Serj Tankian - Elect The Dead review


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Band: Serj Tankian
Album: Elect The Dead
Release date: October 2007

Disc I
01. Empty Walls
02. The Unthinking Majority
03. Money
04. Feed Us
05. Saving Us
06. Sky Is Over
07. Baby
08. Honking Antelope
09. Lie Lie Lie
10. Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition
11. Beethoven's Cunt
12. Elect The Dead
13. The Reverend King [iTunes Special Edition bonus]
14. Blue [iTunes Special Edition bonus]
15. Falling Stars [iTunes Special Edition bonus]
+ Lie Lie Lie [Video] (pre-order only) [iTunes Special Edition bonus]

Disc II [Special Edition Bonus]
01. Blue
02. Empty Walls [Acoustic version]
03. Feed Us [Acoustic version]
04. Falling Stars

Now that System Of A Down are on hiatus, the members of the band have found the time to satisfy their personal whims and indulge to their musical splurges. Bassist Shavo Odadjian has began his own record label and is working on a project with one of the members of the Wu-Tang Clan, while guitarist Daron Malakian and drummer John Dolmayan (who in the meantime opened an online comic book store) have started a side-project called "Scars On Broadway". Also Serj Tankian couldn't sit still, so the crazy frontman of the ditto band has launched his proper solo career. And that he is full of inspiration and teeming with new creative ideas, proves this fine debut solo album.

On "Elect The Dead" Tankian pulls out all the stops and shows what an incredibly talented musician and multi-instrumentalist he really is. Indeed, this album is another showpiece of this man's musical mastery, because not only did Serj Tankian do all the songwriting, next to some guest appearances he also played about all the instruments on the album (which are quite a lot) and he also produced it itself on his proper record label. Musically, the resemblances with System Of A Down are quite clear: you can obviously hear that this man performed for SOAD in a not so distant past. However, the striking lack of Daron Malakian's influences (and his undiscussable ingenuity) make "Elect The Dead" not some SOAD B-Side album. No sir, this is Serj Tankian all the way! The biggest difference is that this Serj Tankian album is a bit softer than the average System Of A Down record. Tankian takes the chance to pay more attention to his piano play combined with almost operatic breakdowns. This musical experiment is funky and heavy, but nothing you can mindlessly bang your head on all the time, if you get the picture. But then again, SOAD was no such band either of course.
Though, you won't hear me say this is a piece of art. This opus is more the result of a lot of enigmatic, energetic and original ideas smashed together, poured over with a light funky dressing. Unfortunately, not everyone will be liking this menu, because on top of that, Serj Tankian wouldn't be Serj Tankian if he didn't include his hobbyhorse (the album title already gave it away): politics and social commentary. The album is really soaked in it, and I can imagine a few people are getting tired already of his political based lyrics. However, Tankian has developed a very nice way to spread his commentary around, proving the witty lyrics and great movie clips he made for each and every song on this album. Yet another proof Serj Tankian isn't just some man in the street.

This album is certainly worth the listen for the weekday System Of A Down fan (they'll especially find favour with songs like "Empty Walls" and "Lie Lie Lie", which is one of the two songs with female back up vocals by Ani Maldjian). But also the possible minority of open-minded people who like experimental music with the typical SOAD-like twists will have a good time listening to this album. Bottom line: don't expect "System Of A Down seen through the eyes of Serj Tankian", but rather "a look inside the wonderfully creative world of Serj Tankian". You can really discover an album full of suprises here, if you know how to appreciate them.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Production: 8

Written by Thryce | 31.01.2008



Comments: 20   Visited by: 371 users
31.01.2008 - 19:56
Lord Of Jörg
I love this album ! Good review
31.01.2008 - 20:50
Lone wanderer
Since when he went solo?? Hm... Myabe it would be worth of checking out..
31.01.2008 - 22:18
really good review. i have listened to the album a few times and with what you wrote you kind of make people understand what it is going to sound like, which is what reviews are all about. very interesting album and well done for the review!
alive in the superunknown
31.01.2008 - 22:29
The only thing that I really don't like at all about this album, is that the lyrics are increadibly repetitive. Serj sings the same lyrics maybe three times per song in some of the tracks, which is quite dull. Otherwise, good review
31.01.2008 - 23:40
I checked some samples and videos regarding this album, and it actually sounded quite promising. Should be worth checking out I think.
01.02.2008 - 00:01
Rosetta Stoned
Beethoven's Cunt? ...
01.02.2008 - 00:27
I don't think the album is very good. I found the production a little weak, the song structures unimaginative & repetitive, and the lyrics sub-par...

