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Pop/Rock - Released November 22, 2005 | American - Columbia

It wasn't a lie when System of a Down said the packaging for Mezmerize and Hypnotize would slot together. Released in November 2005, roughly six months after its counterpart, Hypnotize does indeed feature a tri-fold design. But the extra cardboard slotting's a little extraneous, as are some of the sonic parts on both albums. Truth is the motor for System's spazzy, modernist thrash. It drives the boiling rage in Hypnotize's "Attack," "Stealing Society," and "U-Fig"; on "Holy Mountain," it inspires SOAD to transform the sad facts of genocide into the album's most vicious, powerful, and arresting moment. Of course, truth also drives SOAD to make passionate, if slightly screwy, decisions: Serj Tankian's ADD sputter of "eat 'em eat 'em eat 'em eat 'em" and "banana banana banana terracotta" on Hypnotize; Mezmerize's detour into celebrity baseball game outtakes on "Old School Hollywood." These moments are head-scratchers, no doubt, but they're integral to the experience -- System of a Down confound and irritate even as they rock. And it's precisely because of that weird aggression/aggravation dynamic that Mezmerize/Hypnotize is as strong a concept/double album as metal can offer in 2005. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released May 17, 2005 | American - Columbia

Adjectives like "ambitious," "jagged," and "startling" have always defined System of a Down, and their third official full-length is no different. Prerelease, the band described Mezmerize as being the first part -- the first side -- of what's essentially a double album. The records' packaging would even slot together, making the eventual Mezmerize/Hypnotize whole. Appropriately then, there's an intro to System's first new material since 2001's brilliant Toxicity. On "Soldier Side" Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian harmonize as they do throughout the record, and Malakian's guitar has a mournful, Eastern air. But it's just a lull before "B.Y.O.B.," a thrash assault pierced with rabid and incredulous screams. "Why do they always send the poor?" Suddenly the gears switch, and the song stomps in crunchy half-time as its lyrics riff with a sick grin on cultural ignorance. The government's lying, System's saying, but "Blast off!/It's party time." The vocal exploration between Tankian and Malakian on Mezmerize is a thrill -- they spur each other on like a two-headed hardcore hero. Their intermingling voices make "Cigaro" more aggressive, frantic, operatic, and totally bananas; they'd be triumphant over the break in "Violent Pornography" if they weren't spitting out lines like "Choking chicks and sodomy." The fantastic "Pornography" is a rusty shiv of absurdity, another example of System's ability to effectively skewer society with little more than hyper guitar, blistering percussion, and weird turns of phrase. Their volatile mix of righteousness, wordiness, odd meters, and thrash has balanced System's activism since their self-titled debut, making them "unique heavy music" over the much more problematic "unique, heavily political music." And Mezmerize doesn't fail to be unique. "Old School Hollywood" essays the bizarre experience of a celebrity baseball game ("Tony Danza cuts in line!") over keyboard effects from "Beat It" and a brutally simplistic rhythm, "This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm on This Song" is more twisted-tongue histrionics and explosive playing, and Tankian and Malakian's harmonies are the catalyst (again!) for making "Revenga" a truly feral epic. System of a Down -- what's another adjective for "awesome"? © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 26, 2002 | American - Columbia

In most cases, bands put out these odds and sods collections for die-hard fans, to fulfill a record deal, or to stall while they're taking seven years to record a follow-up. Steal This Album!, on the other hand, definitely doesnot fit any of those ideals. First, it's almost impossible to think of this as an "outtakes" record. System of a Down has managed to make tracks from a seven-year period sound cohesive without having to embellish or sacrifice. Some might argue that maybe they're just treading water. Not true. If System proved anything with 2001's Toxicity, it's that they're one of the few breaths of fresh air out there in mainstream metal land. This collection is no different, and with its amazing pacing, it's hard to not be moved by what this band can do. Secondly, Steal This Album! has everything that a "normal" album release would have; it's heavy without being a burden, political without being condescending, and in some cases, downright beautiful. It's been mentioned that this is the link to what they've done and what they're moving towards. If that turns out to be true, the next one should be a monster. © Chris True /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 4, 2001 | American - Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released June 29, 1999 | American - Columbia

System of a Down's self-titled major-label debut finds the Los Angeles band consolidating its gothic alt-metal, sharpening its deadly riffs, strengthening its brutal rhythms, and adding muscle to its attack. The band differentiates itself from the legions of Southern Californian alt-metalheads by emphasizing its Armenian musical heritage, which gives the music an eerie, otherworldly quality. Part of the success of System of a Down lies with producer Rick Rubin, who helps give the band focus, but ultimately the record works because of the band itself, since they have contributed a set of strong songs that illustrates this is a band that relies on smarts as well as sound. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 30, 1998 | Epic

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Rock - Released June 30, 1998 | American

