Serj Tankian - Elect The Dead review
|Album:||Elect The Dead|
|Release date:||October 2007|
01. Empty Walls
02. The Unthinking Majority
04. Feed Us
05. Saving Us
06. Sky Is Over
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]
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.
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