It's been 15 long years since System of a Down released new music — and based on quotes to the press, it has looked like they might never do so again. Today (November 6th), motivated by the bloody conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, the latter aided by Turkey, the band has made fans' seemingly impossible dreams come true by reuniting in the studio and recording two new songs: "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz." Produced by Malakian, who also wrote the music and lyrics, both cuts are streaming now on all DSPs and are available for purchase on Bandcamp with band royalties earmarked for the Armenia Fund. Watch the music video for "Protect the Land" above.
The songs were spurred by a text that SOAD drummer John Dolmayan sent to his three bandmates a month ago. "I texted, 'No matter how we feel about each other, no matter what issues linger from the past, we need to put them aside because this is bigger than System of a Down and bigger than all of us,'" he recalled. "'We need to do something to support our people.'"
"The aggression and injustice being perpetrated against the Armenian people in Artsakh and Armenia by Azerbaijan and Turkey is a human rights violation and a war crime," singer Serj Tankian commented. "All of us in System realize this is an existential battle for our people, so this is very personal for us. What we need right now is for the world to put politics aside and support Armenia by sanctioning Turkey and Azerbaijan and recognizing Artsakh."
The music video for "Protect the Land," incorporates recent footage of the protests and on-the-ground fighting in Artsakh. As he did for System of a Down releases, bassist Shavo Odadjian executive-produced the music video and curated the cover and brand art for the project. "I wanted to show the unification of our people around the world for one common cause, illustrating the power in numbers," he said, "so we brought together people from all ages and professions who believe in and are fighting for that same cause. It's one thing to come up with an idea, but to see it come alive as happened with this video, has been just incredible."
On the recording of "Protect the Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz," Odadjian added, "It was such a pleasure for us to be together in the studio again, very comforting and natural, like no time had passed at all."