System of a Down's self-titled major-label debut finds the Los Angeles band consolidating its gothic alt-metal, sharpening its deadly riffs, strengthening its brutal rhythms, and adding muscle to its attack. The band differentiates itself from the legions of Southern Californian alt-metalheads by emphasizing its Armenian musical heritage, which gives the music an eerie, otherworldly quality. Part of the success of System of a Down lies with producer Rick Rubin, who helps give the band focus, but ultimately the record works because of the band itself, since they have contributed a set of strong songs that illustrates this is a band that relies on smarts as well as sound. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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CD€14.49

Rock - Released November 26, 2002 | American - Columbia

In most cases, bands put out these odds and sods collections for die-hard fans, to fulfill a record deal, or to stall while they're taking seven years to record a follow-up. Steal This Album!, on the other hand, definitely doesnot fit any of those ideals. First, it's almost impossible to think of this as an "outtakes" record. System of a Down has managed to make tracks from a seven-year period sound cohesive without having to embellish or sacrifice. Some might argue that maybe they're just treading water. Not true. If System proved anything with 2001's Toxicity, it's that they're one of the few breaths of fresh air out there in mainstream metal land. This collection is no different, and with its amazing pacing, it's hard to not be moved by what this band can do. Secondly, Steal This Album! has everything that a "normal" album release would have; it's heavy without being a burden, political without being condescending, and in some cases, downright beautiful. It's been mentioned that this is the link to what they've done and what they're moving towards. If that turns out to be true, the next one should be a monster. © Chris True /TiVo
From
CD€14.49

Rock - Released November 22, 2005 | American - Columbia

It wasn't a lie when System of a Down said the packaging for Mezmerize and Hypnotize would slot together. Released in November 2005, roughly six months after its counterpart, Hypnotize does indeed feature a tri-fold design. But the extra cardboard slotting's a little extraneous, as are some of the sonic parts on both albums. Truth is the motor for System's spazzy, modernist thrash. It drives the boiling rage in Hypnotize's "Attack," "Stealing Society," and "U-Fig"; on "Holy Mountain," it inspires SOAD to transform the sad facts of genocide into the album's most vicious, powerful, and arresting moment. Of course, truth also drives SOAD to make passionate, if slightly screwy, decisions: Serj Tankian's ADD sputter of "eat 'em eat 'em eat 'em eat 'em" and "banana banana banana terracotta" on Hypnotize; Mezmerize's detour into celebrity baseball game outtakes on "Old School Hollywood." These moments are head-scratchers, no doubt, but they're integral to the experience -- System of a Down confound and irritate even as they rock. And it's precisely because of that weird aggression/aggravation dynamic that Mezmerize/Hypnotize is as strong a concept/double album as metal can offer in 2005. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
From
CD€14.49

Pop - Released May 17, 2005 | American - Columbia

Adjectives like "ambitious," "jagged," and "startling" have always defined System of a Down, and their third official full-length is no different. Prerelease, the band described Mezmerize as being the first part -- the first side -- of what's essentially a double album. The records' packaging would even slot together, making the eventual Mezmerize/Hypnotize whole. Appropriately then, there's an intro to System's first new material since 2001's brilliant Toxicity. On "Soldier Side" Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian harmonize as they do throughout the record, and Malakian's guitar has a mournful, Eastern air. But it's just a lull before "B.Y.O.B.," a thrash assault pierced with rabid and incredulous screams. "Why do they always send the poor?" Suddenly the gears switch, and the song stomps in crunchy half-time as its lyrics riff with a sick grin on cultural ignorance. The government's lying, System's saying, but "Blast off!/It's party time." The vocal exploration between Tankian and Malakian on Mezmerize is a thrill -- they spur each other on like a two-headed hardcore hero. Their intermingling voices make "Cigaro" more aggressive, frantic, operatic, and totally bananas; they'd be triumphant over the break in "Violent Pornography" if they weren't spitting out lines like "Choking chicks and sodomy." The fantastic "Pornography" is a rusty shiv of absurdity, another example of System's ability to effectively skewer society with little more than hyper guitar, blistering percussion, and weird turns of phrase. Their volatile mix of righteousness, wordiness, odd meters, and thrash has balanced System's activism since their self-titled debut, making them "unique heavy music" over the much more problematic "unique, heavily political music." And Mezmerize doesn't fail to be unique. "Old School Hollywood" essays the bizarre experience of a celebrity baseball game ("Tony Danza cuts in line!") over keyboard effects from "Beat It" and a brutally simplistic rhythm, "This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm on This Song" is more twisted-tongue histrionics and explosive playing, and Tankian and Malakian's harmonies are the catalyst (again!) for making "Revenga" a truly feral epic. System of a Down -- what's another adjective for "awesome"? © Johnny Loftus /TiVo