Sound — 9
Elect The Dead is the long-awaited album from one of the most enigmatic artists in rock scene -- System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian. Since the band stopped any activity in August 2006, Tankian locked up in his home studio in Los Angeles, working on a solo record. Elect The Dead consists of both new songs and some old material. As greatest rock musicians, Tankian played most of the instruments on the album himself, except of some help from his colleagues, including System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan and Bryan "Brain" Mantia (Primus, Tom Waits, Guns N' Roses). There are a lot of interesting eastern-influenced melodies appearing here and there in the songs. The CD is very rich in sounding -- lots of very different instruments are multi-layered in every song. Tankian compares the process and excitement making this CD with the first System Of a Down album in 1998. Each song lives it's own little life, carrying it's own story, changing unpredictably from verse to chorus and awakening surrealist images in your head. Even though some guitar parts are replaced by piano, there are still plenty of heavy astonishing riffs in the tracks. The majority of the album is furious with galloping tempo. There are very few quiet moments that burst out after a few seconds. Like Baby that starts as an acoustic guitar ballad and turns into a heavy rock intense song after the first verse. The title song is a peaceful piano-based track with poignant vocals about timeless All I need is you. Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition reminds me of more of a crazy circus than of a rock song. It is such a chaos I don't know how he managed to put all of this together.
Lyrics — 9
Just by looking at tracks' titles you can tell those are not your average sky is blue, grass is green songs. Tracks like The Unthinking Majority or Beethoven's Cunt don't leave you any doubts this is something interesting. Though nothing else is to be expected from System Of a Down frontman. The songs have one of the deepest and thoughtful lyrics I've heard in rock songs lately. Of course the subjects of Iraq and modern society bother the author the most. Like the single The Unthinking Majority, which is a song about the current catastrophe of failing democracy. The back vocals are as diverse as the album itself -from soft female chorus in Lie Lie Lie to mad impossibly high screams performed by opera soprano Ani Maldjian in Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition.
Overall Impression — 9
Even though the tracks are very different, Tankian somehow turned it into a very solid piece. The author didn't limit himself in experimentations, carrying one unific idea in his head. Due to its constant tempo and mood changes, the album turns out to be moving and alive. The tracks are full of energy and fury with words of anger matching intense music. Even if you're tired of endless moaning about politics and dumb society, Elect The Dead is a great rock album. This is the case when the attitude of the musician can't spoil the genius.