Occupied And Loving It
Asked to name the voice of political discourse in rock music today, the masses would overwhelmingly respond “Serj Tankian.” The erstwhile System Of A Down frontman has been steadily leaving his mark with adventurous solo albums over the past five years, but with Harakiri, Tankian returns to his California beginnings.
Opener “Cornucopia” begins with a SOAD-inspired melody before ripping into mid-90s style punk. This sets the pace for the record as well, with Tankian exploring a punk and hardcore sound evoking the early days of System. “Figure It Out” recalls more of the hardcore scene with its uptempo breaks, while the title track investigates the idea of animal suicide with one of Tankian’s inimitable heavy ballads. “Occupied Tears” is a thinly veiled endorsement of the Occupy movement, its catchy, electro-tinged groove one of the standouts of the album. “Reality TV” injects a little of the Middle Eastern flair Tankian has become known for, denouncing the state of television today, followed by the SoCal thrashy punk of “Uneducated Democracy.” Finally, closer “Weave On” is a leftover from Tankian’s work with Steven Sater on a musical version of Prometheus Bound, and suggests straight-ahead rock in a way only SOAD can.
Serj Tankian has once again delivered a supremely catchy, thought-provoking, hard-rocking record, while still exploring new facets of his abilities and opinions. Fans of his solo work will definitely want to own this, as will fans of politically charged music in general. Fans of System, especially the earlier records, should grab this, too. Well done, Mr. Tankian. We can’t wait to see what you craft next.