Watch behind-the-scenes footage from System Of A Down’s Protect The Land video shoot

System Of A Down
(Image credit: Armen Keleshian)

System Of A Down took the world by surprise on November 6 when they shared two new songs, their first new music in 15 years. Written by guitarist Daron Malakian, Protect The Land and Genocidal Humanoidz were released to raise money for humanitarian aid for the citizens of Artsakh, a region scarred by a violent dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and are currently available to purchase on Bandcamp.

SOAD bassist Shavo Odadjian acted as executive producer for the promo video for Protect The Land, and curated the cover and brand art for the project. 

“I wanted to show the unification of our people around the world for one common cause, illustrating the power in numbers,” Odadjian said, "so we brought together people from all ages and professions who believe in and are fighting for that same cause. It’s one thing to come up with an idea, but to see it come alive as happened with this video, has been just incredible.”

See below for the full story behind the video.

While the bassist described the recording of Protect The Land and Genocidal Humanoidz as “very comforting and natural”, Daron Malakian recently cautioned that SOAD fans shouldn’t interpret the release of the two songs as an indication that there’s a new album on the way from the Los Angeles band.

“I’m not expecting to do any more with SOAD right away or immediately after this,” the guitarist stressed in an interview with Guitar World. “We’ve added two new songs to the System catalog that are on the level with everything else that we’ve put out and our fans have accepted it that way, which means a lot to me. That’s kinda where we’re gonna leave it for now. If more happens later on, then we’ll talk about that, but for now I will continue doing what I’m doing and everyone else will just continue what they’re doing.”

“I don’t wanna get into, like, ‘Well, it’s this person and that person.’,” the guitarist told 6Music. “We did [the new songs] for a noble reason, and we did this for the right reasons. We didn’t make any money off this. It was totally for the noble reason of, our country needs us.”

“Everyone got along. It was cool. I personally do walk away and say, It’s a shame that certain things can’t come together to make [a new record] happen.”

“I love my guys in System, we’re brothers, forever,” Odadjian told Kerrang! earlier this year. “But actually System isn’t a democracy, it’s a band in which every decision we make has to be unanimous, all four of us buying in: that’s how we set it up at the beginning and that’s why we’re in this mess (laughs). That’s a joke!”

“I love System, I love it to death, and I’ve said it before, if it was up to me, we’d have 10 records out by now, and be touring every year. But that’s not the reality right now for our band.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.