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en: Scars on Broadway (album) [info]
Beware the 'solo' album. For fans of System Of A Down it's entirely sure that the release of Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan's side project will be a good thing. For the rest of us it may be less easy to fathom what the fuss is about. The duo of singer/guitarist and drummer had originally intended to include SOAD bassist, Shavo Odadjian, but this proves not to have been the case. Maybe he heard the demos. For this in no way matches the visceral thrills of the parent band.
It's tough to write a review so overwhelmingly negative in response to somebody's heartfelt outpourings but this kind of old-school rock is tired, worn out, and has as little relevance to today's world as a classical string quartet playing the millionth version of a 300-year-old concerto. Imagine Johnny Rotten's kid grown up and looking to rebel against his parent. He'd probably end up fronting a band like Scars On Broadway – pumping out by-the-yard sub-standard 'rock' like theirs; yelling vapid, meaningless lyrics of petulant, spoilt brat, suburban frustration that would irritate the old man so much the skin would peel right off his arms.
This arguably has some skilled technique to offer the listener - uncompromising hard-edged guitar attack and industrial-strength riffing is interspersed throughout with oases of delicate chordwork laid across sensitive percussion, but it just isn't enough to lift the album off the floor. It's bloated, unconvincing and stands in direct opposition to everything old Johnny stood for.
Having found the ''90mm cannon'' setting on the amplifier, Scars On Broadway leans on the trigger. Relying on a lockstep militaristic quick march rhythm to imply passion, commitment and sincerity like this is an old tactic, and one championed by Dead Kennedys almost exactly thirty years ago. Whereas Jello Biafra and East Bay Ray whipped up a new sound to convey their own decade's ball-aching anxieties, Scars have merely borrowed the style and woven in a hint of Red Hot Chili Peppers to give it a more modern 90s edge. Technically superb, emotionally empty and almost a generation out of date.
Scars – if they can't be completely removed by surgery, at least they fade in time.