Here's my track-by-track review of Mesmerize, part 1 of their two-CD concept album which will be completed by the release of part 2, Hypnotize, in the early fall.
Soldier Side (intro)
A soft intro track, short. Gets the job done well. Sounds like the starting of a dark Disney movie or something. Mainly clean electric guitar, vocals from both Serj and Daron, and strings.
Crazy song. Switches from fast, heavy riffage over poly-rhythmic drumming to one of the catchiest choruses currently on the radio. Yes, this song gets played a LOT where I live. Awesome song.
Crazy riffing on this one. Some fast picking and drumming. Then it breaks down into a disco beat in the chorus, with a latin rhythm on the ride (the drummer for this band is amazing on this album). Very operatic in places with the backing vocals punching in single words/phrases. Cool bridge on this one too.
I'm not going to bother quoting any lines from this song as they're both obscene and ridiculous, and I love every minute of it
Some cool drumming and riffing on this one too. Catchy song too, despite it's heavy riffs.
Also pretty catchy. Starts off with a soft intro, which breaks into the chorus: "Hey man, look at me rockin' out, I'm on the radio!" Which leads into an almost polka feeling verse. A cool song, with some cool stuff going on in the vocals. Rather than Daron being backing vocals, he literally shares lead vocals on this album, trading back and forth with Serj.
This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song
Best title on the album in my opinion
Some awesome drumming on this one, and some cool riffs. The lyrics are completely ridiculous: "There's something wrong with me/There's something wrong with you/There's something wrong with me/I hope your stepson doesn't eat the fish" or "Gonnorhea gorgonzola" should be good enough examples of lines from the song.
Cool song, really really catchy. Alternates between big melodic sections, really heavy riffing, and almost silly sounding, bouncy verses. Lyrics are goofy in places, but it gets the point across, and that's what they're all about. Definitely one of my favorites on the album.
Ok, this song is brutal. It sounds simple enough at first listen, until you try to count along or figure out how to play it. It alternates between 5/4, 6/4 and 4/4. The craziest part: the band doesn't know what time signature it's in. They played it entirely on the feel. Apparently it was brutal work. In my opinion, it payed off. This song is huge. Simply amazing. I'd buy the album for this song alone. The drumming and guitar work on this song is just amazing. Very very cool song.
Lots of fast drumming and riffing. Some really cool rhythms used in the drums in the verses. Cool song, though not as complex as the song before it.
Old School Hollywood
Almost a techno feel on this one, with lots of synth on it, and even vocoder. Cool song overall with some neat sounds they've never used before. The way the guitars and synths work together's cool. Though at times it seems almost like they were finding certain features on the synth for the first time and decided to put them on the album. But then again, the lyrics are all about washed up hollywood celebrities, so maybe they were going for a bit of a typical 80s synth-pop sound with all the clichés.
Lost In Hollywood
Mainly guitar and voice in the intro, though there's some interesting layers going on in the background that could just be a strange reverb on the guitar, but I'm not sure. Drums and bass come in, filling out the serious feel of the song, as the guitarist sings (almost operatically) "All you b!tches put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care" among other similar phrases, before singing about phony people. This song rounds off the album well, and seems to be a good "end of Act 1" kind of thing. After this song, I'm ready to hit the lobby for the intermission, buy some overpriced drinks, then coming back for Act 2 (coming later this year).