Mezmerize is 10 years old!
01. Soldier Side/Intro
06. This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I’m On This Song
07. Violent Pornography
09. Sad Statue
10. Old School Hollywood
11. Lost In Hollywood
Considering this is the third anniversary post I’ve written in two days, it may seem a little cliché to write, once again, about the situation in which I got into said band but then again, it’s an anniversary so what the fuck else are we going to talk about?
I was lucky enough to grow up with older siblings to introduce me to music, one of whom got me into punk, metal, rap and electronic music. Seven years my elder, he borrowed a CD from his friend back in 1998 by some band he’d never heard of (me neither understandably, as I was 8) called System of a Down. This album was heavier and weirder than anything I’d heard at that point and it did not garner great reactions from my P.E teacher when I put it on in the school gym one afternoon.
That didn’t change the fact that after this there was no turning back. On top of the foundation laid by 90s SoCal punk, 80s thrash, and electronic music ranging from drum and bass to trip hop, I now had a hunger for weirdness that would not be satisfied by all the shock rock the world had to offer. While SOAD’s next two albums - Toxicity and Steal This Album - paled in comparison to the original at the time (I seemed to be alone in my “Self-titled for life” camp, however) Mezmerize was just around the corner with some of the band’s strangest ideas yet, wrapped in the most approachable package.
With one hell of a strong single in “B.Y.O.B.”, the instant-catchphrase of “My cock is much bigger than yours” in “Cigaro” and perhaps the greatest song title in existence in “This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I’m On This Song”, Mezmerize has it all.
“Mezmerize” is about the perfect title too; the album raised the band’s insanity levels ever higher, with Daron Malakian taking on more vocal duties than ever before. His high pitched wailing took songs like “B.Y.O.B.” to places where frontman Serj Tankian probably wouldn’t have been able. Even so, Tankian is at the top of his game as always, with penultimate track “Question!” proving once again how great SOAD are at crafting power-ballads; it showcases his absolutely incredible voice.
Mezmerize is filled with great performances all-round, and is brought together by Rick Rubin’s experienced hand at the mixing table. System of a Down may have called it quits after only one album more (its sibling Hypnotize, released later the same year) but it ensured that their legacy will live on through legions of fans (and possibly a tribute band by the name of Fist’em While They’re Down…)