System of a Down, which recently lobbied the U.S. government to denounce attacks on Armenian people living in a disputed region in neighboring Azerbaijan, has released two new songs. It is the band’s first new music in 15 years.
Royalty proceeds from the songs, “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz,” will benefit the Armenia Fund.
The band, which includes guitarist Daron Malakian, singer Serj Tankian, bassist Shavo Odadjian and drummer John Dolmayan, are all Armenian-Americans. In October Azerbaijani and Turkish forces launched an offensive on Artsakh, a region of Azerbaijan that is home to predominantly Armenian people. In 1915, Turkey also committed genocide on Armenians, killing 1.5 million.
A cease-fire has since been declared since the October offensive.
Malakian wrote the two new songs and produced them. The band reunited after Dolmayan texted his three bandmates.
“I texted, ‘No matter how we feel about each other, no matter what issues linger from the past, we need to put them aside because this is bigger than System Of A Down and bigger than all of us…..we need to do something to support our people,'” he wrote in a news release.
Added Serj Tankian: “The aggression and injustice being perpetrated against the Armenian people in Artsakh and Armenia by Azerbaijan and Turkey is a human rights violation and a war crime. All of us in System realize this is an existential battle for our people, so this is very personal for us. What we need right now is for the world to put politics aside and support Armenia by sanctioning Turkey and Azerbaijan and recognizing Artsakh.”
The “Protect The Land” video incorporates recent footage of the protests and on-the-ground fighting in Artsakh.