After a 15-year lack of new music from the band, System Of A Down have returned with two new songs: Protect The Land and Genocidal Humanoidz.
The songs were recorded and released in a bid to raise awareness about “a dire and serious war being perpetrated upon [their] cultural homelands”, referencing the recently erupted conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. The band are all of Armenian descent.
The tracks were written and produced by the band’s guitarist Daron Malakian. Royalties from downloads of the songs through the band’s Bandcamp account will go towards the Armenia Fund.
Protect The Land arrives alongside a video. You can watch it, and listen to Genocidal Humanoidz below.
Speaking about the video for Protect The Land, which incorporates recent footage of the protests and on-the-ground fighting in Artsakh, bassist Shavo Odadjian explained: “I wanted to show the unification of our people around the world for one common cause, illustrating the power in numbers. 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”.
Drummer John Dolmayan revealed how the band got back together to record the songs: “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’.”
Frontman Serj Tankian added: “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.
“All of us in System realise 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 a statement accompanying the songs, the band detailed the conflict taking place between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region with a large ethnic-Armenian population that Armenians refer to as Artsakh. A previous war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory ended in a ceasefire in 1994. While internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, it has since been mostly governed by Armenia, retaining control and maintaining their independence up to this day.
In September, war broke out in the region again after attacks by Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey. The band say in their statement that the Aliyev and Erdogan regimes in Azerbaijan and Turkey are “committing genocidal acts with impunity” in the region at a time when the coronavirus pandemic, elections and civil unrest distract the rest of the world.
“For over the past month, civilians young and old have been awakened day and night by the frightful sights and sounds of rocket attacks, falling bombs, missiles, drones and terrorist attacks,” the band’s statement reads.
“They’ve had to find sanctuary in makeshift shelters, trying to avoid the fallout of outlawed cluster bombs raining down on their streets and homes, hospitals and places of worship. Their attackers have set their forests and endangered wildlife ablaze using white phosphorus, another banned weapon.
“There is an immediate need for global citizens to urge their respective governments to not only condemn the actions of these crooked dictators, but to also insist world leaders act with urgency to bring peace to the region and rightfully recognize Artsakh as the independent nation it is.”
The band’s reunion follows in the wake of Tankian and Dolmayan publicly sharing their contrasting political views, with the latter publicly praising Donald Trump on a number of occasions. Last month, Tankian admitted it was frustrating being “politically opposite” to Dolmayan, though he clarified that the two were on “the exact same page” when it came to issues relating to Armenia.
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