System of a Down’s lead singer, Serj Tankian, has released a five-track solo EP titled Elasticity. It should come as no surprise that Tankian overtly voices his political concerns on recent Armenian protests and wars on this project. Tankian’s well-respected heavy metal vocal range and distinct voice are still center stage though. Elasticity holds a System of a Down Toxicity vibe, but of course, through a Tankian lens. It seems as though only Tankian knows how to perfect the mixture of classical, electronica and heavy metal music; he’s an alchemist of sorts.
The EP launches with the extremely catchy title track, “Elasticity.” The song features synthesizers, heavy drums and captivating electric guitar riffs that will have people headbanging along with every beat. Mid-song, the melody and vocals soften into a brief pause until Tankian’s strong vocals break the silence—Tankian has mastered this climactic technic over his many years at the apex of metal.
“Your Mom” is the most System of Down-adjacent song on the project. It features the heavy guitar and strong lyrics fans have come to expect from the band. Coincidentally, it begs the question of when can people expect new System of a Down music? Tankian’s lyricism is at its best as he urges soldiers to dig for the truth of war. “Unspeakable fool, you’re just a fucking tool,” he sings. Tankian also illustrates the horrors that occur in war. “Butchering, raping, killing and burning, brutally beheading your enemies,” he sings in the chorus. The only let down of this song is the fact that it is the shortest track on the EP, leaving behind a craving for more.
Tankian channels his orchestral-fusion talents in both “Rumi” and “How Many Times?,” as he includes classical piano melodies within each track. “Rumi,” the slowest track from the EP, is dedicated to Tankian’s son. He sings what is essentially an open letter to him, letting him know that he wishes him the best and offering him guidance. The mixture of melodies between the piano and the electric guitar, all alongside smashing drums is quite splendid. It’s truly something only a genius like Tankian can pull off.
The EP finishes off with the very thrilling “Electric Yerevan,” which summarizes the peaceful Armenian protests of 2015 in which demonstrators demanded the government stop the planned tax spikes on electricity. Just like Tankian describes in his lyrics, protestors were blasted with water cannons by police in an effort to forcibly disperse the crowd. Tankian mixes electronica and heavy metal in a peculiar way that just works flawlessly—it seems as though Tankian felt there was no other option than to include electronica in a song titled “Electric Yerevan.”
It is obvious that Elasticity was the foundations of a System of a Down album, yet it works 10 times better as a Tankian solo project, especially as it is a continuation of Tankian’s mission to have the Armenian Genocide recognized. Elasticity is a masterpiece—it truly speaks the spirit of rock by embracing political activism while jamming out to a killer rhythm.