But more than half the tracks on Hypnotize follow the tried and true with professional polish -- not a good thing for the band, whose punky spontaneity is its hidden ace. When an obnoxious, jabbering incitement to eat patriots sounds too familiar and downright casual, there's a problem. Unlike on May's sister release, Mezmerize -- which was both more fun and more clearly political -- Hypnotize's best tracks are the less frenetic ones: the title song's meditative, midtempo heaviness, the unclassifiable textures of "She's Like Heroin," and the nearly Queenish "Kill Rock 'N Roll." It's time for System of a Down to shock its own system.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.