Down is Up

Scars on Broadway (Interscope Records)
Scars on Broadway

By Kory Wilcoxson

Hard rockers System of a Down are supposed to be on hiatus, but don't tell that to SOAD guitarist Daron Malakian. Since the band started its break in 2006, Malakian has stayed busy with a solo project which culminates in the debut album of Scars on Broadway.

Scars is comprised of Malakian and SOAD drummer John Dolmayan but is far from a SOAD redux. Malakian, the band's principal songwriter, musician and singer, takes Scars in a much more melodic direction, as compared to SOAD's aggressive punk style. Songs like "Universe" and "Insane" clear reflect the influence of 60s and 70s pop/rock on Malakian's creative energy.

That doesn't mean SOAD fans won't find something to like here. Mosh-pit rock still rules on "Serious" and "They Say," the band's first single, and the lyrics are a blend of politics, religion, and nonsense, as on "3005": "Let's clap our hands for the president and Jesus Christ and did I mention Charlie Manson and everybody else who was nice." While Scars is in the same musical ballpark as SOAD, Malakian's adventurous songwriting and passion should expand his fanbase.

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