Serj Tankian
Harakiri


2.0
poor

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
July 10th, 2012 | 45 replies | 12,454 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of modern music's most distinctive voices wails brazenly but ends up saying nothing at all.

For longtime fans, there’s always that punched in the gut feeling when Serj Tankian decides to release a new record. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t display his fair share of musical panache, but it typically dashes the hopes of all those waiting for a new System of a Down album. Since the band’s hiatus in 2006, Tankian has dropped two full length outings, each earning a respectable amount of critical acclaim. By porting the winning sound of SOAD into a more commercially palatable alternative-rock aesthetic, Tankian has been able to please old fans as well as find new ones. However, with his most recent release, the Lebanese-born artist has lost sight of his past whilst having a general feeling of ambivalence about his future.

Harakiri is somewhat of a concept record that loosely deals with the idea of animal suicide. This idea never really feels fully realized aside from the title, which is derived from the Japanese “seppuku,” or “ritual suicide.” Neither the lyrics nor the mood of the album convey the matter too terribly well, which is a shame considering the potential of such an unconventional subject. Aside from this fumble, Harakiri plays as one would expect"Serj Tankian wails his cryptic lyrics over a hard--rock background tailor made for radio play. While much of the record has its fair share of catchy hooks and choruses, it never feels like the risky creations of a man whose scathing political criticisms influenced many disillusioned youths in the post 9/11 years.

Instead of a no-holds barred approach, we receive a mildly eccentric version of the general direction that harder alternative-rock has been taking. While Harakiri does not deviate too far from Tankian’s last two albums, it lacks the character and personality that each of those records had. Even “Reality TV,” one of the album’s most thoughtfully written songs, feels rather lazy, at some points. The biggest failing, however, is that above all else Harakiri is unabashedly forgettable. Despite some of the questionable directions that Serj Tankian has taken in his career, even at his worst he’s still remained rather cutting-edge and memorable. With his latest release the same cannot be said. Each track features the same rapid build leading to a slower, more methodical chorus. The vocal harmonies that he is known for feel forced, and the formula feels pre-packaged to the point that it comes off as almost insulting.

Harakiri if anything feels like a stop-gap between Tankian’s more recent outings and his questionably ambitious future. Being the first in a series of four records, each more gimmicky than the last, the album feels as if the artist’s mind was elsewhere. It is the sound of a musician stuck in transition and simply going through the motions, making for a thoroughly uninteresting and disappointing release.



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user ratings (184)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Joseph Viney STAFF (3.5)
All systems go...

Alex Beebe (2.5)
The message behind the music only goes so far when the music itself is subpar....

TheBlackHand667 (4.5)
Harakiri is better than Elect The Dead and Imperfect Harmonies thanks to Serj’s ever-improving com...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 10th 2012



10584 Comments


Did not like.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

Nitroadict
July 10th 2012



129 Comments


Far too vague & superficial.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2012



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review as ever Eli. I only listened to this once but first impressions were better than expected.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2012



15297 Comments


I didn't like this album nearly as much as Imperfect Harmonies...great review, Eli.

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

Tyrael
July 10th 2012



20714 Comments


When are they gonna promote you man

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2012



15297 Comments


I heard it's when he reviews TDAG at a 5. But that's just what the wind told me.

Tyrael
July 10th 2012



20714 Comments


I reviewed Deja Entendu and gave it a 4.5 isn't that close enough where's my promotion bro

Gyromania
July 10th 2012



15164 Comments


Sounds about right, Eli. Good review.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 10th 2012



10584 Comments


I heard it's when he reviews TDAG at a 5. But that's just what the wind told me


Whoa I'd better get on that!

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2012



49741 Comments


He reviews too much good music to be staff

Digging: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Pikapika Fantajin

Graveyard
July 10th 2012



5593 Comments


he likes him lots of post-rock though

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2012



15297 Comments


With the contrib applications floating around we've been talking about who to promote lately.

If you reviewed a lot more and applied I feel like you could get there someday, if that's even what you want (@Tyrael)

And Eli if you, me, and Irving all end up on staff together someday we're gonna wreck shit 2011 style

Tyrael
July 10th 2012



20714 Comments


'If you reviewed a lot more and applied I feel like you could get there someday, if that's even what you want (@Tyrael)'

Reviewing more is impossible for me

so nope

Gyromania
July 10th 2012



15164 Comments


With the contrib applications floating around we've been talking about who to promote lately.

The wait is killing me! But I'll use this time to my advantage to review something.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 10th 2012



10584 Comments


I do like me some post rock.


And sowing that would be absolutely immense. We would have to convince Irving to quit his job and move to a closer hemisphere!

ILJ
July 10th 2012



6614 Comments


When are they gonna promote you man [2]

Digging: Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

breakingthefragile
July 10th 2012



2943 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I think you kick ass Eli. If any contributor deserves the upgrade to staff it's you man.

Digging: Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know...

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 10th 2012



10584 Comments


Thank you for all the kind words everyone, I truly do appreciate them : ]

Rev
July 10th 2012



9371 Comments


I was on the Eli contributor train for years, so obviously I'm on the staff one as wll

ELI FOR STAFFFFFFFFFFF


Great review, I don't really understand the appeal of his post-SOAD stuff unless you're like 14 lol

that said, I hope the kids don't ruin your approval rating with this

Ire
July 10th 2012



41746 Comments


agreed eli for contrib time to promote this dude yea



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