While originally conceived as two halves of a double album, "Hynpotize" and the earlier released "Mezmerize" both came to stores separately and it is now that we finally see the full picture that was running through the bands head during the studio sessions. While "Mezmerize" had some sharply relevant politically oriented lyrical content and more or less introduced band guitarist Daron Malakian as not only a main songwriter, but a co-vocalist; "Hypnotize" instead sees more vocal balance and routinely questions itself.
That's not to say there isn't politically oriented content here or that System Of A Down have hit a wall. Rather that instead of giving kids an anthem for outrage, they are focusing on the social ramifications and roots of the situations we currently face. Of course, this is by no means a Rage Against The Machine album however - there are still numerous colorful songs with lyrics that make little sense to anyone not on a 3-day coke binge.
But musically and spiritually, all signs point to this being System Of A Down's most epic masterpiece. The progression and overall outlook are disturbingly calm and focused - even with the included trademark quirky time changes and fevered performances. A gracefully melodic side is once again explored and yes, hooky choruses are abound. Even as the band tear through the frenetically paced aggressive numbers there's a exquisite symmetry between the melodies and the bite, suggesting System Of A Down have achieved the stability they've always wanted.
Sure there's also less outside musical experimentation and a more organic feel as a result, but this doesn't hamper the album at all. Amusingly enough, despite its grand scale, it's still off-key and maniacal enough to instantly connect with the average metalhead. But for those who have followed the band since their earlier days, one can't help but smile at just how far they've come. Not to mention marvel that they've delivered two albums worth of the best 'metal' to be released in 2005.
(4.5 / 5)