Given the turbulence of the past year, from the virus killing millions around the world to the racial and political unrest gripping America, the idea of a full-on System Of A Down reunion complete with new music seemed increasingly unlikely. However, now SOAD have surprised fans by dropping two new tracks — their first original music in 15 years!
The songs, “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz,” were written by the band as they witnessed the unfolding conflicts between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, the latter country’s aid by Turkey echoing the Armenian genocide perpetuated in 1915 and denied for a hundred years since. Both songs take a firm political stance, decrying terror and hailing those who stand against this aggression. And, most importantly, royalties from both songs will be donated to the Armenian Fund, making this new music for an excellent cause.
“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,” said frontman Serj Tankian. “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.”
In fact, “Protect The Land,” the slower and more traditional of the two tracks, is in support of Armenian troops — giving fans the rare pro-military System Of A Down song. Meanwhile, “Genocidal Humanoidz” is more frantic, complete with a full-on blastbeat in the middle. “Protect The Land” also comes in the form of a music video executive-produced by bassist Shavo Odadjian.
“I wanted to show the unification of our people around the world for one common cause, illustrating the power in numbers,” said Odadjian, “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.”
This sudden unity within the band under one banner might come as a surprise to some, given the polar opinions that Tankian and drummer John Dolmayan hold about American politics. But according to Dolmayan, “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…we need to do something to support our people.’”
Check out “Protect The Land” below:
And here’s “Genocidal Humanoidz:”
Whether or not these two new songs herald a new beginning for System Of A Down remains to be seen. In any event, purchase the tracks on their Bandcamp in order to give to this excellent cause.
Words by Chris Krovatin