Serj Tankian is nothing if not mercurial. Even with his own great band, System of a Down, one can never be sure when Tankian will appear and what the future may hold. But does Serj Tankian seem to care? Not one bit, and that is just how it should be.
We know that SOAD have not put out new music since the early days of man, but what has Tankian been doing recently? Turns out, he has been making some music with members of the orchestra from his alma mater, California State University Northridge. This was something Tankian wanted to do around the time of the COVID outbreak, but then, well...COVID.
The great thing is Serj Tankian conceived of and wrote the music, and it is a bit different. According to Forbes, Tankian describes the music and the new album worked from it, Invocations, as "An operatic suite that can best be described as music that calls on spirits to co-inspire or inter-inspire." The album was released on November 10 and is available to stream everywhere.
Serj Tankian discusses new orchestral work, Tom Waits, and System of a Down
Tankian does perform on the album, but he isn't the entire album. The record is exactly what it sounds like: An orchestral work with movements and different voices. There are five vocal soloists, a choir, a 40-piece orchestra, and some other non-orchestra instruments. Do not expect System of a Down-type bombast, but still something quite unique.
Also, in case you wanted to know, according to Serj Tankian's interview with Forbes, his favorite songwriter is Tom Waits. Waits, of course, is an extremely unique musical artist in his own right that some love and some will never understand. But Tom Waits likely does not care if people understand his work or not; He is simply creating the work that the muse directs him to. This is exactly what Tankian wants to do as well.
Also, and this is pretty exciting as well, Serj Tankian will put out a memoir in May 2024 called Down with the System. Whether you like the music of System of a Down or not, reading about how the sausage is made with a band is always potentially fascinating. Now if only SOAD would produce a new record, all would be good.