... but it's so goddamned catcy... I can't stop listening to it!
Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem.
By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.
01.02.2008 - 04:56
sounds interesting, why the hell I didn't got it yet?
01.02.2008 - 18:50
It is quite an experimental record indeed.

"Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"
About me:

"The best out of all the people ever" - Washington Post

"We abandoned Christ for Destroyah's love!" - The Watchtower

"Simply amazing!" - Rolling Stone
02.02.2008 - 04:59
nice...I guess I won't be buying this thing then...
03.02.2008 - 17:51
Advice Troll
I'll go download it now and check if it worths its money...
Bitch! Please
04.02.2008 - 18:38
seems like you got a serj tankian altar in one corner of your already decided his musical genius is's like he's given sooo much to the music as we know it today.

...and good old headbanging suddenly became "mindlessly banging our heads".great.

pardon me for not listening serj tankian or soad when i dont want to "mindlessly bang my head".

i prefer something like mono,god is an astronaut and such.and musical richness?..oh man there are loads of bands before this guy that's for sure!!!
i'm super, thanks for asking
05.02.2008 - 21:12
Retired Staff
Written by dancingdecember on 04.02.2008 at 18:38

pardon me for not listening serj tankian or soad when i dont want to "mindlessly bang my head".

So if I understand it correctly you don't quite listen to SOAD and Serj Tankian? Because you say you don't listen to them when you don't want to bang your head. So if you do want to bang your head, you would listen to the both of them. Because that's what you say if you drop the double negations, right? But, and as I said in the review, both SOAD and Serj Tankian aren't really music for "good old headbanging", so again you won't be listening to them because you simply cannot really bang your head on it. Conclusion is: you don't listen to them at all.
Pardon me if this reasoning turns out to be wrong, but then you need to explain yourself better, it's as simple as that.

So, if this reasoning is true, you cannot judge nor SOAD, nor Serj Tankian, nor my review, because you don't even listen to them, right? That means the possible credibility and correctness of all your arguments are simply crushed down, because you are in no position to argue because you have no knowledge about it.

Either way, I will discuss your other points and comments too, not because I don't like some constructive criticism, but because some of them are either simply false, or because I have something to say about it (after all, criticism is a form of communication).
Written by dancingdecember on 04.02.2008 at 18:38

seems like you got a serj tankian altar in one corner of your room.


Written by dancingdecember on 04.02.2008 at 18:38

it's like he's given sooo much to the music as we know it today.


Written by dancingdecember on 04.02.2008 at 18:38

and musical richness?..oh man there are loads of bands before this guy that's for sure!!!

Three wrong interpretations of the review! Let's get this straight: I did NOT praise Serj Tankian and his album to the skies. I gave it a fair rating, and made the review as objective as possible. What did I say about Serj Tankian? That he's crazy, that's he's creative, that he's a talented musician and a multi-instrumentalist and that he's not just some man in the street. Where did I say he's like a god to me? Where did I say he's a musical mastermind who gives so much to the musical world? Where did I say he's unique and you should totally listen to his music? Where? The only thing I did was telling true facts (yes he's a multi-instrumentalist, yes he's talented, yes he's creative and crazy! You can't go around and deny those facts because that's just who Serj Tankian is) so that everyone could get a fair picture of Serj Tankian and the album. I didn't enforce my opinion, I just mentioned fair facts so that everyone could form a solid idea about this album, one of the goals of a review.
Written by dancingdecember on 04.02.2008 at 18:38

you already decided his musical genius is undiscussable

Wrong again. I said those things about Daron Malakian and not about Serj Tankian. You know, the other guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/producer/componist of System Of A Down (you do know, right?). Yes, I think he's a genius when it comes to music, and yes I think it's hard to deny it, if you look at the whole Daron Malakian picture in all objectivity. The man knows what he's doing, and on top of that, he's also really good at what he's doing. But that doesn't mean I said he's the only genius in music!!
Written by dancingdecember on 04.02.2008 at 18:38

...and good old headbanging suddenly became "mindlessly banging our heads".great.

I dare you, show me where I claimed that headbanging is mindlessly banging the head. This is what I exactly said: "This musical experiment is funky and heavy, but nothing you can mindlessly bang your head on all the time, if you get the picture." But obviosuly, you didn't get the picture. What I meant was, this isn't banging your head from the very first till the very last second, like on some certain other albums. What I meant was, this is totally something else than those certain heavy albums which are heavy for the sake of banging your head all the time. That's what I meant.
Written by dancingdecember on 04.02.2008 at 18:38

i prefer something like mono,god is an astronaut and such.

