Harakiri Article Review

Harakiri is the Japanese word for the honourable ritualistic suicide as practised by samurai; it is also the title of Serj Tankian’s latest solo effort. The System of a Down frontman has released two solo albums prior to Harakiri titled Elect the Dead and Imperfect Harmonies. The latest record, however, is definitively moving in a more up-tempo punk direction, somewhat reminiscent of his System of a Down days.

The album is filled with passionate socio-political statements such as “CEOs are the disease” and “without an education, there is no real democracy”. Tankian has been known to use the art of music to voice his opinion and Harakiri is certainly no exception. Whilst many dub the work of the System of a Down members as just another “stick it to the man” band with an opinion, it is important to acknowledge the intricacy of their work and the issues that are discussed. Said issues are not extremist or radical views, nor are they forcibly bestowed upon listeners. Rather they are eye-opening societal issues, like the death of an estimated 100,000 drum fish in early 2011 which was suspected to be a result of stress caused by human activity such as fireworks or mass disease. Tankian has previously attacked unequal globalisation, the democratic deficit and reality TV, but this is the first record to explicitly show Tankian’s interest and concern for animal wellbeing. This is not to say that the album should be labelled another “tree-hugger” record either, as the ninth track, appropriately titled “Reality TV”, attacks the TV industry’s tendency to broadcast fundamentally mental and “deprived-of-meaning” (Tankian’s words) programmes.

Tankian put Harakiri together in his home studio outside LA. Interestingly, he started each song on an iPad. This new way of music composition is just one of the inimitable quirks which Tankian possesses.

It can be seen that Harakiri is a very well rounded album which I predict will attract the attention of a wide demographic; from Armenians to punk rock fans and many in between. We can expect orchestral, electronic and jazz albums in the near future, so if Harakiri isn’t to your tastes, stay tuned!

Serj will be playing three dates in the UK – details can be found here.

Serj Tankian in AYF apparel

— Andre Asaturyan

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