Harakiri, Serj Tankian’s third solo studio album, is quite possibly his best work since the release of System of a Down’s Toxicity. The songwriting and vision are a blend of environmental, political, social, and personal stories, all of which are only enhanced by the musical composition. Serj Tankian has been recognized as a trailblazer in the hard rock genre, and here, again, he has proven that he intends to continue the trend. This political rock artist has once again slapped us in the face with a dose of poetic reality, each song strung together in a complicated web that demands our full attention.
The first single from Harakiri, “Figure it Out”, is reminiscent of System of a Down’s musical style. The song is filled with sudden breaks, dramatic time changes, and powerful metal riffs while Serj Tankian sings, “Why pretend/That we don’t know/CEO’s are the disease…Control ordinary behavior/Through political extremism/Industrial society is the/Arch enemy of nature”.
“Cornucopia”, the album’s second single to be released, is a song warning us of the eventual devastation of the earth, brought on by the abuse we’ve inflicted upon it. The song starts off light and leads into a much heavier and faster pace when Serj sings”Do you believe in stormy weather, stormy weather”, a perfect artistic harmony between instrumental and lyrical meaning.
Other B-Sides faves on the album include “Reality TV”, a wicked and hilarious stab at the quality of the content in the genre, and “Ching Chime”, a rhymey metal tune that incorporates oriental sounds, Serj’s typical stringing together of words, and melodic harmonies in the chorus. Other songs, like “Deafening Silence” and “Occupied Tears” take a slower pace, showcasing Serj Tankian’s vocal range and complexity.
All in all, Harakiri is a great album. It’s artistic and stays true to Serj’s vision and political beliefs while continuing to bend the rules of the metal genre. This isn’t System of a Down, though some songs will remind you of them; this is Serj Tankian flying solo, facing personal and world issues through an art form that requires us to stop what we’re doing and actually listen.