Hypnotize

  • Record Label: Sony
  • Release Date: Nov 22, 2005
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Against all odds, the completed Mezmerize/Hypnotize project is actually greater than the sum of its parts - in fact it quickly becomes impossible to think of it as anything else than one epic piece of work.
  2. 'Hypnotise' is full on, paranoid, insane, intense, terrifying, and it's telling the truth too... dangerous stuff in other words.
  3. System of a Down confound and irritate even as they rock.
  4. Los Angeles Times
    88
    "Hypnotize" has some of the circus-is-in-town surrealism that links System to the Frank Zappa avant-rock tradition, but overall it's more of a fundamental rock album. [20 Nov 2005]
  5. Entertainment Weekly
    83
    It's a strange brew that may not be everyone's cup of tea; still, there's no denying these cats have their singular system down pat. [25 Nov 2005, p.100]
  6. The fact that this angry, avant-garde record, like its predecessor, will probably top the US charts is simply remarkable.
  7. The New York Times
    80
    The band's best album so far. [21 Nov 2005]
  8. System Of A Down's music is highly layered and complex, but never succumbs to self-indulgence. Every track is tightly-coiled and urgent because, even while they're trying to broaden your horizons, SOAD are aware of the need to rock hard.
  9. Q Magazine
    80
    System Of A Down remains the one metal band non-metalheads can enjoy. [Dec 2005, p.156]
  10. Blender
    80
    Hypnotize has a little bit of everything: protest, pretension, comedy, brute force, delicacy, compassion, crassness, fury. [Dec 2005, p.143]
  11. As the less ambitious of the two albums, Hypnotize is at once more aggressive and more restrained.
  12. Reaffirms the Los Angeles-based band's strong pop sensibility.
  13. Spin
    75
    For what it's worth, Hypnotize is the project's better half. [Dec 2005, p.102]
  14. Billboard
    70
    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. [26 Nov 2005]
  15. That exhilarating directness gives Hypnotize a distinct edge over the more mannered theater of Mezmerize.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 236 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 120
  1. martinw
    May 11, 2007
    10
    the best band of its kind!!!
  2. Nov 15, 2016
    8
    Hypnotise is perhaps the most important album System has ever released. This was their final album before they went on a long hiatus, whichHypnotise is perhaps the most important album System has ever released. This was their final album before they went on a long hiatus, which will soon be ending with their upcoming album. This also, perhaps, was their weakest album, and the hiatus will most likely allow them to spiritually clear their air, and allow them to head in a clearer, more musically interesting direction.

    There are some issues on this album, for example the overuse of Daron’s voice. In my opinion he works so much better as a backup singer than a lead vocalist, and it’s a shame he steals the show from Serj, who really is the greater singer. For one, Daron’s voice is high and whiny (intentionally so), which does suit the instrumentation, but wastes the manic singing of Serj, who really proved his skills in their debut. There are fewer moments in the vocals on this album that really resemble Spiders and Know, which evoke that middle eastern sound, which could really have helped these tracks.

    However, regardless this is a SOAD album, so it is still of a high quality, even if it can’t keep up with its predecessors. There are some standout tracks on this:

    Attack:
    We get a really fast, and thrash-like riff opening the album, and does remind me of the way 80’s bands tended to open their albums. This song does work, and has a lot of emphasis on Serj’s voice, which for me is a major plus.

    Kill Rock ‘n Roll:
    Another solid SOAD track, especially the comedic lyrics. “I felt like the biggest ass” goes to show there was some honest musicianship on this album, and even some hints of experimentation in their songwriting, which meant this album was anything but tame. Very re-listenable.

    Hypnotize:
    Great lyrics (“can you say brainwashing…brainwashing” as an example), this was a great track to choose for the title, but what I especially love is the solid balance between Daron and Serj’s vocals. If they want more Daron singing, this is the way to do it, with very prominent backups. Sadly the song isn’t as heavy as Mesmerize before it, but compensates with a very catchy and modern melody. Not a song you can really headbang to, but one you could really sing along to.

    Holy Mountains:
    This song sounds like something straight off their Debut. A long and heavy track, with massive religious criticisms (on the edge of redundancy and revolutionary), like a mix of Mind and Know. There is an eerie soundscape throughout the track, and makes the pacing of the album so much better. The 3 songs before this were very short and heavy, adding up to about 10 minutes of fast riffs, then stopped for a massive stomping track filled with huge riffs which live up to the name. This was an expertly written song.

    She’s Like Heroin + Vicinity of Obscenity
    They experiment even more She’s Like Heroin, and succeed in making something quite catchy, and re-listenable. This is quite a different tone for SOAD, as this is the first time they (kind of) touch on songs about love, but in their own, mildly psychotic way. Then with Vicinity of Obscenity they come full circle with the veritey of this album, this song is ENDLESSLY relistendable, with some standout lyrics, even on this album. Really great song, which I believe was previously released on a few of their older singles, which goes to show that they had some of their roots in this album

    Lonely Day:
    This song has a great melody, and ‘memorable’ lyrics, which I really don’t know what to make of… Daron has leads, and it just goes to show what a shame it is that Serj isn’t as present on this album, and he could really have carried the melody a bit better. Regardless the song sounds good when you listen, and is one which really feels like a hit, which works to the advantage of those re-listening to the album.

    Soldier Side:
    The album ends with the opposite of the opening track. What a good track this is. Like a semi-ballad, it has actually interesting anthem-like lyrics about war. Serj and Daron have harmonising vocals that work here, because of the anthem like quality of the song. A great way to end the album.

    Overall this cannot be considered a disappointment. It could compete with all of SOAD’s discography for its clear and distinctive style, and its melodic focus. I only wish there was less emphasis on Daron’s voice, and more softer and harder moments.

    This was a great success, and should really get everbody excited for the SOAD album, which is even as half as good as this (which will easily be) then we might have their new masterpiece on our hands.
    Full Review »
  3. UnclePhil
    Nov 23, 2005
    5
    A disappointment, and a clear indication that Rick Rubin ought to have forced the band to pare all this down into one album. While he was at A disappointment, and a clear indication that Rick Rubin ought to have forced the band to pare all this down into one album. While he was at it, he ought to have stolen Daron's mic, and let Serj, the truly distinctive vocalist in the band, shoulder singing and lyrical duties. After hearing "Vicinity of Obscenity," it's hard to know whether we can still trust even Serj for halfway decent lyrics, but at least we wouldn't have to listen to Daron flunk middle school English while he whines about "the most loneliest day of [his] life." 3/4 of the songs from Mezmerize combined with 1/4 of the songs here might have comprised one of the better hard rock (and protest) albums of the decade, but it's too late now. For a band positioned to be making the best music of its career, they sure do sound uninspired. I'm far from hypnotized. Full Review »