Personnel: Serj Tankian (vocals, guitar, melodica, piano, synthesizer, bells, drum programming); Ani Maldjian (vocals); Dan Monti (guitar, synthesizer, drums); Cameron Stone (cello); Fabrice Favre (synthesizer).
Audio Mixer: Neal Avron.
Recording information: Serjical Strike Studios; The Pass, Los Angeles, CA.
Author: Serj Tankian.
Photographer: Greg Waterman.
That System of a Down had become one of metal's most popular, creative, and ambitious acts by 2007 was no secret, and was underscored by the appearance of ELECT THE DEAD, the solo debut by System lead singer and lyricist Serj Tankian. Like his music with System of a Down, Tankian's solo work is highly progressive, blending metal, industrial, acoustic passages, and jazz and classical flourishes in one bone-crushing, carnivalesque mindwarp.
Opener "Empty Walls" crosses crunching metal with the drama of an operatic aria (vintage Queen is a clear touchstone for Tankian), while "Sky Is Over" rides a dirgey, yet catchy chorus, and "The Unthinking Majority" continues Tankian's relentless political and social critique. Tankian performed nearly all the instrumental and vocal tracks himself making this complex and unclassifiable labor of love all the more impressive.
Spin (p.125) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[H]is solo debut hardly favors wimpy love songs over fiery political jeremiads. Indeed, he opens with 'Empty Wall,' one of his prickliest jams yet..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.69) - "Here operatic flourishes coexist with baroque balladry, psych-folk motifs, and coy classicism..." -- Grade: B
CMJ (p.14) - "Like Mike Patton before him, Tankian's a vocal visionary who makes music according to his own rules..."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.46) - "Simple, brooding and haunting, it's the sound of a man stripping away the layers and unfurling his thoughts....A remarkable album."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.69) - Ranked #7 in Kerrang's "The Top 20 Albums Of 2007" -- "Tankian is truly one of a kind."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.98) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Playing all the instrumentation, Tankian has created a forward-thinking album that swerves convention."