Nu metal icons System of a Down have released their first new music in 15 years, breaking their hiatus to support their home country of Armenia. The two songs, “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz,” raise funds for Armenia as Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan are at war with Azerbaijan. The region is called “Artsakh” by the ethnic Armenians who have lived there and controlled it since a previous war in 1994. New attacks occurred in the region this September (each side claims the other started the conflict) in what System of a Down called “a dire and serious war being perpetrated upon our cultural homelands of Artsakh and Armenia” in a statement on their Bandcamp page. The band has previously been active in raising awareness around the Armenian genocide. “This is not the time to turn a blind eye,” the band continued. “There is an immediate need for global citizens to urge their respective governments to not only condemn the actions of these crooked dictators, but to also insist world leaders act with urgency to bring peace to the region and rightfully recognize Artsakh as the independent nation it is.”
System of a Down previously released its fourth and fifth albums, Mesmerize and Hypnotize, in 2005. Both debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200; the Mesmerize song “B.Y.O.B.” won a Grammy for best hard rock performance while “Hypnotize” became the group’s second No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The band hadn’t released new music since then, due to creative differences, and they’ve spoken about their differing views on American politics. While the four members collaborated on the two new tracks as well as a music video for “Protect the Land,” they told Rolling Stone in a new profile published today that their creative issues aren’t resolved and fans shouldn’t expect a new album after these songs.
The songs come on the first Friday of the month, when Bandcamp directs all proceeds to artists and labels. System of a Down is donating proceeds from the tracks to the Armenia Fund, an American organization providing aid to Armenians, and has asked fans to donate to the cause. “The music and lyrics speak for themselves,” they wrote. “We need you to speak for Artsakh.”