By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
As things are, Claypool gave us Primus, Newsted provided justice for all, Metallica's talent was attached to hair length, and guitarist Daron Malakian, lead vocalist Serj Tankian, bassist Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan waited until 1995 to get together. They hailed from L.A., not San Fran. And given their third release, Mezmerize, we should be glad things happened this way. Especially since it's only the first installment of a two-disc set. The second, Hypnotize, drops in November.
Meanwhile, this 11-track, 36-minute Use Your Disillusionment I packs a lot in. Lyrically, it's rife with cutting social commentary. U.S. policy takes many hits"You and me we'll all go down in history with a sad statue of liberty and a generation that didn't agree." But TV banality, drug binges, and celebrity baseball games are also skewered. Mocking easy marks like pop stars backlashes on "Radio/Video": "Hey man, look at me rockin' out/I'm on the radio." As are SOAD; how about that?
Musically? Well, System are the sonic equivalent of Sybil being told she can be anything when she grows up. Dark, dense, and arty? Yup. Warp-speed riffs and double kicks? Check. Moshable? Oi! Zappa-like rock opera? You betcha. Sample of Jacko's "Beat It?" Got it. Oddly poppy interludes and something that, with a nudge, has equal opportunity to be a ska groove or Eastern European folk song? Of course. All freckled with catchy choruses and connected by the gorgeously jarring transitionlessness SOAD are known for. With all this, Mezmerize should be enough to keep A.D.D.-ers occupied for six months.