When I first heard System Of A Down I worked at a terrestrial radio station that didn’t really sport the nu metal, and radio definately put them in that category. I loved them instantly, but admittedly I was behind the curve appreciating SOAD’s sound. Don’t fret. I came around quick. Once Toxicity hit, I was hooked. I can remember the when true System love set in: I lived in an alley house with a friend, and when alone, I played the CD in my crappy boom box over and over in that little alley house. I listened to it constantly in the car. I wore out the CD. Yes, you could do that. and no amount of toothpaste or other scratch filling trick could bring the ol’ thing back.
But System Of A Down hasn’t released new music in over fifteen years since they last put out Mezmerize and Hypnotize in May 2005 and November 2005, respectively. Fans have coveted new music from the band ever since. When the Nagorno-Karabakh war broke out in 2020 SOAD Guitar player Daron Malakian wrote “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz”. Malakian originally wrote the songs for his current band Scars On Broadway, but he knew the songs fit System Of A Down.
The band decided to record both songs “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” as System Of A Down and released them to benefit Armenians affected by the war and other conflicts the region has been subject to. The funds from the tracks directly benefit the Armenia Fund. The videos for both new tracks below also highlight Armenians and their plight of genocide over the past century. But good intentions do not necessarily make good music. Our review of SOAD’s “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” are not glowing.
SOAD’s “Protect The Land” Review
Let’s start with the review of “Protect the Land”. The track has many elements you’d expect from System Of A Down: great guitar riffs, Serj and the rest of the band harmonizing lyrics in a defiant chant, but I feel the song lacks some fire and charge SOAD is loved for. For any other band this would be an acceptable work, and many have been perfect for Daron Malakian’s other group Scars On Broadway. But most bands aren’t System Of A Down and fans expect so much more from these Armenian heroes. I want to love this song. System Of A Down has such a distinctive sound and “Protect The Land” seems to be aiming to hit the mark.
SOAD’s “Genocidal Humanoidz” Review
System Of A Down’s fifteen year hiatus is also apparent on “Genocidal Humanoidz”. Again you can hear all the elements of System, but without that straight fire, smack-you-in-the-face power attack. The pieces are there, but it feels like Frankenstein’s Monster; there is a piece of soul missing. There was some debate here in The Retro Studios about what track was a better song. One thing we agreed on though; the videos for “Protect the Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” are great.