System Of A Down have performed their first show since July of 2019, treating fans in Las Vegas to a 30-track set heavy on cuts from their 2001 album, ‘Toxicity’.
Celebrating the record’s 20th anniversary, the band showcased all but three of the 14 songs on ‘Toxicity’ (omitting ‘Jet Pilot’, ‘Forest’ and ‘Shimmy’), as well as a handful of rarities like ‘Soldier Slide’, ‘Chic ’N’ Stu’ and ‘Holy Mountains’, the former of which they played for the first time since 2013, and the latter two for the first time since 2015.
Nestled in the set were the live debuts of ‘Genocidal Humanoidz’ and ‘Protect The Land’. Both tracks landed last November as System Of A Down’s first new material since 2005, when the band dropped their ‘Mezmerize’ and ‘Hypnotize’ albums.
Addressing the crowd before the band played ‘Genocidal Humanoidz’, guitarist Daron Malakian said: “This one is one of the newer songs that we have. It’s about some piece of shit government that tried – again – to kill our people. Fuck the genocidal humanoidz!”
Take a look at some fan-shot footage of the performance below:
Addressing the lyrical background of ‘Protect The Land’, frontman Serj Tankian told punters: “About a year ago, the combined forces of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Syrian mercenaries attacked a peaceful people living in Nagorno-Karabakh who have been living there on their indigenous land for thousands of years. Those are our people.
“At the time, System Of A Down put out two songs to help bring attention to the cause, and what we want to do is thank you, because you helped join our effort to raise funds and bring attention to this very important event.”
Check out footage of the band playing ‘Protect The Land’ below:
As Tankian mentioned, ‘Genocidal Humanoidz’ and ‘Protect The Land’ were released as part of System Of A Down’s efforts to draw attention to the ongoing conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Royalties earned from the song were donated to the Armenia Fund, with over $600,000 (£436,500) raised within a week.
Speaking on the band’s decision to release new music after such a lengthy hiatus from the studio, bassist Shavo Odadjian said: “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. Let’s go.”
Despite the comeback earning widespread acclaim, Malakian has said that he’s “not expecting” System Of A Down to release any more new content, citing in-fighting as the primary reason why they’d likely never make a sixth album.