To put things into perspective of just how huge this development is, the last time System of a Down released music, I was still in grade school and had never even heard of them. After solo and side projects spanning the fifteen years since the double album Hypnotize / Mezmerize, the Armenian-American quartet has released two new tracks with a purpose. “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” are new songs written in protest of the ongoing acts of aggression going on in the band’s homeland of Artsakh and Armenia.
In an excerpt from the band’s description for the dual single, System of a Down writes:
“The current corrupt regimes of Aliyev in Azerbaijan and Erdogan in Turkey have now claimed most of these lands as their own, and committed genocidal acts with impunity on humanity and wildlife to achieve their mission. They banked on the world being too distracted with COVID, elections and civil unrest to call out their atrocities, and their tactic worked. They have the bankroll, the resources and have recruited massive public relations firms to spin the truth and conceal their barbaric objectives. This is not the time to turn a blind eye.”
The band’s full statement can be found on Bandcamp, to which we have provided a link below.
The royalties from these tracks will go to Armenia Fund, an American charity who provide those in need in Artsakh and Armenia with what they need to survive as things escalate in the embattled nation. The band is also encouraging fans to donate on their own to the fund, and if you are willing and able to donate, you may do so here.
As far as the tracks themselves go, “Protect the Land” sees Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian share vocal duties, with Daron going high and Serj going low. It is a power ballad, a departure from some of the absurdity and zaniness their music sometimes dips into, opting for a tone not unlike previous hits such as “Aerials” or “Hypnotize.” Add to this the music video, directed by bassist Shavo Odadjian and Ara Soudjian, with its uneasy looks from band members and their fellow Armenian peoples, and it makes for a powerful, stirring track, and a damn fine one to break a decade and a half long hiatus for.
“Genocidal Humanoidz” is a breakneck piece, sounding like it could have been on Toxicity and no one would have batted an eye. With heavy palm-muted guitars and more excellent vocal harmonies, it cements the idea that System of a Down haven’t missed a beat.
Stream and/or purchase the two-track EP, as well as watch the music video for “Protect the Land,” below: