Less than two weeks ago, SYSTEM OF A DOWN released "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz", the band's first new songs in 15 years. The tracks were motivated by the recently erupted conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, the latter aided by Turkey and accountable for the greatest violence the region has endured in 26 years. Produced by guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian, who also wrote the music and lyrics, both songs are streaming now on all DSPs and are available for purchase on Bandcamp with band royalties earmarked for the Armenia Fund.
In a new interview with Guitar World magazine, Malakian was asked about the chances of more new music from SYSTEM OF A DOWN in the near future. He responded: "Look, I never say never. We didn't even know this was going to happen. I was on my way to releasing these songs with my other band SCARS ON BROADWAY. Then the situation in Armenia happened and put our differences aside. And our differences are only within the band.
"Personally and outside of the band, everybody gets along reasonably well. There is no hate for each other in SYSTEM OF A DOWN. We're like a family. A lot of people think, 'Oh, Serj [Tankian, vocals] and Daron don't get along!' and no, that's not true. Serj and Daron get along just fine. But Serj and Daron, or Shavo [Odadjian, bass] and Serj, different people in the band will have a different idea of how they want the band to move forward. That's kinda where our disagreements are at."
Pressed about whether there's a chance new music from SYSTEM OF A DOWN could happen, Daron said: "I never say never, but at the same time, I'm not expecting to do any more with SYSTEM OF A DOWN right away or immediately after this. It really does seem like our fans like these new songs. That's important to me.
"We've added two new songs to the SYSTEM catalog that are on the level with everything else that we've put out and our fans have accepted it that way, which means a lot to me. That's kinda where we're gonna leave it for now. If more happens later on, then we'll talk about that, but for now I will continue doing what I'm doing and everyone else will just continue what they're doing. It's all cool though, I'm really pleased with the response we got."
"Protect The Land" a was originally written by Malakian for the next album by his other group, SCARS ON BROADWAY, while "Genocidal Humanoidz" was penned three or four years ago when Malakian, drummer John Dolmayan and bassist Shavo Odadjian convened for a jam session that produced several songs, only to abandon them when singer Serj Tankian wouldn't commit to an album.
The music video for "Protect The Land" incorporates recent footage of the protests and on-the-ground fighting in Artsakh, but in a very personal and aesthetic way. As he did for all previous SYSTEM OF A DOWN releases, Odadjian executive-produced the music video and curated the cover and brand art for the project.
In 2018, Malakian publicly accused Tankian of not wanting to record, with Tankian responding that creative and financial issues with Malakian led to the stalemate. In a message on Facebook, Tankian wrote that Malakian wanted to control SYSTEM's creative process, take more of the publishing money and be the only band member to speak to the press.
Photo credit: Clemente Ruiz