Release Date: Jul 10, 2012
Record label: Reprise
The Serj is back, but is his new album 'Harakiri' worth any cop? With the likelihood of another System Of A Down album looking more and more like a distant dream, a third solo offering from frontman Serj Tankian is pretty much the next best thing. The first in a series of forthcoming releases, ‘Harakiri’ shares much with Tankian’s former day job in terms of approach, adopting a far punkier and up-tempo manner than you might expect. ‘Figure It Out’ could have been lifted off virtually any SOAD album, while the unusual melodies of ‘Cornucopia’ are deceptively catchy despite their slightly bizarre nature.
Review Summary: All systems goSerj Tankian must not get a moment’s peace. As well as being the sometimes erstwhile front man for System Of A Down, he produces records, runs his own label and remains very much involved with any number of politically-inclined causes. Not content with that, the gnomic Armenian-American has revealed plans to release four full LPs in 2012.
Though he possesses one of the most instantly recognizable singing voices in music, Serj Tankian has still spent the last five years finding his musical "voice" as a solo artist, steadily working his way out of the shadow of his work fronting nü-prog rockers System of a Down. After taking his sound in an increasingly grand direction, an idea that culminated in the singer recasting his debut album with a symphony on Elect the Dead Symphony, Tankian returns to a more direct rock sound with his third album, Harakiri. Filled with political angst, this album feels the most lyrically similar to SOAD, with lines like "sucking seeds is pastime" even serving as direct references to "Toxicity" ("eating seeds is a pastime activity").
System of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian has suggested that he will release four full-length albums this year outside of his recently reunited band, each with a different goal. Later, we’ll get one jazz album (Jazz-Iz Christ), one orchestral (Orca), and one electro-western (Fuktronic, with Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence). But first there’s Harakiri, a disc with diverse musical influences, but dominated by Tankian’s world-aware lyrics first and foremost.
No one left System of a Down during their hiatus in 2005 with more goodwill than singer Serj Tankian. Once the man with a voice (and passionate, political lyrics) that was his group’s driving characteristic, he had been flat-out neutered by the band’s pair of #1 albums in 2005, Mesmerize and Hypnotize. On those two albums, Tankian split a distracting and confounding amount of the songwriting and vocal duties with guitarist Daron Malakian, who delivered such winning couplets as “Such a lonely day, and it’s mine / The most loneliest day of my life.
On “Harakiri,” his third studio solo album, System of a Down’s Serj Tankian is poet, jester, agitator, and seeker all balled into one frenetic rock ’n' roll singer. “Harakiri” is an 11-song lament, with Tankian bemoaning environmental degradation, political hypocrisy, and social decay. Tankian brings inventive twists to his songs: the abstract wordplay of “Cornucopia,” the spastic diatribes of “Figure It Out.” The material ranges from brooding to comical to just plain punk.