Vitamin's long-running series of string tributes is ever fearless. The label's cellists, violinists, and violists tackle Nine Inch Nails, 2Pac, and George Strait with equal fervor, and usually come up with a few real highlights. String Quartet Tribute to System of a Down's Mesmerize is no different, pitting two violins, a viola, and a cello against the L.A. combo's ambitious alt-metal churn. Given System of a Down's studied chaos -- that upside-down minuet quality in their music -- that it would flourish somewhat in a chamber setting isn't surprising. "B.Y.O.B." is tense and razor-sharp, "Cigaro" builds to a bi-level throb by playing the violins off the more rhythmic cello and viola, and the melody in "Question!" is as rich as Armenia's folk history. Obviously some of Mezmerize is lost without the presence of System's guitars or hair-pulling vocals. But this string tribute will be an interesting listen for fans.
String Quartet Tribute to System of Down's Mezmerize Review
by Johnny Loftus