Serj Tankian - Harakiri [Punk / Alternative Rock]
It has been 7 years since System Of A Down's last offering. Whilst many fans were bemoaning the drop in quality of SOAD's Hypnotize, I thought it was a landmark release at that time (and honestly, still do). SOAD was a band that had the balls to do what they want, to implant their own identity into a music world that was stagnating and coming out with ridiculous rock (the 2000s saw emo rock fly to the top of the charts). Furthermore, SOAD's music had as much wit and brains as it had aggression. So you could only guess my extreme disappointment when SOAD broke up.
Fast forward 7 years, the lead singer of SOAD has stepped out with his third solo album. If anything, this may be some of his best solo material to date, but will never hold a candle to SOAD's career. That said, Serj Tankian does show why he was part of the mastermind behind SOAD's superior song writing capabilities.
Songs like 'Cornucopia' and 'Harakiri' showcase some of Serj's best poetry to date, whilst the Middle Eastern flourish on 'Ching Chime', undoubtedly the best song on the album, showcase extremely unorthodox vocal melodies that are very catchy, which is a very nice experimentation. However, that seems to be all. Serj's operatic style does not seem to go well with the punk elements on this album, and many of the songs come out repetitive. Also, whilst Serj's vocals may be an acquired taste, even a long time fan like me cannot deny that sometimes the operatic tinge in his voice could use a bit of the aggression he showcased in SOAD. In fact, many moments on the album sound like SOAD minus the fantastic dual harmonies provided by the other SOAD key member, Daron Malakian (whose solo effort, Scars On Broadway, still beats out any of Serj's efforts, which kinda show who the actual mastermind in SOAD was).
To wrap up, this album is a applaudable effort, but sounds watered down, save for maybe four or five songs. Instrumentation is too safe. Serj needs to get rid off his opera instinct and return to his SOAD. An okay album at best.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average - Half of album is listenable