System of a Down Returns After 15-Year Absence With Pair of Provocative, Political Songs

“The time to do this is now,” said the band in response to the ongoing Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

System of a Down

In a surprise move, the Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down has released its first new music in 15 years.

Led by frontman Serj Tankian, the quartet’s prior achievements include a 2006 Grammy award, four additional nominations, and the distinction of having three of their five studio albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Despite substantial acclaim and success — the band’s soaring melodies punctuated by guttural hyper-speed rhythms soundtracked the turn of the millenium — the System of a Down has largely been inactive since 2006.

“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,” said vocalist/guitarist Daron Malakian in a statement.

The release of two new tracks on Thursday night — “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” — follow another message issued by the band last month in response to the ongoing Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

That conflict is again the focus of a new statement from System’s four members, which collectively details how the band’s new music is intended to address “a dire and serious war being perpetrated upon our cultural homelands of Artsakh and Armenia.”

To support individuals with “crucial and desperately needed aid” as well as basic supplies, System of a Down is pledging all royalties earned from sales of their latest songs (each available for a minimum suggested donation of $1) will be given to the US-based charity organization Armenia Fund, which assists those in need in Artsakh and Armenia with basic survival supplies.

“We realize that for many of you, there are more convenient ways you like listening to music,” the group’s note concluded, “so please consider the opportunity to download these songs as an act of charity above all else. The music and lyrics speak for themselves. We need you to speak for Artsakh.”

Listen to the new songs at Bandcamp.