By Mark Powell

Sept 1 2008

Pro: Political activist, environmental campaigner and voice of
alternative metal band System Of A Down, Serj Tankian has never
followed a conventional rock career.

Con: Might that have contributed to the fact that he's now effectively
a solo artist, following the announcement in 2006 that System Of A
Down were on indefinite hiatus?

Pro: He's more likely to be found working alongside Rage Against
The Machine guitarist Tom Morello on behalf of Axis Of Justice, the
non-profit humanitarian organisation that the duo formed in 2002,
than falling out of a bar drunk.

Con: How the hell are you supposed to end up in Heat magazine behaving
like that? Come on, Serj! A paparazzi-courting week in rehab wouldn't
kill you.

Pro: Last autumn, Tankian's solo debut, Elect The Dead, was released
to positive reviews, expressing relief that the singer had abandoned
the obscure Armenian folk of previous side project Serart.

Con: Then again, if you're not prepared for the odd dalliance into
orchestral jazz-noise-rock fusion, then you just don't know Serj.

Pro: Although evidently keen to stretch himself artistically,
Tankian has not abandoned his rock roots, with this rescheduled UK
tour predominantly based around material from Elect The Dead.

Con: But System Of A Down were fascinating precisely because of those
fresh-sounding influences from the South Caucasus. Serj should've
continued boldly on in that territory.

Pro: Physically, he resembles a traditional depiction of Beelzebub
more closely than any other creature on the planet.

Con: If the Devil has all the best tunes, then Tankian, who evidently
prefers having the weirdest, is arguably the more evil of the two.

Tue Sep 2, Carling Academy, 11-13 Hotham Street, Liverpool. 7pm,
18.50 adv. Tel: 0844 477 2000.