“The debut solo album from the voice of System Of A Down”
So the sticker on the cover states. Perhaps a subtle jab at System Of A Down guitarist Daron Malakian, who took over the majority of vocal duties on the band’s last album(s), pushing the eccentric, colorful Serj Tankian to the background and leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many.
Certainly more accessible than his last side-project, Serart, and sounding more like System Of A Down than 2005’s “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize” did, Serj’s solo album will come as a welcome refreshment to many a System Of A Down fans. While the last two albums were good efforts (yours truly still rates them rather high), they were missing a certain element that originally gave System Of A Down their appeal. On “Elect The Dead,” Serj Tankian tries to capture that spirit. In all honesty, it’s a pretty simple album. If you love his band and his voice, you’re going to love this album. It holds up just fine next to the best System Of A Down material, with the haunting melodies and random outbursts, calling out corrupt politicians and a complacent public. Aside from the typical System-fare on rocking tracks like “Empty Walls” and “The Unthinking Majority,” Serj busts out the acoustic guitar for “Sky Is Over” and “Baby” and the piano for “Saving Us,” “Honking Antelope” and the album’s epic closing track, “Elect The Dead.” Almost all the instruments are played by Serj himself, and he plays fluidly and seamlessly, almost like a real band. He gets some help on drums from Brain (of Primus/Guns N’ Roses fame) and System Of A Down’s John Dolmayan, but for the most part, it’s just Serj producing the sounds. Not to sound redundant, as it can’t be said enough, but “Elect The Dead” is definitely an album worth picking up if you love System Of A Down. It’s not too far removed from that sound, and Serj manages to add a few little flourishes here and there to perk up the ears. It’s good enough to be considered System-canon. Really, you can’t go wrong here.