Scars on Broadway - Scars on Broadway
Label: Interscope
By: abadinfluence
Sep 18 08

It’s amazing when you think of how much music has changed over the past twenty-five years. Back in the “olden days”, the focus was placed on originality, skill and longevity. Metallica, for instance, dominated in sales and charts due to their intensity, power and amazing musical talents. There just wasn’t another band out there at that time that offered the same prowess.

Twenty-five years later, the focus seems to be placed in a completely different area; the record labels’ wallet. Now there are twelve different bands that sound eerily similar, “mash-ups” are rampant and there is no single band that can claim to dominate anything but the amount of bandwidth people are using to download their songs.

It’s almost as if the music world is suffering from a bad case of “been there, done that” and is finding that there just isn’t anything new left to try. Take for instance, Scars On Broadway, a side project of System Of A Down band mates Daron Malakian (lead guitar, vocalist) and John Dolmayan (drummer).

Recently, the band released a self-titled album, which showcases the band members’ immense musical talent. Unfortunately, it also showcases a shocking lack of originality.

Unfortunately, it also showcases a shocking lack of originality.

Whether it was meant to be foreshadowing or not, Malakian, when first speaking of the side projected, stated, “When, or even if, the music comes out, it will still be structured, just like System of a Down’s music is.”
Well, the music is out and Malakian was totally right – it is structured just like System of a Down’s music is. Presumably, Malakian just misplaced that comma in the sentence. Just like your typical System album, the songs are layered around heavy riffs, pounding percussion and repetitious lyrics.
‘3005’ and ‘Cute Machine’ are the only two tracks on the album that escape the System of a Down tried-and-true formula. It seems only co-incidental that they happen to be back-to-back on the album list, but it almost seems like the band encapsulated the two best songs on the album around 13 filler tracks.
Of the two songs, ‘3005’ is the stronger of the two, solely because it doesn’t rely on heavy repetition. While the song clocks in at just under three minutes, it easily stands out as the rock of the album. The slow, melancholy ballad-esque song traipses through intelligent lyrics that infect your mind upon the first spin of the track.
On the other hand, you have ‘Cute Machine’, which stutters back to the over-usage of repetition in order to fill out the song. However, this isn’t the usual repetition that one would have come to expect after listening to the rest of the album. No – here, the repetition actually helps move the song along and serves as an apt example of how the band can be different, despite being similar in many other aspects.
The albums first single, ‘They Say’, is a short burst of energy, flanked around a slightly political, overly motivational ideal that it’s time to break free of tradition. The song serves as a perfect representation of not seeing the forest for the trees. If the band had listened to their own lyrics, they might have broken free from their safety net and branched out into a different sound.

Despite the over-use of repetition, the lyrics to the album are extremely well written and thought provoking.

Despite the over-use of repetition, the lyrics to the album are extremely well written and thought provoking. It is easy to tell that the lyrics were meant to be the forefront of all of the songs, which would have been a reachable goal, had the similarities to System of a Down not been so vast in the melodies used to back the vocals.

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