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Serj Tankian, Elect the Dead

While progressive nu-metal rockers System of a Down are on indefinite hiatus, ranting front man Serj Tankian is the first one out of the gate with a solo album.On Elect the Dead, System’s rifling start-and-stop guitar riffs, colliding drum barrages and Tankian’s trademark wail are all still present. Rightfully so, Tankian has always been proud of the diversity of sounds that he incorporates. “The Unthinking Majority” evolves from your standard metal grind to a Bollywood influenced circus; “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” is a mess of raw ideas that includes piano interludes, keyboard acrobatics and a stuttering chorus. But when Tankian repeatedly strays from the political front and honestly sings about relationships, he embarrassingly regurgitates clichés. For example, on “Baby” he yelps among the stirring, yet cheesy, wall of guitars, “Baby oh baby, (repeat 3 times), I miss you, lalala.” Elect the Dead is no step forward for Tankian and he takes his experimental tendencies way over the top, coming off like a modern day Primus. And when was the last time you put on a Primus record? (Serjical Strike/Reprise)

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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