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System of a Down’s Long-Awaited Return

Edited by Anna Mengani

Photo by Armen Keleshian

System of a Down is a complicated band to be a fan of. They came out of nowhere in 1998 and blew up the alternative-rock scene all the way through 2005. Since then fans have eagerly waited, theorized, and predicted new music for 15 years while suffering through extremely limited touring schedules, vague teases, and questionable marketing campaigns. Then finally, it happened…

In late 2020 a war broke out between Armenia, Artsakh, and Azerbaijan, in which Armenians were once again being targeted and forced from their homes. Anyone familiar with the band knows that System of a Down has fought to raise awareness about the persecution of fellow Armenians. In response to this new war, the band secretly and quickly got together in the studio for the first time in a decade and a half and put together the two songs "Protect The Land” and "Genocidal Humanoidz”. They were released to raise awareness and funds for Armenia.

I bought the singles on vinyl when they first came out. While I’m sure it would eventually be much more valuable if I never opened and played it I couldn’t resist and had no intention of ever selling it. It’s a simple but well-put-together package, and the quality of the vinyl is great.

The first song and the more heavily promoted of the two is "Protect The Land." It’s also the less traditional System of a Down sounding of the two songs. "Protect The Land" is obviously from Daron Malakian’s solo work. It has a driving guitar riff and a catchy chorus. The other track, "Genocidal Humanoidz”, is much more akin to what fans might expect to hear. It’s fast, loud, and super weird. It’s also my favorite of the two songs and truly feels like they haven’t skipped a beat since 2005.

This was a bittersweet release for multiple reasons. The events that caused this comeback are awful, but to be selfish it’s great to hear the band again. It’s also sad to think how unlikely it is we’ll hear more new stuff from them when these two tracks are so good.


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