, and the amount of creative control Daron had for Mezmerize hurt the lyrics, making them sound old and unvaried.  Now it seems that Serj and Daron’s writing styles have successfully coalesced, making for an improvement and an all around better album than its predecessor.

As mentioned before, there is one imperfection, and it’s actually all in one song.  “Lonely Day” is as weak as System of a Down hopefully will ever get.  One hundred percent written by Daron Malakian, “Lonely Day” feels like it was written for some terrible boy band looking to put in their token sad song of the album.  The lyrics for this “sad song” are so unoriginal that it makes the song sad for all the wrong reasons.  Just imagine hearing Daron Malakian constantly singing “The most loneliest day of my life” over and over again and you can get what I mean.  Combine that with the standard “sad” music, and you’ve got a song worthy of the pop genre.  Luckily, the last song, “Soldier Side,” (expanding on the intro from Mezmerize) succeeds in becoming melancholy for all the right reasons.  “Soldier Side” is truly sad and works as a great conclusion to everything this band has done.

What’s the best song in the album?  Honestly there are so many good ones in here that it’s hard to pick, but if I had to pick one, it would easily have to be “Vicinity of Obscenity.”  This little gem (completely written by Serj Tankian) is not the most accessible song in the album, but it’s so hard and full of so much energy, it steals the show.  Also, it’s a nice throwback to their self-titled album days.

And there you have it, folks.  I actually managed to deliver this review, and System of a Down actually managed to make a spectacular music experience with the complete Mezmerize/Hypnotize.  Here’s to much more great music from them in the future.

-Written by Adam Aguirre, Chief Head, Music Reviews 01/17/2006.

Adam Aguirre is the head music reviewer at Musiqtone and is a student at Purdue Univeristy-West Lafayette.  Please make all feedback and comments to adamaguirre@musiqtone.com.

(C) 2005 Musiqtone. All Rights Reserved. Commercial use of this article is strictly prohibited without explicit written permission from the author and non-commercial use is permitted with citation of author and source only by the third party using this review.
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