It's clear at this point that System Of A Down is probably not making a new album. The band released two new singles "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz" in 2020, but made it abundantly clear that both were solely to raise funds for Armenia and Artsakh during times of war.
System Of A Down vocalist Serj Tankian has been seen the holdup for a new album, though he seemed to come around on the idea in recent years saying "we'll see what happens" and just kinda shrugging at the whole thing. Still, drummer John Dolmayan and major advocate for a new album is pissed and isn't obscuring his feelings about it.
In an interview with the Battleline Podcast, Dolmayan said Tankian should've left System Of A Down in 2006, or roughly one year after the release of both Mezmerize and Hypnotize. Dolmayan then goes on to say that System Of A Down is more than the sum of its parts and points to its member's side projects as evidence. Or in his own words, "they're never quite that good compared to System. In fact, I think a lot of 'em aren't very good at all." Tell us how you really feel, John…
"Serj hasn't really wanted to be in the band for a long time. And quite frankly, we probably should have parted ways around 2006. We tried to get together multiple times to make an album, but there were certain rules set in place that made it difficult to do so and maintain the integrity of what System Of A Down stood for. So we couldn't really come together and agree. And part of that is Serj's fault, and part of that is my fault, and Shavo's and Daron's as well.
"But at the end of the day, if you have a majority of the band thinking one way and one person thinking the other, it's very difficult to come together and make music thinking that person is important. And every member of this band is very important to the overall sound of the band. And you'll know this by listening to anybody's side projects; they're never quite that good compared to System. In fact, I think a lot of 'em aren't very good at all. And when you compare that to what we do together as System, you understand why the team matters and having certain talents come together and merge matter and that magic thing captured doing that matters."
Dolmayan then elaborated on why he chose 2006 as the year he felt Tankian should've quit, saying "I think we should have moved on, and if Serj didn't wanna be in the band at that time, we should have just moved on and done it with somebody else. But that's what happens when you're loyal and you really wanna make it work; you'll put up with things that may be detrimental to the health of the band or the health of the situation.
"Maybe it would have been better if we moved on and got another singer for an album or two and continued to make music and brought Serj back later if he wanted to come back. That probably would have been better. But as it is, I think we wasted 15, maybe 20 years of our lives waiting."
But really, would System Of A Down be System Of A Down without the four guys that are currently in the band? Regardless, Dolmayan said the band gets along well on stage. Though he's not thrilled that Sick New World is the only show they've got for this year. "When we're actually on stage, it's great," he said. "It's just getting to that point that is disheartening. We have one show booked for next year. One show. That's it."