Serj Tankian is a leading figure in the new age of rock and roll. His music proves that formulaic mainstream refrains and tired guitar riffs aren’t the keys to successful hits.
Review by Jon Ondrashek
Few people can effectively illuminate views on political and current events through the spoken medium. Fewer yet can do so with poetic lyricism and a cornucopia of musical flavors. Serj Tankian can, and he does. In his third solo release, Harakiri, Tankian delivers a personable, brilliant album chock-full of savory sounds and poignant stances on a multitude of subjects.
The album kicks off with “Cornucopia,” where instruments and words pay homage to all powers of nature. The second track, “Figure It Out”, displays Tankian’s array of vocal talent. Rapid drums hit hard, disappear, and hit hard again. All the while, Tankian’s voice keeps pace and sets it up for the final crescendo. As always, he does not shy away from cursing to drive the point home.
“Ching Chime” has an alluring Middle Eastern vibe. This third track is a lyrically playful song that informs everyone to open their eyes lest their futures be swept away.
The title track, “Harakiri,” opens fast and segues into melodic vocals worthy of an arena full of flickering lighters. It speeds up toward the end and takes on a more uplifting beat, shining a hopeful light on the future.
“Deafening Silence” has an addictive electronic touch. Flitting bird-like notes during the refrain harbor the illusion of peace. Near the middle, the pace slows and flows into a twisting tongue-rolling verse that makes the head bob. In the following track, “Forget Me Knot,” a piano adds an uplifting underlay to an ominous song, where Tankian promises a rise as a collective whole. The lyrics push spiritual and existential issues to the forefront of existence.
Tankian playfully mocks the allure of reality television in the track “Reality TV,” touting it as a selfish, false, and senseless spin on the real world. “Uneducated Democracy” has a boisterous mosh feel and delivers fist-pumping speed and heavy guitar riffs. It loudly promises that “the final revolution will illuminate silence.”
“Weave On” is a vivid culmination to the album and displays Tankian’s penchant for sensational metaphors and imagery.
Serj Tankian’s lack of poetic restraint will leave the masses wanting more. This is unarguably his best album yet; every track resonates and begs to be heard again. Tankian is a leading figure in the new age of rock and roll. His music proves that formulaic mainstream refrains and tired guitar riffs aren’t the keys to successful hits. Harakiri will be released July 10, 2012 on Warner Brothers Records, but you can stream the entire album HERE now thanks to Red Bull.