This past Friday, SYSTEM OF A DOWN released "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz", the band's first new songs in 15 years. The tracks were motivated by the recently erupted conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, the latter aided by Turkey and accountable for the greatest violence the region has endured in 26 years. Produced by guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian, who also wrote the music and lyrics, both songs are streaming now on all DSPs and are available for purchase on Bandcamp with band royalties earmarked for the Armenia Fund.
In a new message, SYSTEM OF A DOWN said: "We are overwhelmed with gratitude for your incredible support of our campaign for the people of Artsakh, and for helping us raise over $600k in donations to provide for those in dire need via the Armenia Fund. Because of you, we will be able to help displaced civilians, young and old, who are affected by the hideous war crimes inflicted upon Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
"Please take a few minutes to watch our full interview to get a more intimate look and understanding into why we came together to release 'Protect The Land' and 'Genocidal Humanoidz'. To the four of us, it's extremely important to share these truths with you. It is for our ancestors, our culture, and our nation. Help us spread the message."
In the accompanying six-minute video, the four SYSTEM OF A DOWN members — Malakian, singer Serj Tankian, bassist Shavo Odadjian and drummer John Dolmayan — talk about why it was so important for the them to overcome their creative differences to record these new songs, as well as get the word out about the atrocities taking place in Artsakh and parts of Armenia.
"What we're hoping is that what happened in 1915 [the Armenian Genocide] and what's happened so many times in history doesn’t repeat itself," Dolmayan said.
Tankian added: "It's an injustice that we want people to pay attention to, and that's why we're doing this. So that they can, in turn, inform their own government bodies, who can respond properly."
He continued: "As SYSTEM OF A DOWN, this has been an incredible occasion for us to come together, and put everything aside and speak out for our nation, as one."
"Protect The Land" a was originally written by Malakian for the next album by his other group, SCARS ON BROADWAY, while "Genocidal Humanoidz" was penned three or four years ago when Malakian, Dolmayan and Odadjian convened for a jam session that produced several songs, only to abandon them when Tankian wouldn't commit to an album.
The music video for "Protect The Land" incorporates recent footage of the protests and on-the-ground fighting in Artsakh, but in a very personal and aesthetic way. As he did for all previous SYSTEM OF A DOWN releases, Odadjian executive-produced the music video and curated the cover and brand art for the project.
Photo credit: Clemente Ruiz