System of a Down’s ethnic appeal and political directness are not the typical qualities of today’s megastars, and that says nothing of the band’s music: a metal-laced mesh of off-the-wall rhythms and whiplash shifts in direction. This week, SOAD will release the first half of its most ambitious project, a double-album that will be issued as two separate discs nearly six months apart.
The first disc, “Mezmerize,” was introduced in March with first single “B.Y.O.B.,” a thrashy, Black Sabbath-inspired anti-war anthem. “Hypnotize” will follow in the fall.
In discussing the new albums, guitarist Daron Malakian and vocalist Serj Tankian always refer to them as a single project. To the band, “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize” are one album released in two parts, with both topping off somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes.
“You don’t have a bunch of kids dropping acid like they used to,” Malakian says. “You can’t just release double albums and expect people to sit there and devote their time to it. Our songs are tough to digest, and I would feel really uncomfortable handing someone a CD with 25 songs staring them in the face.”