With its second release in a year (following «Mesmerize» in May), System of a Down has lost shock value. Not that the band’s blend of metal; world music; jagged, breakneck rhythms; and non sequitur lyrics don’t still connect, but it is nowhere near as dazzling as it was on its first two go-arounds. That said, there are still some great songs on «Hypnotize,» including the plaintive «Lonely Day,» SOAD’s most emotionally straightforward tune to date. The band can still dazzle with its odd blend of thrash riffs and catchy choruses («Tentative»), and «Vicinity of Obscenity» is one of the most twisted, perverse and silly songs it has written. But the band is nearing the oversaturation point: «Mezmerize» and «Hypnotize» might have made more impact if they were released at once instead of spaced apart.
by Bram Teitelman