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Serj Tankian, ‘Elect the Dead’ (Serjical Strike/ Reprise)

Tankian may be taking a break from System of a Down, but his solo debut hardly favors wimpy love songs over fiery political jeremiads. Indeed, he opens with “Empty Walls,” one of his prickliest jams yet: “I loved you yesterday / Before you killed my family,” he sings over operatic guitar thrash, channeling the rage of Iraqis living under U.S. military rule. The war isn’t all that troubles Tankian. In “The Unthinking Majority,” he considers the depressing effects of antidepressants, and in “Money,” he worries about distractions offered by “dancing bears of eroticism.”

Now Hear This: Serj Tankian – “Empty Walls” WINDOWS MEDIA HIGH | LOW | QUICKTIME HIGH | LOW