TRACK ANALYSIS: SYSTEM OF A DOWN RELEASE NEW SINGLES “PROTECT THE LAND” + “GENOCIDAL HUMANOIDZ”; ‘PERSECUTION ENDS NOW’
In the wake of an extremely chaotic, divisive, and anxious week for the United States and the year 2020, Armenian-American nu-metal group System of a Down have returned to deliver a message: “persecution ends now.”
System of a Down have circumvented their differences to reignite their fire fueled by discontent with the world’s sociopolitical climate, war, and the continuing effects of the Armenian Genocide by releasing their first music in 15 years. Whether you’re a listener of the band or not, the consensus amongst the heavy music community is this event’s vast importance– this is huge.
“Protect The Land” / “Genocidal Humanoidz” is a two-song EP that opens the dialogue on a crisis unfortunately overlooked by many sources of media we consume daily. In late September, territorial dispute escalated between Azerbaijan and Armenia– two countries consumed by long standing tension– in Nagorno-Karabakh, or “Artsakh”, ultimately leading to broken cease-fires and thousands of casualties on both sides. Maybe you remember “Artsakh is Armenia” trending on Twitter? These songs are about that. These songs are about protecting ethnically Armenian land from the hostilities that have been unleashed upon it and its people.
Musically, “Protect The Land” will immediately spark nostalgia in long-time System Of A Down fans as it’s aligned with the sound they’re known for. Albeit softer, Serj Tankian’s same passion resonates over a riff that’s catchy and the song’s instrumentation is just powerful enough to not distract listeners from the topic at hand.
Lines like ‘what do we deserve before we end the earth?’ and ‘the enemy of man is his own decay’ briefly examine how humankind is hopelessly tied to self-preservation, and the second half of the verses openly question one’s ability to stand their ground and fight for a cause in the face of authority that tries to push them back. The song’s bridge relays some of the devastation the conflict has resulted in, yearning for history to not repeat itself.
If you were doubtful in System Of A Down‘s ability deliver a song that’s unapologetically “them”, “Genocidal Humanoidz” will knife your preconceived notions. Within seconds, it’s clear the musical chemistry residing in “Toxicity” and “Mezmerize” persists. The song’s opening line addresses “you”– whoever “you” are– to draw your attention to what’s happening. Quickly ascending from not asking for war to blatant refusal to back down, ‘beating the devil, we never run from the devil, we never summoned the devil, we never hide from the devil,’ tells listeners everything they need to know about how vehemently Armenians are fighting against their perpetrators despite everything going against them.
The band have stated their reunion and delivery of “Protect The Land” / “Genocidal Humanoidz” is rooted in activism and desire to help their people rather than musicianship. Rightfully so, System Of A Down are donating the proceeds from their songs to help Armenians and are encouraging fans to partake in an act of charity and contribute by donating through their Bandcamp page.
Stream and purchase “Protect The Land” / “Genocidal Humanoidz” below.