Nowadays, it’s looking like a new album from metal legends System Of A Down is becoming incredibly unlikely and pretty much at the point of not happening at all, and now that has been confirmed.
Every other week there seems to be a new interview with one member or the other, either stating there’s notable progress or that it has come to a stand still, and some of these responses are to some extent contradictory to the one before it and the one that is soon to follow.
Now, in what seems like a clashing of heads to unveil some truth about the ongoing delay, multiple members of the band have confessed in a brutally honest fashion not only why there’s no new album yet, which (if ever completed) would be their sixth record, but that the idea has been scrapped altogether for now.
In an interview with UK magazine Kerrang!, which has since been reported by The PRP (you can read their article here), guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian opened up to say that he has material for a full new System Of A Down album ready to go, and that there’s a certain way that they create their albums but that “one of us that doesn’t want to make an album his way. And not everyone is on board with that. That’s been the issue.”
He later goes on to reveal that the “one of us” he was referring to is frontman Serj Tankian, saying that the band “don’t know how to change his mind” in regards to creative differences, that Tankian “was never really a heavy metal or a rock guy”, and that he “didn’t even want to make ‘Mezmerize’ and ‘Hypnotize'”, the band’s 2005 double-album and last official releases.
Shortly after Malakian‘s interview with Kerrang! was published, Tankian wrote and issued his own statement regarding the current status of System Of A Down and a new album from the band, in which he confesses the reasons why the album has been delayed, that he was the reason they went on their hiatus during 2006 to 2010, and that they’ve “put aside the idea of a record altogether for the time being.”
You can read his full statement below.
“Confessions about SOAD by Serj Tankian
We are extremely lucky mofos for our fans to want a record out of our ragtag misfit of a crew after all these years, at times demanding it. This of course has led to numerous rumors about the band and our inability to make a record together coupled with he said/he said excerpts from each of our interviews in the past and present at times by sensationalism seeking media who are in no way, let’s say, changing the world for the better themselves.
So I’m going to attempt to clarify things for all of our sake once and for all hopefully without vilifying anyone in the process.
It is true that I and only I was responsible for the hiatus SOAD took in 2006. Everyone else wanted to continue at the same pace to tour and make records. I didn’t. Why? For numerous reasons:
1. Artistic: I’ve always felt continuing to do the same thing with the same people over time is artistically redundant even for a dynamic outfit like ours. By that time I felt that I needed a little time to do my own work. I wasn’t discounting restarting the process with the band later.
2. Egalitarianism: When we first started out our creative input and financial revenue splits were close to equal within the band. By the time Mezmerize/Hypnotize came around we were at the diametrically opposite end on both with Daron controlling both the creative process and making the lions share of publishing not to mention wanting to be the only one to do press.
3. I wanted to leave the band before Mezmerize/Hypnotize for these developing reasons. This is why I personally don’t feel as close to the music on those records. There were songs I wanted to bring in but was hampered by unkept promises coupled by my own passivity at the time.
Time went by, we all did our own thing. My solo career gave me the confidence as a songwriter and later composer to re-visit SOAD from a position of strength at first just to tour and enjoy each others’ company, which we did and do so still.
I knew they wanted to make a record, but given the past I was hesitant. At times there would be emotionally tinged outbursts by one band member or another mostly blaming me for the band’s inactivity.
After a long time thinking and processing, about 2 years ago, I went to the guys with a proposition for a way forward as a band.
I wanted to rectify the wrongs of the past and establish a way we can all be happy moving forward so I recommended the following:
1. Equal creative input: by this time I had released 5 of my own records and was a better songwriter musically and Daron was getting better as a lyricist, so I said let’s each bring in 6 songs that all band members approve fully and work on them along with songs or riffs from Shavo.
2. Equal publishing split: I personally feel that a band is an equal partnership and finances should reflect that.
3. Directors cut: whomever wrote the song makes the final decision after exhausting all types of ideas from anybody within the group. I did this because in the past, I’d bring in a song that would be morphed into an undesirable version that I myself would withdraw from consideration.
4. Develop a new concept or theme so that it’s not just a record but a full experience.
(Obviously I’m omitting many other details here like agreeing on the “sound” of a new record which we couldn’t do either as we went back and forth with songs by Daron and myself. I remember sending lots of notes on songs by Daron, mostly from his current Scars On Broadway record, most of which I didn’t consider applicable to SOAD etc., they played around with some of my songs-suffice to say I think we tried).
Ultimately I had to draw a line in the sand because I knew I could never be happy going back to how things used to be within the band.
And as we couldn’t see eye to eye on all these points we decided to put aside the idea of a record altogether for the time being.
My only regret is that we have been collectively unable to give you another SOAD record. For that I apologize.
Thanks for reading
Finally, drummer John Dolmayan chimed in via a short statement on his official Instagram account, saying that “not one of us, rather ALL of us are to blame” for the band’s “unbelievable failure to get along and make music together.”
You can read his statement below.
Many theories and much speculation have circulated through the years with blame focused on one member of the band for the lack of new material, if that is true; then why is that? Every action has a cause , every reaction has a cause and the truth is, each member of the band is equally responsible for both our incredible success on our previous recordings and our unbelievable failure to get along and make music together. Not one of us, rather ALL of us are to blame. Egomania eccentricities ,megalomania-and sometimes just stupidity all play roles. To our fans, I’m truly sorry for letting you down , to the songs that could have been-I’m sorry you haven’t.
“Many theories and much speculation have circulated through the years with blame focused on one member of the band for the lack of new material, if that is true; then why is that? Every action has a cause, every reaction has a cause and the truth is, each member of the band is equally responsible for both our incredible success on our previous recordings and our unbelievable failure to get along and make music together. Not one of us, rather ALL of us are to blame. Egomania eccentricities, megalomania-and sometimes just stupidity all play roles.
To our fans, I’m truly sorry for letting you down, to the songs that could have been-I’m sorry you haven’t.”
For the time being, and if not indefinitely, there is no plans for a sixth System Of A Down album to be recorded and released in the foreseeable future.
The band’s double-album, ‘Memerize’ and ‘Hypnotize’, were both released in 2005 via Columbia Records.