The reignited conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has provoked System of a Down to raise their voices in support of their Armenian homeland by releasing their first new songs in 15 years.
On Thursday, the hard rock band dropped “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” that “speak of a dire and serious war being perpetrated upon our cultural homelands of Artsakh and Armenia,” according to System’s Bandcamp page. Members Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan are raising funds via royalties from Bandcamp and their Aid for Artsakh campaign on YouTube to support the Armenia Fund.
In late September, Armenia and Azerbaijan restarted their 32-year struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region recognized to be a part of Azerbaijan but is overwhelmingly populated and governed by ethnic Armenians, who refer to the area as Artsakh. According to a lengthy description of the historic conflict on SOAD’s Bandcamp page, the Armenians living in Artsakh wanted to declare their independence from Azerbaijan in 1988, which led to a war that eventually ended in a ceasefire in 1994. Now, the band claims the regimes of Aliyev in Azerbaijan and Erdogan in Turkey are “committing genocidal acts with impunity on humanity and wildlife to achieve their mission” while the world is distracted with the COVID-19 pandemic, elections and civil unrest.
In an Oct. 30-dated interview with The Fader, SOAD frontman Tankian described the deadly attacks on Artsakh in 2020 as “a bitter reminder of the 1915 genocide.” “It is horrible to see this type of human rights crisis happening to our nation, where no one comes to our aid,” he continued.
The official video for “Protect the Land” splices together footage of protests in support of Armenia from across the globe and on-the-ground combat in Artsakh.
Listen to “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” below.