Influential heavy metal outfit System of A Down has released their first new music in 15 years with the songs “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz,” which are inspired by the current conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, specifically during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. These two songs were uploaded on the band’s Bandcamp earlier today.
While the band formed in Los Angeles during the 1990s, all of its members are Armenian-American and have deep roots to the identity, which has been apparent in many of their lyrical themes. System of a Down have these songs available as a digital download for a $2 donation, which will go entirely to the Armenia Fund, a US based charity organization providing basic necessities to those in Artsakh and Armenia. This conflict began after Azerbaijan launched a ground offensive that included armored formations, supported by artillery and drones in Artsakh’s southeast and northern regions, causing forces in those areas to retreat. Azerbaijan is receiving some assistance from the Turkish military, whose former government, The Ottoman Empire, organized a genocide against the Armenians over a century ago.
“We’re proud to share these songs with you and hope you enjoy listening to them. Further, we encourage you to read on to learn more about their origins and once you do, hope you are inspired to speak out about the horrific injustices and human rights violations occurring there now,” the band wrote in a press statement. “Most importantly and urgently, we humbly implore you to donate, in sums small or large to help those adversely affected with what are ever growing accounts of crimes against humanity.”
“Protect the Land” is a roaring anthem, with lyrics that discuss the fear of being forced out of your home or choosing to take up arms in a war. Lyrics such as “Would you stay/ And take a stand/ Would you stay with gun in hand/ They protect the land,” immediately channel the narrator’s fear of this dangerous conflict. This song’s chorus and gritty metal instrumental make it a dark anthem, with slower chords that steadily build up into a solemn melodic breakdown.
“Genocideal Humanoidz” has an eerily catchy and anthemic chorus stating “Terrorists were fighting and were never gonna stop/ The prostitutes who prosecute have failed us from the start.” The track is filled with prime System of a Down Metal, with ear pleasing melodic breakdowns, in between moments of thrash influences galore.
The band’s bassist Shavo Odadjian announced a new project called North Kingsley, while their lead vocalist Serj Tankian debuted an EP of rock songs that were originally intended for System of a Down this year as well.
Featured image: Mauricio Alvarado