CD Review: Serj Tankian

Elect the Dead Serjical Strike/Reprise
Music •••½ Sound •••½

As he does in System of a Down, Tankian blends ferocious thrash with melodic stylings on his solo debut, delivering blackly comic commentary with his unmistakably silly (and sometimes legitimately stirring) voice. But that's not all. On "Money," he rings up solemn goth orchestration and speedy hardcore punk, often in the same measure. On "Feed Us," gentle acoustic guitar morphs into rumbling electric ax, which leads to tuneful buzz-saw power-pop. But Tankian's most schizoid moments arrive in "Sky Is Over," a hodgepodge of industrial shtömp, ball-breaking mullet-rawk, Zappa-esque munchkin-speak, and intentionally syrupy mockery that, just barely, works. And it flows nicely into the utterly odd falsetto that introduces the head-bangin' love song "Baby." Speaking of baby, this album is definitely Tankian's; if not for a couple of helpers, it would be a one-man show. And despite being a bit too disjointed, it's a show that's worth checking out.

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