Sound — 8
Serj Tankian's Elect The Dead was Serj's attempt to branch out from the confines of his most famed band System of A Down. Tankian in fact is a multi-intrumentalist who decided to push himself to the limit with his first solo release. Tankian plays every instrument on the album and regarding the overall layers on the album it is quite an impressive feat within itself. You can hear the classic eastern influence that has been ever so present in Serj's past projects. As a whole, the album is well produced, but throughout the album you can't help to say to yourself " I've heard this before". The incorporation of the Piano is a new element in the mix and done tastefully.
Lyrics — 5
Tankian is known for his socio-political themes and obscure imagery and nothing changes on Elect The Dead. There are no smoke screens on this one. His distaste for war, impoverishment, and greed is clearly stated. Although all important subjects in today's society, many fans have grown up from the days when Tankian's ranting and raving was observed as edgy and unique. At this point, it seems more as a crutch then true expression. At this point, I think fans in general are ready for a deeper perspective then cheap analysis. I can turn on CNN or Fox News to hear pompousness. Serj comes off as arrogant overtly artsy then necessary, giving the vibe that he is trying too hard to make a ripple in an overcrowded swimming pool.
Overall Impression — 6
Musically, as a one man band, the album is impressive, however it seems like he is charting charted territory. It sounds like System of A Down because he is the voice of System of A Down. The issue is that these songs although, nicely constructed, don't have anymore of a punch then mesmerize or hypnotize. An era when it seems System of A Down is going in the wrong direction ( based on Art, technicality, and an highly educated pompous attitude) Serj follows in that direction instead of showing passion and anger, what made his voice shine on earlier pressings. Tankian falls short lyrically and creatively, even though he finally gets to show off his talents.