Scars on Broadway - Scars on Broadway
Record Label: Interscope Records
Release Date: July 29, 2008
Former System of a Down members Daron Malakian (vocals/guitar) and John Dolmayan (drums) move over from politically-charged, manic-driven metal to mellower, sludgier alt-rock influened more by Sex Pistols and The Stooges.
How is it?
Where System of a Down succeeded was mostly due to the performances of the talented members as a whole entity, rather than Malakian taking the reigns entirely. Malakian does his best to bring a "classic" feel to the record, but it comes out more like a SOAD-knockoff (see: middle section of album) full of nonsensical lyrics ("I said 'fuck your mom'") and buried messages. With 15 tracks adding up to only 45 minutes, it's sadly not as energetic as it is made out to be. The tracks lose focus and become redundant ("Serious") or lack any real conveyance when it comes to what Malakian is attempting to say ("California's been invaded by a hippie psychopath"). Dolmayan's rhytmic arrangements and Malakian's toned-down vocals (say, as compared to his manic screaming in SOAD), plus the top-notch production, do show signs of promise - there just isn't much of a focused center here for the band to really lunge at.
The Sex Pistols/Stooges mash-up on "Exploding/Reloading" gets very tiring after only the first minute, "Chemicals" is simply obnoxious and minus the two singles ("They Say" and "World Long Gone," both providing enough energy to help the band sell some records), much of the album is filler from two creative musicians. "3005" is a country-fied rock song that really feels out of place here; "Insane" is a tender alt-rock ballad featuring classic rock arrangements, and is the band's most vulnerable moment - but there aren't enough of these moments to keep the album afloat for long. The album begins to sound repetitive after only a few tracks. It's obvious Malakian is trying to be Johnny Rotten here, but it just wears thin after awhile and despite a few solid numbers, the band needs to find a clear focus to build upon.