Protect The Land

Album: not on an album (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • System Of A Down came together to record this song and another, "Genocidal Humanoidz," in response to war in their home country of Armenia. On September 27, 2020, the conflict arose in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which Armenians call Artsakh. According to a statement by the band, "the combined forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey (along with Isis terrorists from Syria)" attacked the region. "Civilians young and old have been awakened day and night by the frightful sights and sounds of rocket attacks, falling bombs, missiles, drones and terrorist attacks," they wrote.

    The song is a statement of support for Armenians involved in the conflict who are protecting their land:

    Our history and victory and legacy we send
    from scavengers and invaders those who protect the land
  • Proceeds from this song are donated to the Armenia Fund, and organization based in the US that helps provide basic supplies for Armenians affected by the war.
  • System Of A Down's last album came in 2005 with Hypnotize. They have performed together since, but by 2020 relations between the band members were frosty after attempts to record new material failed. They had no plans to work together until the Artsakh conflict arose. In early October of 2020, drummer John Dolmayan broke the ice with a text to his three bandmates asking them to put aside their differences to help their fellow Armenians. They all got on board, united in a common cause.

    "There isn't any other huge Armenian rock band out there that's gonna do this," singer-guitarist Daron Malakian told Rolling Stone. "We came together because our country needed us, not necessarily because we're so amped to do a brand-new System of a Down song. Our people needed us to do this."
  • The band did not create this song from scratch; it was a song Malakian wrote for his band Scars On Broadway, slated for their next album. He wrote it about 18 months earlier in support of the people of Artsakh, who weren't actively under attack at the time but faced a constant threat of war. When the conflict broke out, the song became even more relevant. System Of A Down had the song recorded a week after Dolmayan's initial text message. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, they convened in a Los Angeles studio to record the song.
  • System bass player Shavo Odadjian put together the music video, which combines footage of Americans of Armenian descent with scenes from the conflict in Artsakh.
  • System Of A Down played the song live for the very first time during the band's October 15, 2021 concert at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It was their first show since mid-2019.

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