System of a Down
One of the most original bands ever to gain a bankable following is beginning to sound a little too comfortable in its own self-invented genre. Not that any other band has duplicated the formula: metalcore mosh with auctioneer-gone-mad vocals, followed by incantational harmonies and exotic-stringed acoustic breaks. And few other bands with such Zappa-like contempt for pop culture have landed on MTV. But more than half the tracks on Hypnotize follow the tried and true with professional polish -- not a good thing for the band whose punky spontaneity is its hidden ace. When a jabbering, balls-out obnoxious incitement to eat patriots sounds too familiar and downright casual, there's a problem. Unlike May's sister release, Mezmerize -- which was both more fun and more clearly political -- Hypnotize's best tracks are the less frenetic ones: the title song's meditative, mid-tempo heaviness, the unclassifiable textures of "She's Like Heroin," and the nearly Queen-ish "Kill Rock 'N Roll." It's time for System of a Down to shock its own system.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.