Elect The Dead Review

artist: Serj Tankian date: 12/11/2009 category: compact discs
Serj Tankian: Elect The Dead
Release Date: Oct 23, 2007
Label: Warner Bros.
Genres: Industrial Metal, Neo-Prog, Hard Rock, Progressive Metal
Number Of Tracks: 12
Even if you're tired of endless moaning about politics and dumb society, "Elect The Dead" is a great rock album.
 Sound: 8.4
 Lyrics: 8.4
 Overall Impression: 8.4
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reviews (5) 148 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9
Elect The Dead Reviewed by: UG Team, on october 26, 2007
21 of 23 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 9

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 8.7
Elect The Dead Reviewed by: Travis.P, on october 26, 2007
5 of 9 people found this review helpful

Sound: Very distinct metal/rock sound. Basically System of a Down without Daron singing, which gives it a much more balanced feel. Composed very well, especially since Serj did most the recording/playing himself. Excellent use of many, many various instruments, including anything from a synthesizer, cello, and violin which are featured on several tracks throughout the album. // 8

Lyrics: Unique and original singing/lyrics which we've come to expect of Serj. The lyrics are very insightful with a strong message tied into each song. The song titles and lyrics seem to suggest Serj's well-known and strong protest about the inhumanities and troubles surrounding his heritage which is tied back to Armenia. And again, Serj's singing is, well, Serj's specialty. // 9

Overall Impression: Seeing as this is his first solo album, he has done quite well for himself. He puts out the same energy and emotion as he did with SOAD. Some of the songs that stand out from the album are of course, "Empty Walls" which is available as a ring tone, "The Unthinking Majority", again also available as a ring tone, and "Feed Us" which offers a roller coaster of rising and falling intensity in both the lyrics and music. My personal favorite about the album is it's Serj Tankian, including bits from John and Shavo, it's nice to see them active again. Seeing as I have ripped this to my computer already, I probably wouldn't bother buying it again, but in the case of if I had no computer, I would definately buy it again. It's one of those albums you can just sit down and listen straight through, whether your driving somewhere or just wasting time on the internet. Excellent music to get you pumped, as all SOAD music is anyways! // 9

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overall: 9.3
Elect The Dead Reviewed by: welcom2duhjungl, on july 21, 2008
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Wow. It's very impressive. It has the metal/rock sound of SOAD only without Daron's voice. Most of the songs are very fast while some are slower filled with heart-strong emotion. You can tell he did spend a lot of time on composing it all with the help of John Dolmayan, the SOAD drummer. Songs are amazingly catchy, got me singing the whole day. // 9

Lyrics: Titles of the songs are most unique such as "Beethoven's Cunt". Most lyrics are simple, short, and sweet. They get the point across. While some are mind boggling. The lyrics are very deep based on his observation of the war, the way people live their lives, the corruption of power, and so on. His voice is louder, but they're deeper. You could hear the emotion coming out such as "Sky is Over". // 10

Overall Impression: This is his first solo album and he puts up a good fight. He has good intentions behind his music as he did when he was with SOAD. When I went into a music store and heard a sample of his songs, I immediately caught on. It's something you can't easily ignore. You can tell he's put a lot of work in. "Empty Walls" is one of my favorites since it's varies from heavy tone to a soft piano melody. Another one of my favorite is "Sky Is Over" where you know Serj's emotion are true. If this was stolen from me, I'd definitely go and buy it again. If you're a SOAD fan, you'll definitely get the taste of SOAD with this album. // 9

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overall: 8.7
Elect The Dead Reviewed by: Prisoner5, on october 23, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I've reviewed the Scars on Broadway album, so it's only fair I review this one too. It is remarkable how much of System of a Down's sound Serj took with him, despite the fact that Daron was their primary composer. Songs like Aerials, Question, Lonely Day, perhaps Hypnotize, would not be out of place on this album, which took the quiet, melodic aspects from System and split it up to a more or less permanent piano, and 2 guitars. One giant flaw in this album is the homogenosity (? ) of the album, with many of the songs sounding remarkably similar. In fact, at some point, two songs that play back to back sounds so alike at first that I thought the CD was damaged or dirty. Also, it seems that they lost much of the Eastern European melody that made System so original and attractive. Regardless, the nice balance of some heavy parts that were kept simple and the complex melodic quiet parts manages to make this album rather special to those unfamiliar with System of a Down and a nice blast from the past to System of a Downs older stuff. It does lack the heaviness of songs like Sugar, and Darons melodic guitar's absence leaves a whole in our hearts, but it cannot be helped... // 8

Lyrics: Serj, as always, has to hit every political issue. Regardless of what the song is about literally, you almost always hear the political lines more. "She came to me within a dream" is somehow lost as "Killing us, they're killing us" rushes in to assault your sensibilities. As a lover of songs that actually say something, this keeps me listening. Serj's skills as a singer are even more prevalent now once complimented by a piano, although his sccreaming skills are absent in this album. His deep warm lows and twanging highs (it sounds like I'm describing a guitar) manage to convey the lyrics nicely past the complex usic into our ear. He also managed to find a rhythm guitarist/backup singer, who, in Empty Walls, can be mistaken for him, giving the illusion of him singing two parts simultaneously (on the CD, it sounds like a simple doubling of the tracks, but after seeing him live, I saw the truth of the situation). // 9

Overall Impression: It seems that Serj and Scars will both forever be compared to System of a Down, and never as favorably... this album lacks the oomph and variety of SOAD, but to those of us who preferred the gentle, moving songs over the loud, weird ones, this album will do the trick. // 9

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overall: 6.3
Elect The Dead Reviewed by: GoodCharloteSux, on december 11, 2009
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 5

Overall Impression: 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. // 6

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