According to Billboard, SYSTEM OF A DOWN's first new tracks in nearly 15 years, "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz", have landed at positions No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on Billboard's Hot Hard Rock Songs chart. "Land" topped the chart with 2.7 million U.S. streams and 5,000 downloads sold in the week ending November 12, while "Humanoidz" garnered 1.8 million streams and 5,000 downloads.
As a result of renewed interest in SYSTEM OF A DOWN's music, the band's 2001 album "Toxicity" re-entered the Hard Rock Albums chart at No. 10 (5,000 equivalent album units; up 32%) while 1998's "System Of A Down" has shot back up to No. 11 (5,000 units; up 308%).
"Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz" 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.
"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 a new interview with Rolling Stone, Malakian stated: "If we don't do this, there isn't any other huge Armenian rock band out there that's gonna do this. There aren't that many big Armenian celebrities out there that are going to do this. It's kind of a duty. We came together because our country needed us, not necessarily because we're so amped to do a brand-new SYSTEM OF A DOWN song. Our people needed us to do this."
For the time being, there are no plans for SYSTEM OF A DOWN to record any more new material.
"If it was up to me, we'd have a new album every three years," Dolmayan said. "But things aren't up to me. I'm at the mercy of my team, and although I fought for it for many years with band members, I've accepted that it is what it is. We do have five albums and [now] two songs. We've accomplished a lot in our careers. If it ends at that, so be it."
Photo credit: Clemente Ruiz