New Album, Typical Tankian

Rock and metal singer Serj Tankian is releasing a new studio album Sept. 21.

Expect political outcry, string accompaniment and the ex-System of a Down lead man’s unmistakable croon.

“Imperfect Harmonies” is the singer’s second solo album.

His first album after the hiatus with metal band System of a Down, “Elect the Dead,” featured heavy political condemnations and striking lyrics backed by creative videos.

The video for the song “Empty Wall,” summarizes the singer’s view on the United States’ military actions.

The events of Sept. 11, the invasion of Iraq and Guantanamo Bay are all metaphorically represented by children playing with alphabet blocks, bubble guns and other toys.

His music on “Elect the Dead” was strong enough to merit playing the entire album with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

So far, the new videos look similar to his typical hyperbole. In a new lyric video for the song  “Left Of Center,” a stark and obvious juxtaposition of Nazi soldiers and United Nations soldiers marching leaves the viewer puzzled and disturbed.

Unsurprisingly, the actual music video is even more unnerving.

Tankian is never afraid to push the envelope, often sending shivers down the spine of viewers and listeners alike while making some question authority, and angering a whole lot more.

In fact, that has been his style since System of a Down debuted with their self-titled album in 1998.

The band’s sophomore set of tracks, “Toxicity,” cranked up the heat on U.S. policy, while their third entry, “Steal This Album!” was packaged in a seemingly generic, clear case and recorded on what looked like a blank CD.

System of a Down’s swan song came in 2005 with dual albums “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize.”

Songs like “B.Y.O.B.,” “Cigaro,” “Sad Statue” and several others jabbed at the media, war and the disposition of world leaders.

So is Serj Tankian doing anything new with this album?

Message wise, perhaps not (“We’re bombing your ignorance, defeating your insolence” could not be more clear), but lyrically, the music is much more poetic. Tankian’s new music does not flow like a river. Instead, tunes like “Left of Center” have  more staccato-like dynamics and phrasing. The technique creates a jarring effect that some will love and some will hate.

One thing is certain: Tankian is not quitting the music game any time soon.

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