Serj Tankian - Elect The Dead
- Artist: Serj Tankian
- Album: Elect The Dead
- Label: WEA
- Year of Release: 2007
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: solitaryman on 2007-10-22
To say this release has been anticipated is more than an understatement; it's a downright sin. After the announced hiatus of System of a Down, most of our thoughts soon drifted to the possibility of solo projects from the band's two main contributers, Serj and Daron. But mostly Serj. Don't get me wrong, the entire band is talented in their own ways but if you're asking me, Mr. Tankian is the heart, soul and true artistic spirit of the band. His poetic aspirations (however confusing they tend to be) and soulful vocals are what's kept me coming back as each successive album declined in quality, at any rate. I've been more than excited to hear what Serj could do on his own. Elect the Dead has just been released, and we'll all want to know: how does it stack up?
Just to get it out in the open, it stacks up well. In fact, to close the SOAD comparisons right now (it's just not fair to keep at it), this is the best album Serj has been apart of since his "other band's" debut release. And that wasn't Toxicity, to clear up any confusion. Now, onto the record. "Empty Walls" is the album's opener and first single, and it's a song I'm sure most of us are familiar with by now. It's a great one for sure, with epic and driving riffs, hints at "Aerials" through the groovy verses and catchy bridge and chorus. Serj is still politicing through lyrics (if the name of the title didn't give you a clue to that), but he's much more clear with his points throughout Elect the Dead than he ever has been. And I doubt he's ever shown so much of his impressive range of vocal abilities than he does over these 12 songs. "The Unthinking Majority" comes next and is one of the album's best, a more punk-fueled track with worldy guitar melodies and a cool little pre-bridge that sounds like it may be based on traditional Armenian music. "Money" shows more dynamic and a progressive songwriting mindset, reminding you of a leftover from the "Serart" project. Over the rest of the album there's barely a hint of letting up, and it's obvious Tankian's creative juices are on full display, more so than they were ever allowed with that other band.
Fans of System will love this, no doubt. There's plenty enough moments that will have you thinking of them, for better or for worse. That's just inevitable. But what makes this a true solo album is what also makes it great; it sounds so drastically different, and at times far better than the shadow of a bigger beast it is set beneath. It's great to hear Serj Tankian at his very best. Elect The Dead has impressed me deeply, and the scary thing is I think it's the type of album that takes awhile to really grow on you. So, for SOAD fans and otherwise, you shouldn't regret checking this one out at all.
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