I respect your taste in music. But both of them have absolutely nothing to see with Serj Tankian, so I don't know why you bring them up here. Really, there really isn't anything striking that they have in common!

Conlusion: Read the last sentence again: "You can really discover an album full of suprises here, if you know how to appreciate them." Obviously, you don't know how to appreciate it, and that's fine by me, because I never said you should.

You know what would be really great though? That you quit putting words in my mouth I didn't even wrote, and that you try to read carefully what I said instead of wrongfully interpretating the whole review. That would be really really great
Your favorite band sucks.
06.02.2008 - 03:51
my problem was you make it look like its a very intellectual album that if someone doesnt like it or think otherwise they are not "open-minded" or dont know how to appreciate music.and you are still telling me i cant appreciate it coz i dont know how to do it!believe me i appreciate very different kinds of music styles.i listened soad A LOT when i was younger(to be precise when i was going to middle-school)and i know what its like and i know who that other "genius" is(what was his name again?) but i dont have to know him coz he is not important to me(im telling this coz you asked if i know him).actually i enjoy some songs like "sugar" when i hear them in a cafe or bar so i dont have anything against them(im not talking about politics tho)but i dont listen to them.and man,it's nasty to judge my grammar i may not write perfectly but i believe im able to make my points and you understand what i meant.the reason i brought out those other bands was to say if i want an intellectual album or an album that deserves to be discovered i'd go listen bands like know as a "musical journey".but that was my the end it's your review i know and i'm not trying to be an asshole but i thought you were giving more credit to those guys than they deserved.but then again it's my for the multi-instrumentalist thing,there are many artists who plays all the instruments but still makes crappy music.hell,there is a boy in my apartment that plays anything with keys and strings but he is still an emo and looks gay really,maybe i should have just quoted herzebeth and get the fuck out of here
i'm super, thanks for asking
07.02.2008 - 15:12
I 've dot this album since its release...and i think that its quite good. Serj is the melody and the lyrics in System Of A Down and he wanted to make an album as he wanted to and prove what is a skilled musician. Very good production, lyrics and melody with parts of madness, no surprises from serj who made a very good album.

P.S. I dont think that S.O.A.D are destroyied as some guys say. They just wanted to publish their work as solo musicians to show their own skills and character. A long timeout as they said. I expect that after the publish of the daron and john album they will be back to studio for a new SOAD record.
30.11.2008 - 21:46
Arcesse Eum
I think this album is ok... the drumming is awful in terms of choice of beats over riffs. If you listen to it with that in mind, you'll think "Wow, why didnt he play X beat instead of that stupid pseudo-blastbeat"
As above, so below.
02.11.2009 - 22:56
You know, after listening to this album I kinda realized something: a System of a Down album is a System of a Down album, great metal riffing Serj Tankian's awesome vocals, a revolutionary message etc. but a Serj Tankian album without SOAD is just an album of Serj yodeling with a few metal riffs thrown in. I don't know i didn't think it was that great. He's a tad overrated to me.
17.11.2009 - 00:16
Underpaid M.D.
Well I like Tankian's voice, and well many songs are very catchy, this album isn't the ultimate revolution in metal, but isn't pure bullshit either. I'll have to listen it more to have a real solid opinion.
"Les vers savent qu'ils n'ont pas d'ailes, c'est pour cela qu'ils se cachent sous terre"
17.11.2009 - 01:52
Chucky's Bride
There are a couple of decent tracks and you can tell Tankian plays a big role in the writing of SOAD songs, however, overall the album isn't really good and lacks something special. On the other hand, this is much better than Malakian's solo effort, Scars On Broadway.

"Seasons don't fear the reaper. Nor do the wind, the sun and the rain (we can be like they are)."
10.01.2011 - 19:03
Elodie Artour
Okay, I finally took my time to listen to that album. I found it a pretty nice and experimental one with quite a lot of catchy songs on it. (There are even some female vocals, hell yeah! ) I guess I'll get more used to it with time, as well. On the other hand though, I have to admit I'm pretty tired of Serj's political and social lyrics. Besides, writing lyrics against the political system of the States and still creating your average mainstream American rock is somewhat... ridiculous, so to say.

I like Serj as a singer, I respect him for his artissism, find his musical world indeed inspiring and imaginative, etc. Frankly said though, there's something about his solo career that is missing. (Cannot figure out what...) "Elect The Dead" simply fails to create the same impression on me SOAD's records always have. (Why the heck do most songs off the record have a video, btw?!)

P.S. 1: I miss that Asian feeling evident in the music of SOAD...
P.S. 2: Good review, Thryce!
Speak up dear 'cause I cannot hear you...

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