Review by Ellen Eldridge
Generally speaking, I don’t choose to spend my time listening to others bitch about religious freedom or political injustice. I delete those friends on Facebook who spread horrible pictures of abused animals and children, not because I am insensitive but because that’s the last thing I need upsetting me during my morning coffee. Rather than wallowing in the sick and perverse, as I did all too often in high school, I choose to qualify my time listening to that which inspires me to improve and find hope.
Then along comes a new Serj Tankian record, and I toss all that out the closest window and stretch myself to the limits trying to make out every word and understand the madness behind the beautiful melodies on Harakiri.
Operatic and haunted. Lyrics like “You foam at the mouth and disappear” permeate the opening track, “Cornucopia,” and then the maddened, near thrash-sounding song “Figure It Out” follows. The passion of Tankian usually lies in his ability to combine scattered elements pointing out the madness in the system while the lyrics stay reflective and well-thought-out.
Though I don’t want to do a track-by-track review of Harakiri, Tankian makes it difficult to choose which songs to recognize in a review because, seriously, the whole album stays fresh, fast-paced and melodic; he seamlessly mixes elements of beauty and corruption. “Ching Chime” must have to do with the corrupting power of money, and intricate patterns matching more exotic music. Not quite anything I can specifically point to, but something in the rhythms elicits a sense of the foreign. No surprise considering Tankian’s wide range of musical influences.
The break downs and the layers of truly passionate ideas make Harakiri a wonderful third addition to Tankian’s solo work. “We are being sacrificed by our own suspicions; we are being sodomized by repetition,” he sings in “Butterfly,” and this album is a great release from that repetition.
“Harakiri, an infectious celebration of our collective unconscious suicide” explains Serj Tankian on the meaning behind his new album. “The message here is as important as the music as seen on the video for the title track – hear it, see it, post it, share it, love it, hate it, own it. We raped the earth yet don’t know why it strikes. Children outcry grandfather sky.”
Harakiri is out now on Warner Brothers Records and in addition to the title track video, fans can watch the official video for “Figure It Out.”