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System of a Down releases comeback single 'for Armenia'

System of a Down is an American-Armenian band [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 November, 2020

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Award-winning metal band System of a Down say they are grateful for an outpour of support after they released their first single in 15 years for Armenia.
US metal band System of a Down said they are overwhelmed by the support they have received after releasing their first songs in over 15 years raising $600,000 for an issue close to all the band members' hearts - Armenia.

The two songs were released to support their ancestral homeland, which has been involved in a conflict with neighbouring Azerbaijan over an Armenian enclave claimed by Baku.

The American-Armenian band dropped their first singles - "Protect the Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz" - since 2005 last week.

"We are overwhelmed with gratitude for your incredible support of our campaign for the people of Artsakh, and for helping us raise over $600K so far in donations to provide for those in dire need via the @armeniafund," the band said in a statement posted on lead singer Serj Tankian's social media page. 

He said the money would go to those displaced from the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, known in Armenian as Artsakh, who were uprooted during recent fighting with Azerbaijan.

In a video thanking supporters, the band members discussed why the band deciding to come together again after a 15-year hiatus.

"What we're hoping is that what happened in 1915 and what's happened so many times in history doesn't repeat itself," said drummer John Dolmayan in the video interview. 

Tankian added: "It's an injustice that we want people to pay attention to, and that's why we're doing this. So that they can, in turn, inform their own government bodies, who can respond properly." 

The Grammy-awarded vocalist continued: "As System of a Down, this has been an incredible occasion for us to come together, and put everything aside and speak out for our nation, as one."

The band members recently explained that they set their creative and political differences aside to record the songs in aid of their ancestral home, amid "horrific injustices and human rights violations" during recent fighting.

Dolmayan recently clashed with his bandmates over his support for US President Donald Trump, but initiated the new musical project to support Armenians - something that his bandmates all got behind.

"We need to be a part of this. We need to help any way we can. This, this is bigger than us, bigger than our emotions, bigger than our feelings, bigger than our egos," bassist Shavo Odadjian told Fox II.

Despite continuing tours, they have not released new music since their last album Hypnotize in 2005.

Rocking activism

Tankian is known for being vocal about politics and bringing it to his music.

In addition to being one of the biggest names in America to raise attention to events in 1914 to 1917 - known as the Armenian Genocide - he has also voiced support for Palestinians.

Tankian included the song "Occupied Tears" in his 2014 solo album, in solidarity with Palestine.

"It's time to end this misery known as the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank," he said at the time.

"'Occupied Tears', from my solo record 'Harakiri', was written about this and the hypocrisy of a people who have gone through the horrible atrocities of the Holocaust now serving as occupiers of another people."

However, he was condemned for denying Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons on a Damascus suburb in 2013, when thousands of civilians were killed.

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