Review : Scars On Broadway - Scars On Broadway
BillboardSystem of a Down guitarist/chief creative force Daron Malakian sets the tone for his new project early on when he sings, "Ain't nobody searching for a second chance/I'm just looking for a new romance." He could, of course, be talking about a real relationship, or perhaps SOAD's long-lasting hiatus. But in any event, Malakian and SOAD drummer John Dolmayan have indeed brought something new for their fans to love—and perhaps even for non-fans as well, given the more direct and accessible nature of Scars' music. ...full text
All Music GuideBacking away from the chaotic time shifts and incredulous dynamics of the multi-platinum System of a Down, drummer John Dolmayan and guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian (not the goateed singer, the other one) dial everything back for their self-titled debut, Scars on Broadway. The prog metal Eastern scales and operatic outbursts are left behind, replaced by typical modern rock song structures and straightforward chord changes. This isn't to say that it doesn't rock hard. "Stoner Hate" shares the machine-gun delivery and rapid fury of Mezmerize's "BYOB," "Cute Machines" would make Queens of the Stone Age blush, and "Serious" changes swiftly from a verse spit with the intensity of Johnny Rotten to a dazzling chorus in the high controlled register of Geddy Lee. While Malakian's style of singing is more subdued and, say, elfish than Serj Tankian's, he proves himself a strong vocalist with great capacity for developing a harmonious hook and a keen melody in the midst of a spastic beat. On the more restrained numbers, diverse arrangements keep the songs interesting. Retro synths and drum machines embellish key moments throughout, and slide guitar and organ turn "3005" into a pseudo rock ballad that mellows out the grit nicely. Unfortunately, campy lyrics will taint the experience for many, dividing listeners into two camps: those who get the joke and those who don't. ...full text
Rolling StoneWhen you've made your name and fortune on fierce weirdness, the most drastic thing you can do is flaunt some restraint. In System of a Down, singer-guitarist Daron Malakian's bright yelp was already the more normal voice next to Serj Tankian's operatic harangue. But as Scars on Broadway, with System drummer John Dolmayan, Malakian shaves System's punk-dervish and metallic-vengeance extremes into straight-on rock glazed with New Wave keyboards and impish-angel harmonies. It is a cleverly barbed normality. "Funny" is a catchy death wish that somehow evokes Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" amid burbling Eighties synthesizer. "Insane" is steady, rolling darkness with a Who-ish splash of power chords at the end of each verse. ...full text
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