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System Of A Down – Can Mesmerize top Toxicity?

Can Mesmerize live up to or surpass the huge success that Toxicity had? That is the question that I have anticipated since hearing that SOAD was back in the studio.

When I first heard SOAD I could not stand them. a friend of mine has been a huge fan since they first came out, he tried to get me into them but I just couldn’t follow the music. I described their sound as that of a carnival. You see, when you are walking through a carnival you are exposed to a variety of sounds and visual stimuli that changes with every step you take. You may walk by the sword swollowing midget with the Egyptian music playing and five steps later you are in front of the bumper cars blasting Slow Ride by Foghat. You never know what is coming next. You may look down Carnival row and catch a glimpse of what’s to come but until its in front of you what’s to come is unknown.

Six months after Toxicity came out I saw them open for Slipknot and was not looking forward to seeing them. I planned on going late to avoid sitting through their set but since Joe was a diehard fan we went early. From the minute they hit the stage I was blown away. I couldn’t put it into words at the time, all I knew was that I was so blown away at the entire set I had to go out the next day and buy the CD.

I work at a Law Firm in the IT Department and at times the day is very stressful. I arrive at six in the morning with a coworker and for a straight year we would blast Toxicity until others started pouring into the office every single morning.

What does any of this have to do with the newest release Mesmerize? Well, I’ll tell you. My anticipation has been huge. I have been wondering if they could release a CD that tops Toxicity. After listening to Mesmerize I don’t think it will happen. The CD is good but it is not the CD that Toxicity was.

The album does move nicely from track to track keeping in tune with the constant change of tempo and style that only SOAD can accomplish. There are radio hits, but to me the songs that will become favorites to me will never see the light of airplay. This is not due to offensive lyrics, American radio still seems to shy away from heavier riffs and fast music. Its possible that as this year goes by this CD will grow on me just as Toxicity did, but for now lets just say that while not disappointed I am a little less likely to play this CD everyday in the morning to get ready for the day with my coworker and arch nemesis Shawn.

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  • bob

    wow, mesmerize, enough said. The only song I’ve heard off of this album is B.Y.O.B.(bring your own bombs), and I was totally blown away the first time I heard it on radio in LA. This song was playing every hour atleast(ofcourse its LA). I was speechless; all I could do was rock back and fourth to the entrancing melody and lyrics.

    BUT, Toxicity did have some great tracks. Toxicity was the type of album that I could start playing, and listen from end to end. Starting off with Prison Song all the way to Aerials. Other great tracks include Deer Dance, X, Chop Suey, Forest, Science, Shimmy, Psycho, and ofcourse Toxicity. That’s almost the whole album.

    The sound of B.Y.O.B. is totally different from Toxicity, therefore I don’t think Mesmerize and Toxicity can be compared fairly. System of a Down has stepped in to an all new realm. But in the end, anything they write is harmony to my ears. \m/, a great band.

  • od

    Mesmerize, in my opinion is just as good as Toxicity. You can’t expect every albulm from a group to be the same or be just as good with everything they do. Like Linkin Park, I believe they screwed up badly, that’s why I don’t like them anymore. System of a down tries to do what they can do. They don’t care if they are not the best. At least they are trying.

  • http://jh y6

    Mezmerize Rocks!!!!!!!!!!!
    I own all their albums.
    Even ones other than SOAD, Toxicity, Steal This Album, and Mezmerize

  • Bob A. Booey

    This is 180 degrees different than the kind of music I normally like, but I like these guys whenever I hear them on the radio. They also seem like pretty smart, interesting guys on their TV and radio interviews. Armenian speed metal — funny stuff.

    That is all.

  • Jeremy

    You can’t compare Mesmerize with Toxicity; you have to compare Mesmerize and Hypnotize (they are not two completely different albums despite Hypnotize will be released 6 months after Mesmerize) with Toxicity. Since Hypnotize hasn’t been released yet, we can’t give a review comparing the two.

    I think SOAD is taking a new approach, however, on Mesmerize. They’re showing a lot more parts of themselves through this album. I’ve also noticed the guitar performances, drumming, etc in Mesmerize improve from Toxicity.

  • josh

    Mesmerize is by far the best sytem of the down cd of all time.

  • Rowan

    Meh, who cares if its worse? Its their music, they shouldn’t be doing it to impress their fans anyway. We can’t criticise them… If you want better music then make a band…

  • Am_pr

    To me, comparing to preview SOAD works, this album gets a bit blurry, more complex and unaccesible, that’s why it gets better and better the more you listen, the more you get into it. And that’s why some people don’t get it better at first. It’s more mature, and maybe a bit darker, less directly humorous and funny.

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  • jessi

    A lot of people don’t know that Mesmorize and Hypnotise are actually a cd set. The band had too many songs for just one cd, and felt proper attention would not be given to all the songs if the two cd’s were relesed at the same time. This is awsome marketing, not to mention a GREAT cd, I love it! It’s very melodic yet hard!

  • http://bunghole bunghole

    Mesmerise was a great c.d., however,I feel that they sort of went away from thier older sound, but it’s still simular. But I don’t think it can compare with toxicity. I will be looking forward to buying thier new album.

  • John

    Banana Terracotta Pie!

  • Hey

    Mesmerize in my opinion was still better than both Toxicity and Hypnotize. It has a good balance of hard songs as well as easy listening toons, although not to many, which is refreshing. Final point being here, if System of a Down continues to put together albums of this calliber, then just imagine how great there “greatest hits” CD’s will be when they begin to release them.

  • Janessa


  • John Many Jars

    Hypnotize is out now, of course, and it is roughly equal to Mesmerize, no surprise.
    The band’s change is certainly expected, as they have “always” been rather progressive. Every new album will require multiple listens before we adjust to them.
    The music on the new albums is certainly excellent, and I do like it. However, I feel that System’s very best work comes out when Malakian writes music for TANKIAN lyrics. Too much Malakian lately.
    I want the band to make the music that THEY want to make. I hope that they haven’t been pushed by everyone else’s desires that they top Toxicity commercially. Screw all that. I am really assuming they haven’t fallen prey to studio wishes.
    Personally, I think Steal This Album topped Toxicity (again, to hell with the money end of things). The question for me then is whether or not Mesmerize/Hypnotize (or is it Hypnotize/Mesmerize: look closely at the cases, track listings, etc.) can top Steal!
    However, my opinion is irrelevant. As I and others point out above, the important thing is that the band remain true to themselves.

    p.s. Folks seem to fail to recognize the awesome contributions of Shavo and John. Stop it.

  • John Many Jars

    p.p.s. Doh! Guilty! I should have said Malakian (and often Odadjian) music meshed with Tankian lyrics. Dolmayan contribution assumed.
    They really should put drummers on the credits for songs.