As System Of A Down
fans await any kind of studio release, Serj Tankian
has been busy with his solo work, namely his latest album, Harakiri
. To be quite honest, the first songs I heard ('Figure
', 'Occupied Tears') made me worry that Serj had lost his focus and patience within songwriting. Not that they were bad tracks, they just didn't have the kind of engaging personalities I had hoped for, as the sound perfectly matched anything from System Of A Down
or Serj Tankian
's Elect the Dead
. Luckily, I had heard my two least favorite tracks first.
I started searching throughout the album, desperately wanting one of Serj Tankian
's usual gems, and I ended up finding the whole treasure chest. This truly is Serj's best release to date. It's everything you would expect from the System Of A Down
chairman; it's odd, fast, thoughtful, and exceedingly opinionated, but it carries so much more than that.
It's hard to describe the entire record, due to the differing energies, styles, and moods of every track. Each song is a different journey into the expressive mind that is Serj Tankian
. Tracks like 'Cornucopia' and 'Butterfly' smack you in the face with a refreshing bag full of up-beat punk rock, while songs like 'Forget Me Knot' drown you in a melancholy that simultaneously remind you of impossible odds and give you the will to carry on.
There are a few moments when Serj Tankian
seemingly gets a bit lazy, and falls into an accustomed pattern of speedy palm-muted riffs and odd vocal chops, or foreboding beats and softly plucked mid-range notes. However, these songs aren't terrible by any means, they just don't measure up to the majority of pieces on the album. In addition, these moments are far and few in between, not to mention the concept of a skip button.
Another con: the placement and order of the songs make it a little difficult to listen to the album in its entirety. Nearly all of the ballads are stuffed together, while the majority of energetic tracks are shoved into the beginning and end of the record. A little more than halfway through the album, a change of pace is desperately needed; a break from the legion of turtle-paced landscapes.
Even with the obvious flaws of arrangement and slight laziness, the good certainly outweighs the bad on Harakiri
. Most pieces are very well thought-out, and very entertaining. From twangy, middle-eastern style guitars to electronic beats to dark piano leads, there are few dull moments on this release.
All in all, Harakiri
is a welcome, fresh change. It'll do everything from causing visions of punk rock circle pits to forcing you into love with bitter sadness and hopelessness. There's no shortage of schizophrenic, depressing, or just plain strange tracks here. I think all System Of A Down
and Serj Tankian
fans will be pleased. Harakiri
is perhaps one of the best albums of the summer, and it makes me wonder, what is Serj Tankian
going to do next?