Review Summary: Scars On Broadway consistently fails in making competent political rock.Scars On Broadway - Scars On Broadway
System of a Down are one of my favorite bands, as they had helped me get into music as a whole. Several things about the band appealed to me, Serj’s grandioso vocals, John’s high power drum work, and most of all, Daron’s magnificent riffing energy. Daron’s riffs weren’t complex or even technical, but they got the job done with their frenzied madness and their jaw dropping quickness. As System declined, I still loved Daron’s riffs, but his newfound vocal and lyrical contributions were mediocre at best, and god awful at their worst (Lonely Day), and Serj had been delegated to a completely minor role as half-vocalist and quarter lyricist. The balance of members had been overthrown, and later System albums would be led by noise and confusion, which would lead to the break up of the band. Serj Tankian’s solo album has been released his debut album to fairly positive reception from the public, would Daron Malakian’s solo album live up to the hype? The answer that comes from this album is a resounding no.
Daron Malakian is a relatively good guitarist, and had some nice riffs back in his System days. However, with this album, Daron’s guitar work has been dumped down to slow, bland and boring power chords. Songs like “They Say” are constructed of some of the simplest chord progressions in all of music, with “They Say” consisting of a simple of “I-VI-IV-III” structure during the verses. The closest thing to the frenzied madness of System is “Chemicals”, which switches from a medium paced verse to a frantic chorus without sounding forced. “Kill Each Other- Live Forever” feels epic, switching from melodic parts, to patriotic parts, all the way to a keyboard bridge, and captures the System feel that Daron was clearly aiming for. Other than those few examples, Daron’s guitar work feels really uninspired and lacks in complexity or even the raw effect it used to have.
As I have said, Daron’s introduction to the vocal and lyrical aspects of the band defeated part of what made the band great, Serj’s wonderful metaphors and grandioso vocals. His vocal chords are surprising, excellent on the album, with the exception of “Chemicals”, in which he mumbles in an ugly way “come eat some chemicals with me, come eat some chemicals”. On “Kill Each other- Live Forever”, Daron poses a nice, clean, and melodic vocal that can be appreciated by anyone. The lyrics, however, are still really terrible. Instead of giving you several examples and telling you immature stuff like THIS **** SUCKS, I am just going to tell you how they look overall. The lyrics sound like Daron is attempting to make Serj-like political metaphor, but trying to do that while sounding like a retarded 6th grader. The failures of Daron’s lyrics are at their worst on songs such as “Babylon”, “They Say”, and “World Long Gone”, when he actually tries to sound serious.
So why does this album warrant a review, or even a rating, much less a 2. The answer to that question is that some individual songs succeed on their own, and thus keep the album from being a complete failure. “They Say”, despite it’s short comings, is a fairly enjoyable radio rock track, sure to stir up some trouble on the radio. “Universe” is a sweet track, with plenty of complex changes throughout the song, including *gasp* a fitting solo. Despite what everyone says, Chemicals is a wonderful mixture of System’s frantic sound with a more **** rock oriented sound, along with a electronic pre-chorus that should sure choke up some unwanted fun. Serious is enjoyably silly, and was probably meant to make a few System fan boys laugh with joy. The songs are also a short length, and don’t repeat themselves too much.
Other than a few positives, Scars On Broadway fail, and sound soulless, uncreative, and unbearably generic. The album is far too disappointing for words to express, and the one thing we all loved about Vocalist/ Guitarist Daron Malalkian is gone, no longer do we are energetic guitar riffs, and now we hear generic radio power chords. At least his vocals are decent now.