System of a Down Releases First New Music in 15 Years to Raise Awareness About Armenian Conflict

Benjamin VanHoose
·2 min read

System of a Down reunited for the band's first new music in 15 years.

After remaining mostly inactive since winning a Grammy back in 2006, the rock band — comprising Daron Malakian, John Dolmayan, Shavo Odadjian, and Serj Tankian — recorded two new songs that debuted on Friday: "Protect the Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz."

The pair of songs aim to raise awareness about the conflict in Armenia with Azerbaijan, a longtime tension that escalated in September, with large-scale, serious fighting that the area hadn't seen in decades, according to The New York Times.

Proceeds from System of a Down's new music will go toward the Aid for Artsakh Campaign.

"We’re probably the only rock band that has governments as enemies, the only rock band that’s at war, so I wrote these songs to boost the morale of our troops and Armenians around the world,” Malakian, vocalist and guitarist, said in a statement to Variety.

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"We as System Of A Down have just released new music for the first time in 15 years," the band wrote on Instagram Friday. "The time to do this is now, as together, the four of us have something extremely important to say as a unified voice."

The group added that the new songs "both speak of a dire and serious war being perpetrated upon our cultural homelands of Artsakh and Armenia." The artists added that the "music and lyrics speak for themselves."

Lester Cohen/Getty System of a Down in 2014

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"Freedom of speech is not something that is enjoyed by everyone, but it is enjoyed here, so part of that responsibility is getting the truth out there whenever possible," System of a Down continued. "We’re here to protect our land, to protect our culture, and to protect our nation. This is not the time to turn a blind eye."

The group opened up to Rolling Stone about why they felt it was urgent to put out new music and raise awareness.

"It’s just beautiful countryside, and it’s just really sad seeing all of that destroyed right now and the people having to move. The people are just incredible there," Tankian said of Artsakh. "They’re the old Armenians. They have been living on those lands since 500 B.C. They’re very strong and beautiful and funny. They don’t get scared, man. They’ve seen this before, but it’s really, really f----- up."

"Protect the Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz" are both out now.