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System of a Down performed two songs live for the first time during their October 15 concert at the T-Mobile Arena in Los Vegas, Nevada: “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz.” You can check out the footage from a fan and the full set list from the concert (via setlist.fm) below.
The tracks are inspired by the conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. All proceeds support humanitarian efforts in Armenia, the ancestral homeland of System of a Down. They have raised a total of over $600,000 per an update issued in November of last year.
“Honestly, I’m extremely proud of us getting together for our people and the cause, at a time where Azerbaijan and Turkey not only attacked Armenians in Artsakh with military equipment, but they also attacked the Armenian nation with disinformation around the world, using caviar diplomacy over the years,” singer Serj Tankian said in an interview with Consequence of Sound earlier this year.
“Azerbaijan bought off a lot of politicians and they tried to create false parody in journalism and in the media — and it succeeded for a little while. So, I’m proud to say that our songs coming out, especially the video for ‘Protect The Land’, really kind of bit into that all in one day — just kind of boom, let the world know that these are people living on their own indigenous land, they’re being attacked, they’re trying to protect their families, and they’re dying because you got the second largest NATO ally Turkey basically attacking them along with Azerbaijan — both dictatorships attacking a democratic, progressive, first Christian nation society,” he continued.
The fundraising section of video for “Protect the Land” explains, “The current corrupt regimes of Aliyev in Azerbaijan and Erdogan in Turkey not only want to claim Artsakh and Armenia as their own, but are committing genocidal acts with impunity on humanity & wildlife to achieve their mission. They are banking on the world being too distracted to call out their atrocities. We’re here to protect our land, to protect our culture, & to protect our nation.”
The Los Angeles band have only been able to release these two songs since ending their hiatus in 2011, making them their first releases in 15 years.
“I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done with System of a Down, and it does give me hope that one day we might be able to get it together and do something again together, Tankian says. “I think we were able to do it because we were able to put aside our philosophies and our creative differences even, and just go, ‘Who’s got a song that’ll work?,’ because at this point it’s just a weapon for truth and not about us. And it worked,” Tankian also said in that same Consequence of Sound interview.