After playing with the successful rock group System of a Down for ten years, it is understandable that Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan would want to shake things up a bit and with Scars on Broadway‘s self-titled debut, the guys are getting that chance.
Malakian takes the vocal reins on this side project and with Dolmayan they expand on the popular music of their wider known counterpart, S.O.A.D., and introduce some subtler styles and electronic beats. The social issue commentary and energetic frustrated emotions are still there, but the presentation has changed.
That isn’t to say that the influence of S.O.A.D. has vanished. In fact, it is present in full force, especially on songs like “Exploding/Reloading” and “Serious.” However, S.O.A.D. fans might be surprised to hear a little twang to “Whoring Streets” or a little more of a melodic sound to a song like “Funny.”
In fact, it is the songs that break away from the been-there-done-that sounds of S.O.A.D. that make the album worth your time. “Funny” gives the album’s first taste of that change by adding electronic beats and playful sound effects. The rhythm changes offer a nice break from the frazzled driving rhythms so often prevalent on S.O.A.D. songs.
For his first attempt at complete songwriting control, Malakian puts up a commendable effort. Especially when he offers up his social commentary on a song like “3005” singing, “I’ll be there shooting up your world, / Watching all the resurrection junkies losing ground.” However, he still has a lot to learn about writing good lyrics. I could have done without the ridiculous chorus to “Stoner-hate:” “La, la, la, la, la. / Stoner-hate has got your back.” Seriously? Maybe if I were stoned I would like this, but right now I just hate it.
This isn’t a bad debut album, but there is definitely room for improvement. For now, though, this should tide over fans disappointed with SOAD’s hiatus announcement until that gets figured out.
Scars on Broadway’s self-titled debut is released by Interscope Records on July 29, 2008.
06. World Long Gone
07. Kill Each Other/Live Forever
13. Cute Machines
14. Whoring Streets
15. They Say
Written by: Bethany